“Justice is greater than the law”
•Justice Alfred Thompson Denning, 21st Century British celebrated Jurist and Statesman
He was the first and the last black man to be invited to speak to the Soviet Union’s most powerful Parliament. On that early winter of 1968, with history beckoning on his side, a Biafran war Ambassador was ushered in on a red carpet and offered the unprecedented, incredible honor to address the Supreme Soviet. Justice P.K. Nwokedi, still clad in his black winter clothes will not allow that life time opportunity to slip away from him. An unrepentant extreme socialist, the Uthoko Prince of the old Achala dynasty counted his royal steps and without further ado mounted the Legislative porch.
Before P.K. was extended the invitation to speak to the Supreme Soviet, the cold and the very proficient Russian Intelligence had studied the famous Ambassador Romanov’s Reports on Ojukwu and Biafra. Ambassador Romanov was the Russian envoy in Lagos, and as early as the pogrom of 1966, the Russian Envoy had secretly landed Enugu and requested to see Col. Ojukwu. After over 72 hours stay, Ojukwu dismissed the Ambassador without the courtesy of even inviting him over for a cup of tea!
Romanov was very confident of the Biafran alliance for he knew that by 1966, the Easterners had built up a formidable socialist school and tendency in Aba. They were other leading Lefties, Ikenna Nzimiro, Justice Uche Omo, P.K. Nwokedi, and the Mathematician, Chike Obi, returning from the West to swell up their ranks. Apart from the fact that it was the British which aided Jack Gowon’s 1966 coup, Romanov reported that a young Republic of Biafra would naturally seek the support of Soviet Union to counteract the British interested support for Nigeria. Finally, the Ambassador was very confident that the Igbo victims then on the run for their lives would remember the good humanitarian gesture of the Soviet Union when the latter established the Enugu Teaching Hospital, in 1963. It was a bitter scorned Russian Envoy that returned to Lagos to prepare the Report that finally withdrew sympathies for the Biafran Revolution and quickly moved the great Soviet Union to the side of Nigeria.
Beside the damning Intelligence Report of the scorned Russian Envoy, there was the frightening Report of the Russian Intelligence on Biafra and its Leader, Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu. The secret Report extoled the brilliant leadership and the organization of the Biafran Government describing it as “matchless.” The Report concluded with a warning postulating the Soviet Union had not recovered from the Yellow Menace, with the rise of China and the Koreans in Asia. Her interest in Africa would be inflicted by the rising “Black Danger” that is Biafra. The Report therefore recommended the destruction of Biafra.
Mounting the dais oblivious of Romanov’s and K.G.B Reports, waving his Biafran camouflage officer’s cap to the sea of the sitting Legislative members, P.K. now in ecstasy bellowed out his coded greetings in the familiar Communist International rhyme…. The lawmakers in a rapture of convoluting surprise and admiration responded. P.K. opened the address quoting directly from Trotsky, at the middle of his speech; he referred to Lenin, the sublime Russian Political Theorist of the last century. Like Lenin, P.K. was a Lawyer and Lawyers can practice the law, go to court to defend the indefensible. P.K. with his forehand up, stressed that Lawyers may go further. Like Lenin, Robert Kennedy, blessed by their training would be expected by the society to lead in changing the tides of our civilization. Like Lenin gave the workers the hope for their work, you must pay the worker his wage. For America, declining from the slave society, it was Robert Kennedy that showed them humanity and guided them to respect human rights. When he put his hands down, there was pin drop silence. P.K. reached the crescendo demonstrating the elements and the essentials of Nikita Khrushchev, his stand off against America in Cuba, the Soviet Union’s support of Africa’s independent nations, the super power’s massive support for Nasser during the Suez crisis and the Soviet Union’s unforgettable stand with Africa against apartheid.
P.K. had not finished his speech when the massive Chambers of the Supreme Soviet went berserk. The Soviet Union had made the word flesh of their policy on Biafra but seriously had underestimated P.K. They had extended invitation to him primarily to appease the Communist International especially the French Communist party, which had organized his flight and the passage of the Biafran across three continents without a recognized national passport. Pse see Emma Okocha, The Jews of Africa, Gomslam Books, 2017.
Converted to the Biafran course unable to swerve the Russian declared policy on Biafra, the Supreme Soviet moved to present the Biafran case to Czechoslovakia, which eventually offered the Biafrans her first batch of automatic rifles, the madison and the Biafrans called it the mad man!
P.K. who was thrown down from the windows of the Presidential Hotel, Enugu, for daring to oppose the Ojukwu’s declaration of Biafra, was like Justice Mbanefo, M. Okoye, a late convert to the Biafran cause. After the war, he returned to the law and the bench. As with the Judiciary, he was not expected to mix but to him, “the Igbos, his people are like the Jews, the Phoenicians…. we are a trader nation and we don’t have the patience, the cold calculations to build Empires. His verdicts like Idigbe’s, Esho’s, Oputa’s, are erudite and infallible. And like Alfred Denning, he bought justice especially to the poor as being greater than the law. Unlike many Igbos, who on getting into Federal appointments recline to themselves, Justice P.K. Nwokedi was available when, at the greatest day under the sun for the Igbos, the Ohaneze petitioned the Federal Government on the Igbo’s indemnity for the relentless killing of his kit and kin. He made available to Senator Chukwumerije and Professor Nwabueze, the UN sponsored Justice Mensah authoritative Reports on the Biafran genocide.
In a season of recurring deaths as renowned path finders of the Nigerian promise make their graceful ascension, (Ogbuagu, P.K.s comrade in the Zikist movements, was the first to fall.) I pause to pay my last tribute to the great Jurist. In accordance to our noble tradition of the masquerade cult, I prepare to say goodbye to our royalty. The body of Uthoko Nnayenlugo, Onyeamuma Ndigbo, Ogbueshi Attahnigala, Akpala Niger, leading the flag of our ancestors, Ajofia, the evil Forest, Okwomma Enugu Ukwu, Enwero Aka Ogbumadu of Ogbunike, Ogbamgbada Akokwa, Iya Agbaoku Akagbe…. Members of the Masquerade Cult, on your behalf I seek to say Goodbye to our son Agaba Achala. We do so in humble gratitude for the privilege of having come close to one of the greatest citizens of the Century.
Justice P.K. Nwokedi, as the Agaba Idu Achala is immortal.
In the sacred language of the Ndichie Umen, I now seek to say the final Goodbye.
Agaba Ogilisi Achala, ka omesia, udo diri gi, egwu gwu ana