Inegbedion was having his “native salad” when one of his senior lawyers walked in to share with him the draft motion they had been working on for the inheritance case of Ose Okonofua.
The lawyer sat down without uttering a word to his boss for almost thirty minutes. Not even a greeting. Since returning to Ekpoma from Benin City five years ago following his failing health, Inegbedion developed a tradition of not speaking when he eats and equally taking an awfully long time to finish his meals. The least time for a meal was about an hour and each one was like a monkish religious ceremony. With a muscle of food in his mouth, inegbedion would rock his head back and forth, stare at the wall and then scribble down something in his thick jotter.
Rumours in town had it that the ritual was part of some kind of secret cult ceremony. Some people even referred to his bulging red eyes, though caused by a thyroid problem, as a sign that the man they all love to call “the law” may have sold his soul to the devil.
Unknown to all the rumour mongers, Inegbedion’s meal time was indeed solemn but not because he was in any secret cult. It was the only period his brain functioned like a deep learning machine. A time when the cases he will cite in court came from the deepest part of his legendary reservoir which earned him that title “the law.” A time when the strategy of of his cases would come to him naturally. But since a mystery, which he resented initially but later accepted had been built around this habit, he let things be without any explanation to anyone.
When he was done eating, the lawyer placed the draft motion before him. In a few minutes, he was done with the bulky document.
“Excellent, this is excellent. Well done. But add these 10 cases in the spots I have similarly numbered and file. Let me have the court and the name of the judge the case is assigned to as soon as you have them. I will be representing the Chambers myself.”
One of the cases that Inegbedion inserted was that of Supreme Court Case no. SC.224/2004 filed by Mrs. Lois Chituru Ukeje (wife of the late Lazarus Ogbonna Ukeje) and their son, Enyinnaya Lazarus Ukeje against Mrs. Cladys Ada Ukeje (the deceased’s daughter).
To be continued.