Opinion: The exit of an icon - Justice Moses Bello by Bernard Balogun

Opinion: The exit of an icon - Justice Moses Bello by Bernard Balogun

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Editor's note: In this piece, an Abuja-based social commentator, Bernard Balogun (BenPino), writes about the positive impacts being made by the late Justice Moses David Bello while alive.

Not to us O Lord, Not to us. But to your Holy name be the glory, as we submit and bow to the Supreme Will of God, our Creator. Each passing day we come to the deep realisation that he is no longer with us. He's gone forever. We also know that one day, we shall meet at the feet of Jesus Christ.

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Until then my Lord temporal continue to dwell in the presence of His Light and continue to intercede for your beloved wife, your adorable children and your friends you left behind. We all mourn your transition - BenPino soliloquized.

The late Justice Moses Bello by Bernard Balogun
The Kogi-born Justice Moses Abu David Bello is mourned by Nigerians home and abroad. Credit: Bernard Balogun.
Source: UGC

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Saturday, September 25, 2021, God willing, all roads in Okene township shall lead to Christ the King Catholic Church in the Karaworo district of Okene. It is a day all shall assemble to bid the late eminent jurist, Sir Honourable Justice Moses Abu David Bello (Ozi aniEbira Oboroboro) farewell, unfortunately so.

Without sounding unduly patronising the late Justice Moses Bello was indeed a man who feared God and dispensed justice with the fear of God.

He freely mingled with people irrespective of their status in life and tenaciously sustained and respect the friends of his youth in his Okene days. Though my interaction with him was brief.

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I first met him in the home of Prof Tom Adaba in the Maitama district of Abuja. After my consultation with Prof Tom Adaba and about to take my leave Prof asked, "Ben, have you met Justice Bello before?"

That question threw me off balance. Men and women of the Bench are not the kind of persons you meet just like that. They are special species whose exalted office empowers them to, judicially, "give and take life".

No sir, l replied. By this time Justice Bello had stretched out his hand for a handshake and l stretched out my right hand, supported with the left in demonstration of reverence. This was at a time the word "Covid-19" was unknown to the lexicon. My second meeting with him was recent, as recent as the last quarter of 2019.

I and two others had gone to interview him, essentially to know how he was faring in retirement. How it feels to be a retiree. He had freshly retired from the Bench. It was a lengthy, lively interview, full of humour.

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During and after the interview Justice Bello displayed an air of simplicity, so friendly, lively and enjoyed sharing jokes, jokes that provoked healthy laughter. He had a generous heart.

He did not allow his exalted position to alter his benign instinct. In fact, at a point, he asked me to convey his apologies to someone, whom he thought he had offended. This person is far younger to His Lordship.

That astonished me, to say the least. That again speaks about his humility. It is important l say this. January 16, this year. I sent bulk SMS messages to people l considered friends, reminding and requesting them to pray for me for the next day was my birthday. Justice Bello was one of the recipients of that message. Not quite five minutes l sent that message to him, l got a call from him, he prayed and asked me to see him.

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That was the much ĺ know Justice Moses Abu Bello. He was such a humble and detribalised man. He touched lives in many ways and offered scholarships to many needy students irrespective of their religious background.

My Lord, "what was the attraction that spurred you into Christianity?" Remember, he was born into a Muslim home. He adjusted himself, leaned forward, in a low tone and simply said...it was milk...what, just milk? That again showed his artistic sense of humour, with his body language, and the askance look on his face, we could not but burst into a huge round of laughter.

In those days, the Catholic Church was known for sharing MILK to little children at that time. This was courtesy of the Canadian Rev Frs at the time.

The death of Justice Moses Abu David Moses is such a colossal loss not only to his immediate family, Kogi State and body of benchers but indeed to the country at large.

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We have lost an eminent jurist in the person of Justice Moses Bello, who was indeed Pioneer President, Customary Court of Appeal, FCT Judiciary or if you like "Head of Superior Court of record for 25 years, 5 months serving under 9 Chief Justices of Nigeria."

Even in death, let us give him a locomotive clap. The hallmark of ozi aniEbira oboroboro. What an impressive career it was not just to him as a person but indeed an admirable career to his amiable wife, inspiration to his adorable children, friends and indeed to the Ebira nation and Kogi State at large.

The family will sorely miss him but God will comfort and grant them the strength to carry on. Please be strong.

Adieu enebeni Justice MA Bello, my Lord temporal.

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