By Bernard Balogun.
Come Saturday, September 25, 2021, God willing, all roads in Okene township shall lead to Christ the King Catholic Church in Karaworo district of Okene. It is a day all shall assemble to bid the late jurist, Sir Honourable Justice Moses Abu David Bello (ozi aniEbira oboroboro) the final farewell.
The late Hon. Justice Moses Bello.
At a time like this, l cannot but recall the immortal words of late James Audu. I quote
“For every man or woman, old or young, boy or girl, the governor and the governed, there is a time to be born and a time to die. In between is the privilege to live, to live to the glory of God, your Creator. End of quote.
For Justice Moses Abu David Bello, an eminent jurist and a proud son of Ebiraland, was a humble philanthropist and he had established a foundation to support indigent students, irrespective of religious background.
In spite his Olympian height on the Bench, he was indeed a humble and unassuming man. l can attest to this. Around, the last quarter of 2019, myself and two others went to interview him for a Catholic magazine that was to debut. Just as we were “rounding-up”, he turned to me, pointedly and said…l know every person in this living room except you, my oga, (he considered me his oga. l was flattered, beyond expression, to say the least). Sir Tom Ahmed quickly came to my rescue. l was introduced. Now the big bang….so you are close to Mr XYZ? please convey to him, if he thinks l offended him, tell him to forgive me…yet Mr XYZ was younger in terms of age. l was pleasantly taken aback by his humility, bearing in mind that was the first time l was coming in close contact with him. He did not allow his exalted office as the pioneer President, Customary Court of Appeal, FCT Judiciary to take away his benign nature. In any case, his name had long preceded him before l met him. Promptly, l delivered his message and insisted that Mr XYZ should call him. To the glory of God, they both cleared the misgivings that existed.
The late jurist was actually born into a Muslim home but converted to Christianity, the Catholic Faith and he took his Faith serious. In 2020 he, along with other ardent Catholics were awarded with the prestigious rank of St Gregory the Great by the Holy Father for their commitment and promotion of the Catholic Faith. In his house, his doors were always wide open to receive Muslims and he indeed provided a decent place in his palatial home as a praying ground for any visiting Muslim. On one occasion, l was told…he strolled out, a sort of an evening walk-out of his palatial home, had an encounter with a banana hawker. After the healthy encounter and conversation, he gave the woman, a widow, a handsome sum of money which far exceeded the total ware that woman had on display. Do you know what such unexpected handsome money could do and actually means to an itinerant trader? The woman looked askance and pleasantly astonished, l was informed. When l reminded him about this encounter, he looked at me, smiled and said with a hand demonstration….l have forgotten, he confessed. That was Justice Moses A Bello for you. So gleefully he gave out without counting the attendant inconvenience.
Need l say more? Justice Bello was a lover of jokes, especially jokes told in Ebira language with some element of artistic display. He will laugh his heart out.
l commiserate with his amiable wife of many years, his children, his friends, admirers and followers alike.
The family will sorely miss him, but God will comfort and grant them the grace to carry on.
Adieu enebeni Justice MA Bello, my Lord temporal.
Bernard Balogun (BenPino) writes from Wuse District of Abuja, could be reached via 08037879275.