Saturday, February 1, 2020 3:50 pm
Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), wearing a white tuxedo on a pair of black trousers, chaired the Nigerian Bar Association’s Calabar Branch 2020 dinner on Friday 31 January, 2020. He was there with Nkoyo, his wife. That was Onnoghen’s first public appearance after he left office on 5 April, 2019 after a protracted battle with the executive arm of government that accused him of misconduct. In Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, he received a lifetime achievement award given by the NBA branch.
He said enthusiatically: “It’s good to be home and be part of the private Bar. This is where I started my practice as a private lawyer and I feel good coming back”.
“I want to say is thank you to the NBA and judicial officers who stood by me. I thank you for all that you have done and I want to present myself. I am not dead. I am even good looking.
“I thank you all for your support during the course of the unfortunate incident. God is God. God remains God. The truth about life is in death. You can’t know anything about this life until you’re dead because life isn’t eternal”.
Justice Onnoghen, as reported by Gavel International, gave what he called a Ghanaian folklore to his audience at the dinner. He said: “A lion, the king of the jungle one day was drinking water from the upstream when it noticed an antelope downstream that was also drinking water. The lion shouted at the antelope and accused it of ruffling the water. The antelope reminded the great lion that he (lion) is the one drinking from upstream and therefore the only one that can ruffle the waters.
Not done, the lion went on and accused the antelope of abusing him, the king of the jungle during the burial of its (antelope’s) grandfather sometimes in the past. The antelope replied that he couldn’t have insulted the king of the jungle at the burial since he was not yet born then.
The lion then roared back that I am going to eat you for lunch today to which the antelope replied: “That’s what you should have said in the first place”.
The former CJN’s tale was, according to the report, received by his audience with a standing applause after which he took his seat. He was thereafter presented his award by the Acting Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Akon Ikpeme.