By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
HOW many times in a life time can one change names? There seems to be no limit. Why do people change names? The answers are as many as the people you ask. Neither legality nor morality, some claim, is offended if you change your name.
A name is important as an individual’s official, even private, identity. Some change names with minimal regard to their importance and implications.
Could they be the ones who have come up with that seemingly incorrect line, “What are your names?”. You could expect an answer like, “My names are…, but I am addressed as…, also known as…, and also called… just call me anyone”.
Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu Okezie is at the centre of a plethora of name changes that is central to the election petition case before the three-man National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal 4 Panel of Honourable Justice Samson P. Gang, Chairman, Honourable Justice Kabiru Ibrahim Ahmed, and Honourable Justice Abdulfatai Baba Sekoni, members, which rounded up on 14 August 2023 in Umuahia.
Yunus Ustaz Usman, SAN, in his final address remarked that the petitioner Chief Ifeanyi Frank Chinasa of the Labour Party’s case was built on questions about Benjamin Kalu Okezie who made several changes to his names.
Kalu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, born as Umunna Okezie in 1971, had made these distinct and different changes to his name, according to Usman’s address:
.Affidavit of Change of Name of 17th day of June, 2002
.Affidavit of Change of Name of 10th day of January, 2011
.Deed Poll of 6th October, 2011. South Africa Gazette No. 25492 of 03 October, 2003 for change of name
.Punch Newspaper of Thursday August 29, 2002
Usman said the changes provided grounds to doubt Kalu’s identity and ownership of the education documents he uses. Benjamin Kalu Okezie has documents bearing these names –
.The 1st Respondent’s First School Leaving Certificate which he obtained in 1983 but was issued in 1987 has the name Umunna Okezie.
.The name in the 1st Respondent’s Leaving Certificate and Testimonial of 1988 is Osisiogu Benjamin Okezie.
.The 1st Respondent’s West African Examinations Council Certificate of 1991 bears Osisiogu Benjamin Okezie.
.The name in 1st Respondent’s Bachelor of Laws Certificate of 1998 is Osisiogu Benjamin Okezie.
.The name of the 1st Respondent in the Council of Legal Education Certificate of 2011 is Benjamin Okezie Osisiogu.
.The 1st Respondent’s NYSC Discharge Certificate of 2011 has Kalu Benjamin Okezie as his name.
.His Certificate of Call to Bar of 2006 has the name Benjamin Okezie Osisiogu.
.The name in the 1st Respondent’s Statutory Declaration of Age of 2002 is Kalu Benjamin Okezie.
.The INEC Form EC 9 for 2019 election submitted by the 1st Respondent bears Benjamin Okezie Kalu.
.INEC Form EC 9 for 2023 election submitted by the 1st Respondent has the name Kalu Benjamin Okezie.
In the course of the trial, Kalu had deposed on oath thus: “That consequently, upon these changes and steps, the Registry of the Supreme Court enrolled me as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with my name Kalu Benjamin Okezie on the 6th day of June, 2012 with enrolment number SCN/078630.”
Usman dug in on the deposition, drawing the attention of the tribunal to the facts that the Certificate of Call to Bar and Council of Legal Education Certificate Kalu tendered had “Benjamin Okezie Osisiogu” on them and not “Kalu Benjamin Okezie”. The Call to Bar Certificate read 6th day of September, 2011 and not 6th day of June, 2012 when Kalu said he was called to Bar. Usman continued that if Kalu was called to the Nigerian Bar on the 6th day of September, 2011, he would have enrolled at the registry of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the same day.
“The 1st Respondent could not have enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 6th day of June, 2012, nine (9) months after his Call to Bar. The 1st Respondent had the burden to explain to the Honourable Tribunal the reason for his delayed enrolment, if at all he was called by the Body of Benchers and enrolled before the Supreme Court of Nigeria,” Usman said.
Usman raised more issues. Kalu’s 2006 Certificate of Birth and his 2002 Statutory Declaration of Age obtained in 2002 also bear Kalu Benjamin Okezie. An age document is one of the mandatory documents for registration at the Nigerian Law School. Usman wondered how the Call to Bar Certificate and Council of Legal Education Certificate will bear different names Benjamin Okezie Osisiogu and not Kalu Benjamin Okezie which is also on Kalu’s NYSC certificate.
Usman said since it was evident that the first respondent lacked the necessary qualifications to stand for the election, the tribunal should nullify Kalu’s victory and declare Chief Chinasa as the rightful winner.
Kelvin Nwufo, SAN, Kalu’s lawyer, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit. Kalu, he said, did not forge any documents and that all the contested documents bearing different names of Kalu had been duly reconciled and published in the Federal Government Gazette, as the law required.
Counsel of All Progressives Congress, APC, Viginus Nwankwo argued that the burden of proof in Kalu’s names lay with the petitioner. He stated that the burden was not adequately discharged. He was in tandem with Nwufo in asking that the petition be dismissed.
Ifeanyi Chukwuka Igbokwe of Action Alliance, AA, asked that the election should be cancelled as INEC excluded his party’s logo on the ballot paper. INEC stated that AA had no candidate in the election. Its candidate’s name was submitted outside the time the law provided. Latest reports say Igbokwe has disclaimed the suit. He said neither the petitioner nor the counsel was known to him. Igbokwe said he was celebrating with his brother who had been elected the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Outside the tribunal, the counsels bantered in more accessible language, called each other by name or honorifics, in an ambience that belied the battle of a few minutes earlier.
It is important to know what people are. It is more important to know who they are, by name. If you ask the Honourable Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives his names, he has a rich repertoire from which to draw answers.
The tribunal will announce a date for the judgement.
PASSENGERS are STILL being asked to disembark and walk across checkpoints in the South East. It doesn’t matter if it is raining or if those being humiliated were old, infirm, infants, or pregnant women. The “punishment” is repeated at every checkpoint. Who ordered this practice? When Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe raised the matter on the floor of the Senate, they stopped for a few days. Perhaps, they know that the Senate is on recess.
- Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues
Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.
In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.
Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”
“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.
“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.
“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”
Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”
Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life
Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.
Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”
Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.
The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.
While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.
According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.
The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.
“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.
“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”
Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.
Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.
The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.
Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).
Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks
The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.
The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.
Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.
CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.
Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.
DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.
She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.
Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.
Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.
Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.
ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.
CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.
CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.
The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.
CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.
- Source: Independent