When the Law Speaks: Oko Vanderpuye is not a Mayor! Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. teaches

Our guest post for today is a fine gentleman, a refined lawyer and a publisher of the Ghanaian Observer. If you must know, if any country had only three of his kind, politicians will live on their toes and corruption will develop strong wings to flee. He is selfless, he is religious, he is a rare gem, he is Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. For the sake of the interview, we will call him EFJ.

 

Barrister Egbert Faibille on amoafowaa.com
Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com

 

AMOAFOWAA:

You’re welcome to Amoafowaa.com. Before we start, please tell us about Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr.

 

EFJ:

My name is Egbert Isaac Faibille Jnr. I’m a Ghanaian, a lawyer and a journalist, erm the publisher of the Ghanaian Observer Newspaper; I’m the principal partner of a law firm in Accra  called Faibille & Faibille. I enjoy my work, enjoy litigation, I enjoy everything about the law, I’m a patriot, I believe in Ghana, and believe the best is yet to come from Ghana even though we are  57 years old as an independent nation. I am a man of diverse and varied interests, I enjoy talking a lot and I like fun. I was born in born in Cape Coast on the 18th December 1970 to my late mother (God bless her soul) Constance Sefa-Agyeman of Cape-coast and Asokore Mampong and also to my father, Egbert Isaac Faibille Snr of Anomabo and Elimina.

When I was barely two years my mother who was teaching in Cape-Coast had to join my father in Accra and so I went to Datus Preparatory School, Bubuashie, Accra. By 1978 I  had two younger sisters so we moved closer to our home by way of school so I left Datus and went to Cambridge Preparatory School, Dansoman Junction, Accra where I passed my Common Entrance Examination and went to Ghana National College, Cape Coast for seven years. One of my notable and respected juniors is Nana Awere Damoah, the author. I knew he was going to go pIaces and I’m not surprised he is where he is today. I did my Post A’Level national service at the Mallam DC Primary School where I was on the school library project and proceeded to University of Ghana. I was in Commonwealth Hall where I had the privilege to be Chief Vandal. I enjoyed myself a lot. I had lots of fun.  Some of my contemporaries are Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, Honorable Baba Jamal among others. We had lots of fun. I originally read English and Philosophy so I left Legon with B.A. in English and Philosophy and taught briefly and branched into journalism, and had the privilege of being taken on by Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, the present Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC) as a reporter at The Independent newspaper. I enjoyed my time and my journalism. Later on, I found myself back at Legon, specifically at tthe School of Communication Studies. From there, I went to to work with the Ghana Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) during which period I was seconded to the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP) as the Ghana Country Communication Representative of the project. I left the project in 2000, to take up the appointment of the Managing Editor of The Independent  because Ambassador Kabral had just been appointed by the Kufuor administration as Ghana’s High Commissioner to Sierra Leone. He thought that with my kind of dedication to work, I could manage the paper in his absence so I took up the challenge and I enjoyed it. But while I was working at The Independent, I was also studying law at the Ghana School of Law so I was called to the Bar in October, 2004. After my call to the Bar, I left  The Independent. I joined the British American Tobacco Company (BAT) as their Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Manager. I left BAT to set up my own newspaper “The Ghanaian Observer” in 2006. In 2007 I joined Kulendi@law; an Accra-based law firm, where I worked for five years and set up my own law firm from where we are having this interview; Faibille & Faibille in September 2012. So that is my story.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Interesting. How many years did you spend in becoming a lawyer?

EFJ:

Four years.

AMOAFOWAA:

Who can win your trust and respect?

EFJ:

Anyone who speaks the truth, anyone who is self-respecting, anyone who is motivated, anyone who has empathy and anyone who shows concern for the problems and challenges of others.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you a litigant?

 EFJ:

I am not a litigant. I have a passion for justice, so I take the position of the knight of the helpless in society. I go to the aid of the cheated all the time. I used to get into trouble with seniors back in secondary school because when I saw juniors kneeling, I would go to them and ask why they were kneeling when they were brought to the school to learn. Then I asked them to get up and go to their classes. I was beaten all the time because I intervened when juniors are being bullied and teachers had troubles with me for being  too frontal; but that’s me, I speak my mind and God has been very protective of me all my life.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you married?

EFJ:

Yes.

AMOAFOWAA:

Women in Africa and barter trade, is there a difference?

EFJ:

Women in Africa have come a long way. There’s still a lot more to be done because if you look at receding negative cultural practices like  trokosi and others, one would be tempted to say womanhood has more chains to unbind to get to freedom. But let me say that women in Africa are also very powerful because even from the Akan traditional background, when there is vacancy for the nomination and enstoolment of a chief, if the queen mother does not play her role, there can’t be no chief. Of course, there is this stereotype where you can see a woman carrying a child at her back and carrying one who is sucking her breast and this same woman carrying loads on her head and you see the father figure walking, smoking his pipe and holding just a machete on their way to and from farm. This requires that we all join forces to say no to subjugation of women. Yes, there are lots of women who have broken the mould and are doing very well with respect to career paths and women’s empowerment, but there’s still more to be done. There are few traditional proverbs which also demean women. A proverb such as “sɛ ↄbaa tↄ tuo a etwere obarima dan mu” (If a woman buys a gun, it is kept in the room of a man) but I look to the motto of Volta Hall, University of Ghana which states that “Akoko bedie nso nim adekyee” (The hen also knows the crack of dawn) That is a subtle yet powerful way of making a statement for women. This tells that women are also knowledgeable. So, yes, there is a lot more to be done for  women in Africa but I support dowry and would not say that that particular  rite of marriage is equal to barter. You don’t buy women when you pay dowry; you only do something symbolic for people to know that when you are looking for this woman from henceforth, she is with me, she is my partner. The dowry is to mark the transition from spinsterhood to the bliss of marriage. And hasn’t it been said in  that it is the dog that chases the bone and not vice versa? That is why it is weird for women to proposition men in our cultural milieu.

AMOAFOWAA:

So you don’t think women must propose to men? Let’s say if I propose to you as a woman, are you going to say that because of modernity it is fine but our traditions do not allow that?

 EFJ:

Oh yes! If a girl is growing and is not taught how to handle herself and she goes about propositioning all men, what integrity will she have or what will people think or say about her? If a woman goes around propositioning three or four men, people in our society will say it in such a derogatory manner but if a guy does that, he will just be known to be a philanderer. Women are special vessels, and so must be protected.

 AMOAFOWAA:

What is sexual assault?

EFJ:

Sexual assault is a gamut of ingredients, rape, indecent assault, even when you fondle someone without her consent or when an elderly women also fondles a man or boy without his consent, it is sexual assault. It is an umbrella of sexual offences under which various types of sexual charges emanate.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you an NPP member?

 EFJ:

Yes. A strong one.

AMOAFOWAA:

Politics, many say it is the worst thing that happened to the world, others say it started even with creation because every human has the tendency to rule, what is your take on this?

 EFJ:

I’m a Bible believing Christian and I think if you look at the architecture of the original Israelite society, God after the failure of Adam and Eve to adhere to his rules, arranged things in His own wisdom to the point where we transitioned to Abraham. The next thing was that Abraham begat Issac and Isaac begat Jacob and Essau. Jacob begat Joseph who  ended up in Egypt, becoming Prime Minister. After the death of Joseph there arose a new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph and who resorted to all kinds ill treatment of the Israelites, so Moses emerged, and God commissioned Moses to take up the leadership of the Israelites. Why did God make Moses leader of the people? So from day 1, the Bible and for that matter God  commissioned leadership and leadership can only operate within the matrix of politics. So politics is service to humanity and service to God and politics is leadership and several other things. What is unfortunate though is that in these parts people have used politics to enrich themselves, to deceive people, to kill people, to run down opponents, but that does not make politics as a concept bad.

AMOAFOWAA:

If I say all the wars that the world has witnessed are as a result of politics, what will you tell me?

 

EFJ:

Yes, why not? Man likes power, control, conquest, but in the same breath, war has brought peace and has led to a lot of systems, UNO, IMF, etc. The human society started from antiquity, went through to empires and developed to nation-states; which state we are in now.

AMOAFOWAA:

Is Ghana a sinking boat?

EFJ:

No. It is not a sinking boat, it is a floating boat with a GREAT potential to sink.

AMOAFOWAA:

Why the emphasis on Great?

EFJ:

Because the leadership is often times rudderless such that it does not affect. I wish for a Ghana where leadership will affect people.

AMOAFOWAA:

Then why are you not in politics?

EFJ:

I am in politics. Politics is not always being for example having an active seat in parliament. You can be an active citizen and that can be your contribution to Parliament and politics in generl. You don’t have to be President, Vice President etc to be in politics. I go to court to litigate for the right things and that is me contributing my quota to the nation. Men who transitioned Ghana into independence were largely lawyers, some of whom owned newspapers J. B. Danquah, was one, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not a lawyer but owned newspapers; and so I decided to own a newspaper and be a lawyer. That will be my way of shaping the politics and the times of my life.

Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com
Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com

AMOAFOWAA:

You are so modest. If you were made the President for a year, what would you concentrate on?

 EFJ:

To decentralise governance because we have paid lip service to the concept of devolution or decentralisation. Successive governments from the PNDC to the present government say we should give power to the people but when it comes to controlling government resources the people know nothing. I refuse to acknowledge Dr. Oko Vanderpuye, the Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and anyone holding such position as mayors because they are not elected. Mayors are elected, that is what the law says. I laugh because they are appointed and so they are chief executives. You cannot call the Vice President prime minister so how can you call Chief Executives mayors?

 

AMOAFOWAA:

If you are to grade the 4th Republic of Ghana, which president would be your first in discipline and which leader would be the last?

EFJ:

Obviously President Kufuor would be the first because he took his time and understood statecraft. How to exercise the power of a president was rightly seen during his time. Mr. Rawlings will be the last because he brought a lot of stagecraft instead of statecraft. I mean, getting involved in the overturning of taxis etc… He was just a good actor and brought a lot of drama to the presidency; which was needless.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Wow! Is Ghana’s education politicians’ draft?

EFJ:

Yes, I would say it is regrettable where we find ourselves. Pedagogy, the science and art of education has fled Ghanaian politics. The NPP came, did 4 years, NDC says, hey no! We won’t agree; 3 years. It’s as if we do not think. Has government thought about the financial implications? There is a certain log that has to be cleared. Two streams will be entering into the universities at the same time. There are people who do economics, and they don’t think about this? The irony of it is turning polytechnics into universities. Ghana is the only country where we go to England, copy concepts of education so for example in England, the polytechnics were given two certifications; the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and the Higher National Diploma (HND). In England, when someone holds an HND it is a degree awarded without honours, like someone who goes to the university and attains a mere pass. Then we introduce HND in Ghana and GIMPA asks that they come to do top up. Who does top up on a degree? Would a graduate of KNUST with a pass think of doing a degree top up another university?

We need a certain level of work force in the country. Not everybody has the aptitude to push pen and paper. But now it is not so. How can one go to the polytechnic, come out to be a clerk? That job is reserved for secondary school graduates who have nothing doing and need something to do. There are some polytechnics which issue degrees in the sciences, let’s have that system. The educational system must be a leveller. Our technical schools are falling apart.

 AMOAFOWAA:

Is Ghana a twisted form of a two party state?

EFJ:

No. I don’t think so. The fact that our nation is dominated by NPP, NDC does not mean that it is. It is just for me an evolution of the way people vote, there is the need for a third force or even a fourth force but we are just 23 years in democracy so there is still hope. Great democracies like England and the rest went through this phase so I have no worries. We are a multi-party state.

AMOAFOWAA:

The internet now rules, giving juicy options to all and thrashing reading in the eyes of the less disciplined, degrading education. What do you think can be done to remedy this to add some value to education in Africa?

EFJ:

The Internet is a powerful tool, and has become a prerequisite for any civilisation.  I think that like any power, if you wield it without control, it is dangerous and can kill you. So let’s regulate Internet usage. Just like what television did to people growing up, the internet can also do same; and we ought to start taking definite steps before the tragedies that have befallen some of the first world countries from loose Internet usage start beguiling us.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you had the chance to work abroad and had the same chance in your homeland with the same remunerations, which would you choose?

EFJ:

I’ll choose my homeland because everybody feels good at home. We have friends, family, associates, great weather here in Ghana. Nothing for me beats getting omo tuo over the weekends with friends. You can’t get exactly that in England, Italy or anywhere in the world easily.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are you scared of racism?

EFJ:

Racism that can kill me, I must be scared of especially in situations where extremists want to take me out. If it is words, I would treat it as contempt and face the offender in the court of law.

AMOAFOWAA:

So if I were to be white and called you a black monkey, you would face me in court?

EFJ:

Yes, it is defamatory. I would face you in court.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are judicial workers well taken care of in Ghana?

EFJ:

No, a lot more has to be done, a lot more has to be done. I see the judiciary at work from the judges through to judicial service staff, and the complaints which come through tell that a lot will have to be done. That accounts for the corruption that everyone is scared of whether perception or real.

AMOAFOWAA:

So you mean if government pays them well the rate of corruption will decrease?

EFJ:

Yes of course. If you pretend to pay people they pretend to work for you. It is because of this that bribery and corruption abounds. So yes, if they are paid well, if for nothing, it would decrease the acts of corruption, whether real or perceived.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you believe that bribery and corruption can ever be non-existent in the law enforcement agencies?

EFJ:

No, because it is not peculiar to only the law enforcement agencies. It is common to all facets of our society. Limiting it to the law enforcement agencies is unfair. It is everywhere.

AMOAFOWAA:

Now to superstitions, do you believe in spiritual beings like witches and demons?

 EFJ:

My Bible tells me that God is supreme to all gods and powers. It’s somewhere in Genesis. I know there are so called powers and so called gods save that God is supreme to all of them so I submit to the sovereign Lord who is the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac so I fear nothing.

 

AMOAFOWAA:

What is your take on the witches camps in Ghana?

EFJ:

If you banish a so called witch, I think it is ridiculous because we are made to believe that they know no boundaries. They don’t need visas to attack human beings. We hear they can penetrate  walls; they can go travel far in a flash, so why would you banish such spirits and house them in a camp? If you put them there they can still attack you, so I think it doesn’t make sense.

AMOAFOWAA:

Female Genital mutilation still persists on a low key. If you are to advise those who indulge in it to end this canker without intimidation, what would you say?

 EFJ:

I say sex is a beautiful thing, God created it so we can express ourselves as man and woman. Just as a man feels the tingling sensation at the point of ecstasy why won’t you allow women to feel so? FGM is something that some men do unfortunately with the connivance of some women so that they can subjugate women so that women can submit to them which shouldn’t be. Because if I understand the philosophy it is to make women faithful by not having sexual urges. But women are not tools to open up to men. A woman should also be able to signal a man that she wants to have sex. So why deprive a women through FGM?

AMOAFOWAA:

Would you marry a woman who has gone through FGM.

EFJ:

I’ll never say never. It depends, you can never say never so as far as I’m concerned. I’ll never marry a woman because of her vagina, I’ll marry her because of her intellect or maybe her speech, or maybe her looks, or her mannerism, so if she has it all, I will not say because she lacks a clitoris, I will not marry her. In any event, I hear there is a hospital in Burkina Faso that can reconstruct the clitoris of victims of FGM through surgery. So with that, if I can afford, I will take the woman to have that reconstruction. So for me, it will never be an issue.

AMOAFOWAA:

What are your hobbies?

EFJ:

I like to read a lot. I like to socialise. I’m not a good dancer but I like music a lot  and like to listen Nana Ampadu, Eddy Donkor, Obuoba J.A Adofo etc. I grew up on their songs. I learnt to speak Twi and Fante from their music.

AMOAFOWAA:

Which teams do you support?

 EFJ:

I support Accra Hearts of Oak, so I have shares in Accra Hearts of Oak. I bought shares in the team. I’m an unrepentant Phobian. I also support Chelsea football club of England.

AMOAFOWAA:

Who are your favourite writers?

EFJ:

I read all kinds of things but I will say, Wole Soyinka, Kofi Awoonor and Chinua Achebe

AMOAFOWAA:

Kofi Awoonor? Do you love poetry?

EFJ:

Yes. ‘Songs of Sorrow’ by Kofi Awoonor. The way he died was captured by his words in that poem.

AMOAFOWAA:

Why can’t I smoke marijuana anywhere I want in Ghana, when it is my mouth doing the pulling and my body is doing the taking?

EFJ:

Marijuana is a narcotic so we need permission to deal with it. I don’t want to say mariujuana is poison but it has an effect on humans that is poisonous so if you are to hold poison it must be regulated.

AMOAFOWAA:

What is the naughtiest thing you ever did?

EFJ:

A lot but I won’t talk about any of them.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you are to choose between alcohol, women and a religion, which would you choose and why?

EFJ:

I’ll choose religion. I know I’m a very religious and spiritual person. I know that we are here by design and so I will want to have an end that will not put me in trouble with God. God cannot give you gonorrhoea or cirrhosis of the liver,when you live his word so I’ll choose religion.

AMOAFOWAA:

Are religions in Ghana portraying their sects in good light?

EFJ:

Yes and no, the established ones and ones with leadership are doing great, setting up schools, etc to empower people and to make life a bit bearable. But some of the good churches are also doing a lot of marketing. Why should that be? I do not like churches with big signboards with their pastors’ pictures on them. Why? It should be God doing it so why is your face there? Are you God? Some are also one-man churches. The Bible tells us that God himself will permit some prophets to come and give all prophesies but we should discern the good from the bad. So let the false ones among the clergy do what they are doing, because God gave them the permission to test our faith. Time though will tell.

AMOAFOWAA:

Do you believe in pray for me?

EFJ:

Mosses in the Bible petitioned God on behalf of the people of Israel but if you sink it in the concept of false prophets, then you must have a discerning spirit because it is said each man runs according to what is chasing him.

AMOAFOWAA:

If you were the Christian Jesus, which disciple would you eliminate if you are given the second chance to relive?

EFJ:

This is blasphemy.  If you say that I should comment on who among them was inappropriate, then I would say Judas Iscariot. I am and can never be Jesus. (Pulls his Bible to verify a quotation)

AMOAFOWAA:

Which part of the Ghana Pledge touches your heart and incites you to patriotism?

EFJ:

Our national Anthem is a prayer and I like that very much. If we were to follow this, people will not do bad things.

“I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to Ghana my motherland,” anyway is the part of the national anthem that resonates with me the most.

AMOAFOWAA:

To teenagers who think they are stubborn, what will be your advice?

 EFJ:

They should have fun as teenagers, they should know that the path they are seeking to walk has been walked by people before them but those people know the dangers thereof. I recognize the fact that it is at the teenage phase that people experiment. Bob Marley also says that Freedom of speech includes freedom to listen so they should be cautious and listen to people before them and be moderate too.

Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com
Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. on amoafowaa.com

 

AMOAFOWAA:

Which words would you generously give to those aspiring to be lawyers?

EFJ:

Diligence in study, research minded, analytical and not take things at their face value.

AMOAFOWAA:

What would you say to those who do not respect women?

EFJ:

Every man was born of a woman so why would you disrespect a woman? You can disagree with a woman but you should never disrespect a woman.

AMOAFOWAA:

Let’s have faith in Ghana, let’s love Ghana a little more and let’s believe in each other and the capability of Ghanaians to fetch Ghana.

AMOAFOWAA:

Thank you Mr. Faibille Jnr. for your time.

EFJ:

You’re welcome.

 

END OF INTERVIEW

His inspiration came in this form:

Rocks sharpeneth rocks

Only sharp thoughts can sharpen sharp thoughts

Like the brain which is a sea of sanity

He lets the ambitious thread in caution

They go the miles, but see Faibillic eyes

Watching keenly the path they make

A voice of hard work

A voice of discipline

Watching and pointing at defaulters with swords

Swords of words and swords of the law

To cut down stumps in frames of beings

And to battle voices in humans of beasts

Could you be a chip of the old block?

No! Your name umbrellas the deeds of the old

You are a sword which must be feared and hailed

For your kind in Africa are but a few

You are a priceless shining gem

You are the hands which corrupt hearts fear

You are like the deepest ocean lying serene

But seasoned fishermen know your depth

All hail the heart which reeks of wisdom

Egbert surpassing bets

Faibille who sees the fabled stories

A junior who is senior to all seniors

Your deeds speak louder than your words

And pa pa pa paaaaaaaaa!

There goes my sound

Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia

10 thoughts on “When the Law Speaks: Oko Vanderpuye is not a Mayor! Barrister Egbert Faibille Jnr. teaches

  1. Hello, my name is Gregory Thomas, I’m a writer and poet, and post my work on my blog at “Cascadialegends.wordpress.com” I just wanted to thank you for liking one of my stories on my blog. thank you very much! I don’t possess the know how, or money to make a book out of my work, if perhaps you know anybody that could help me, please do let me know, also thanks again. It’s my passion to make people smile through my writing, I wish you the best of luck as well

    -sincerely,

    Gregory Thomas

    Like

  2. it’s great to hear that this person who is a lawyer is also a man who has old school values, that his beliefs are strong as the law he represents, a foundation like his can only give and not take. I was impressed
    Many blessings Cecilia

    Liked by 1 person

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