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Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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When Judgement Gives You Back Your Life

The scare of the deadly COVID-19 spreading out of control made Nigerians to demand that their government should impose a lockdown. So, when President Muhammadu Buhari finally gave the order on Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, it was a relief long desired.

It was not a path Nigerians were used to, the longest probably they’ve had was about three days, usually at the commencement of a labour strike, even at that, there were skeletal movement. You could do whatever you wanted to do except, go to work.

Sadly, most Nigerians had desired a lockdown but, were not in full grasp of what it will entail. Before that presidential order, some activities were planned out, while some quickly canceled those appointments, others could not, or just refused to, until they were forced to comply.

The real message of the lockdown was soon getting lost, social distancing and keeping safe was no longer an issue of life and death, churches, mosques and groups found it convenient to disregard the directive, even the government could not exercise the power of judgement, as those who flouted the rules got a pat on the back.

What was the big deal about a Funke “Jennifer” Akindele hosting a birthday “bash” for her husband in the midst of a lockdown? Yes, she’s done commercials telling the public to keep safe and maintain social distance; yes, she is a role model and could be wrongly influencing her fans to disregard social distancing; yes, she’s an entertainment star, so she’s got her life to live. Truly, whatever she did that Saturday in the high brow Lekki was hidden from the public and it would have remained so, until she posted the video on social media.

Then the backlash started, calling to question an enviable career she’d built over the years, through her dint of hard work, consistence and style. Her following is massive, cutting across age; so she invariably wields huge influence. Unlike in the case where the government and police find it convenient to look the other way when those with influence commit infractions against the law, the same people who sang “Jennifer’s” praise, called for her arrest and prosecution, thereby “forcing” the law to take its course.

I will not bother myself with the gravity or not, of what she’s done or the genuineness of her apology for not acting her talk. Judgement is already delivered, the law has put a dent on her personality, but, hope the speed with which a scape goat was made of her, the law will equally find the courage to keep with that pace.

I definitely find it more intriguing with the judgement though, two weeks of community work and educating the people on the need to stay safe. This is like catching a fish and throwing it back into the water. I salute the courage of the magistrate, for the true essence of judgement is not to punish, but to rehabilitate and correct the victim. After all, our always entertaining Jennifer was already “punished’ by her fans, her integrity was gravely impunged so, the law found a way to give back to her what she already lost, the people.

Did she get a “parole” how will she handle the window of opportunities just opened to her by the magistrate? Just wait for the return of Jennifer. This is not a movie, but someone can choose to act out the script. At each turn, life presents to us another opportunity. She maybe a convict, but a new book has just been written.

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