Thursday, October 29, 2015

'Squib's Rival'. By Adesina Ogunlana

As Editor of the Squib, I have had serial “affairs” with Chief Judges of Lagos State and no one relationship is like the others.

My first love is, you must have guessed wrongly, if you had Hon. Justice Ibitola Sotuminu (2001-2004) in mind. The first dalliance was actually with Hon. Justice Christopher Segun in the twilight of whose regime in March 2001, the Squib was born.

Segun C.J and the Squib hardly knew themselves, before the infamously temperamental judge bowed out of service in May 2001.

Then Sotuminu C.J came on board. Her ladyship was one judicial dame whose regime had the most torrid sessions with the Squib. A most tempestuous affair, it was, heady, awesome, full of sound and fury, signifying something.

The Sotuminu administration saw the audacious irreverent combative, whistle blowing Squib as more or less a terrorist paper and tackled it head on as if it were levying a counter-insurgency war. It became virtually treasonable for members of the judiciary, including judges to be seen in public with copies of the Squib. No less than five times were Squib vendors, arrested and detained by the police at the behest of the Sotuminu administration. And the editor himself was dragged before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.

Mrs. Toyin Taiwo, now Honourable Justice Toyin Taiwo was the Chief Registrar then, saddled with the unpleasant and difficult task of dismantling the unrelenting Squib, which became even more ferocious and vociferous in his attacks and expose!

When Sotuminu C.J quit the beat by way of retirement the new Squib 'lover' turned to be Hon. Justice Fatai Adeyinka. Adeyinka was an indifferent lover. His short tenure of about six months saw a deliberate policy of avoiding the Squib, despite some damaging reports against the Chief Judge.

In the same 2004, a new helmsman Augustine Adetula Alabi, more popularly known as Ade Alabi mounted the saddle. The first half of the regime was relatively peaceful and quiet in his affair with the Squib, which did not lost its bite. The second half was a different story all together.

The intention of the administration at that point was to send the Squib publisher out of the legal profession via his prosecution and conviction for allegedly defaming Lagos State High Court judges before the Disciplinary committee of the Body of Benchers. It was a difficult and tense period which tested and deepened the resilience of the Squib Editor. Fortunately, a most formidable and sagacious legal representation was always ready for the Squib, courtesy Daddy 3, late Chief G.O.K Ajayi SAN.

After Alabi, came Akande C. J. Akande was our first and only true love so far of all the Chief Judges. This Chief Judge, most unusually saw and took the magazine as a friend of her administration and a much needed member of the family and not an outlaw or outcast.

When Akande departed in 2012, after a three year stint, it was the turn of Ayo Philips C.J. Never a friend of the Squib but managed to tolerate the “irritant” fairly well enough until she too bowed out in 2014.

The departure of Philips C.J in 2014 saw her blood and judicial sister Atilade J emerging her successor. Thus Atilade C.J. is Squib’s latest beaux.

From all indications, Squib’s latest love wants a calm and peaceful affair and not the stormy, fiery, feisty type that the veteran matador has become used to.

Thus it was that some few weeks the new chief invited the Squib at a public occasion to celebrate with her the arrival of what her ladyship called “Squib’s Rival”, the magazine of the Lagos State Judiciary.

Squib’s rival? Really? I am waiting

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