By Ifeanyi Clement Nweke
The judge spoke softly but strongly. His words hung in thin air as he stared down at his courtroom, scantly sprinkled with lawyers in front and non-lawyers sitting quietly behind.
“Counsel”, prompted the judge “what reasons do you have to persuade the court to grant your application to remove your matter from the undefended list?”.
A thick set man stood up slowly, with the confidence of a man that enjoys an audience; he adjusted the askew wig on his head, pulling gently on his draping robe.
“Firstly my lord, It is preposterous that the learned silk should file this matter under the undefended list”, he swung himself this way and that way, looking nowhere and to no one in particular, letting his baritone voice echo through the courtroom.
“I speak from the bar my lord” he continued, “the reason you seek is not far fetched“.
“Counsel, you seem to be a good orator”, the judge interjected, “but you still haven’t said anything.
“Yes, yes, I’m coming to that my lord” the counsel said, “I’m coming to the fulcrum for which I stand”.
Bending to seemingly skip through pages of the documents before him, adjusting the gold rimmed spectacles on his nose as he did.
“Most gracious for the compliment Milord”, he continued, “the reasons for which I seek this application is before this honorable court….”
The learned silk on the other side, sat directly in front of the senior counsel, shifting impatiently on his seat. One could see him occasionally shaking or nodding his head vigorously, his aged frail neck threatening to give way.
Beginning to rise, his eyes twinkling excitedly, signaling without taking his eyes off the judge for the senior counsel to sit.
“May I milord” he began.
“Go ahead” the judge slurred, knowing the time wasting tactics about to begin and obviously wishing he was somewhere else.
“Milord, we all know this court is a very busy court”
He paused, looking around as if to confirm this assertion.
“By virtue of my position, I’m a very busy man”, he said, adjusting his silk gown as his eyes roamed the courtroom as if daring anyone to think otherwise.
“My learned friend is a top government official but I cannot assert or deny as to how busy he is”, he continued
The courtroom was silent, waiting, knowing what was coming but the excitement was palpable.
The judge seem to be the only one expressionless in his demeanor.
“On the basis of this Milord, we cannot sit and allow my learned friend continue to waste the time of the court”.
“What will you have me do?”, the judge asked drily
“Dismiss his application” the learned silk began to say
“Milord!”, the senior counsel was abruptly on his feet.
“Counsel, I’m still on my feet” the learned silk muttered acidly, again, without turning in his direction.
The Senior Counsel only took a moment to consider his options, then sat down slowly, still fuming.
“As I was saying Milord, for how long shall we continue to encourage such shenanigans and blatant disregard to the time of the court?” The learned silk continued, swaying theatrically, taking his seat after.
The sounds of shuffling feet here and there could be heard above the deafening silence that followed.
“Very well Learned silk”, the Judge started,
“You’ve spoken well”.
Turning to the Senior Counsel, who abruptly stood to his feet.
“Counsel!” He began
The Judge fixed a lingering hard look on the Senior Counsel.
“You’ve heard the Learned Silk” he said, “I agree with him, please do the needful and stop wasting the time of the court “.
“As the court pleases!!!” The whole court echoed