Monday, July 25, 2016
BEING THE ADDRESS OF ADESINA OGUNLANA ESQ, CHAIRMAN N.B.A. IKEJA BRANCH AT THE SPECIAL VALEDICTORY SERVICE FOR LATE ADENIYI ADEYEMI ADEWUNMI WHO TRANSLATED 14TH JULY 2016, TODAY 22 JULY 2016
I with utmost sobriety, welcome us all to this valedictory session for a distinguished member of the Branch, ADENIYI ADEYEMI ADEWUNMI.
Oh what a man!
The organization of this session is at short notice and notice of same to you all even shorter. While it is true that Adeniyi died in his age of bloom, the Branch leadership has declined to descend to mourning not only for the uselessness of mourning, but also for the reality that in death is life and life is the very core of death.
Rather we resolve to do the appropriate-celebrate a worthy life, a life of impact an existence of positive impact.
AAA was born on August 26 1966 and became a legal practitioner in 1988 at the tender age of 22. Thus he had practiced in the forest of laws, for 28 years or thereabouts.
That AAA was successful legal practitioner is not in doubt. He was a founding partner of the famous CITIPOINT Chambers, a chambers so renowned that it is a sad wonder that till date, none of its leaders has been considered fit and proper for elevation into the membership of the inner sanctum of the Bar.
AAA’s success however cannot be measured ONLY in any quantum of material possessions as may be spoken of some other well-off legal practitioners.
The six foremost qualities of the Attorney-at-law, KNOWLEDGE, ERUDITION, COURAGE, INTEGRITY, INDUSTRY and COMPASSION; were the flesh and blood of our departed colleague.
Niyi was not a journey-man of a lawyer.
Niyi was not a Mafia lawyer and could not have been.
Niyi was not a lawyer compromisable and was not also a conduit pipe.
Niyi was not a 'use and dump' principal.
I can go on. But don’t let me stop until I mention that Niyi was a BAR MAN; of the Tiger extraction.
There are Bar men who support the Bar with their funds. There are those who support the Bar with their advice. There are those who support with their time. Then there are the all-rounders: those who support the Bar with their all. Niyi was an all rounder.
Niyi, the son of Adewunmi, now our senior colleague in the inescapable Bar is gone. When cometh another?
That when is now. I challenge us all to emulate and surpass the sterling qualities of this great and truly exceptional 'Tiger,' so that our profession and indeed our nation shall be a much better proposition than he, left it.
May God be the comforter of his immediate family and partners in the at CITIPOINT chamber. May our great Bar be comforted and may we not gather again so soon thereafter for the loss of our diamonds.
I thank you for your kind attention.
(proposed by the new chairman of NBA Ikeja Branch on 14th June, 2016 on the occasion of his inauguration, amended and adopted by the general house)
Tigers ooo; Tigers!
Tigers ooo; Tigers!
Ever progressive; Tigers
Ever dynamic; Tigers
Are you a Tiger?
I am a Tiger
Tigers ooo; Tigers!
Tigers ooo; Tigers!
Ever progressive; Tigers
Ever dynamic; Tigers
Are you a Tiger?
I am a Tiger
The president of the Ekoba 83 set, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my greetings. I thank most sincerely the leadership of your association for inviting me to share my thoughts with this august body.
Interestingly, I was not given a topic for discussion, rather I was given the extra privilege and burden of the latitude to formulate my topic which in morbid terms is akin to a situation of asking a prisoner to choose not only his punishment but where he would want the execution of same.
I say this because of the relevant content of your letter inviting me to this occasion which states the theme of the speech thus: PARENTS AS INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE IN NIGERIA.
After a little deliberation, I formulated my topic thus: PARENTS, CHANGE AND NIGERIA.
I respectfully present same with a tinge of audacity that my discourse will not disappoint too greatly.
Since the giddy days of the campaign period of 2015 General Elections which eventually saw the unprecedented and invariably historic defeat of the incumbent government at the Federal level, the word, nay term CHANGE has become perhaps the most significant political coinage in the country.
Just one word - CHANGE; only six letters, but it carries an extraordinary flavour, punch and meaning especially after the April 14 2015 elections which swept off the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration and ushered in the General Mohammed Buhari regime. The political mantra of CHANGE was and is still pervasive.
There is the cry for Change everywhere, there is a change atmosphere. There is a change movement. In all spheres of our lives, politically, economically, spiritually and sociologically.
I should like to pause here to briefly discuss what CHANGE is. My discourse will be laconic. What is change? Change is a departure from a STATUS QUO or a given position but change has degrees.
There is a change that is merely a variation. There is a change that is as elongation. There is a change that is a diminution. There is change that is a multiplication. There is change that is a CANCELATION. There is CHANGE that is an ANTI-CLOCKWISE REDIRECTION.
It will appear to me that the type of change Nigerians are desirous of in the affairs of their nation is of the last type.
The reason is obvious; our dear country has for long being very badly run, completely mismanaged by those who either imposed themselves on us as our rulers, by way of military incursion or those we have purportedly voted into power. The reason for seeking and gaining power was largely to help themselves to the contents of the public coffers. And this was at all levels of governance, stealing us blind. The implication of their avarice which was of lunatic dimensions was to incapacitate the state and throw millions of Nigerians into a continuous life of MISERY.
Since as the Solomon David of the holy bible said rather fantastically, ‘money answereth all things' and there is not much money left in the till having been transported into private pockets, the statue became incapable of looking after and providing adequately and properly for her citizenry.
What the Escaping Joe of the 'Checking Out' fame of said in 1984, is still very real today - 'Oh men, no water, no light, no job, no road, I am checking out!'
Thus Nigeria which had a very bright chance of becoming a paradise after independence given her enormous human and natural resources became not only an eye sore but hell-on-earth, very close to the infamous Hobbesian State of nature where life is short, nasty and brutish.
Because as the proverb goes, where the head is rotten, the whole fish gets bad; because of the tragedy of our political leadership, which is the most significant leadership in the temporal world, the length and breadth of our country is tragically also infected and corrupted. The insane greed and shocking selfishness of our leaders is replicated in most, if not all Nigerians.
Our true God is not Allah, Jehovah or Eledumare or Chineke or Abasi but MAMMON. First our definition of success is Material Success and the Credo by which we live our terrible life is MATERIAL SUCCESS BY ALL MEANS.
Little wonder then, that in our interaction with one another, we are enemies, cheating, lying, robbing even killing to achieve our goals or surpass the attainment of others. Everybody, everywhere in Nigeria cheats or believes in cheating.
Now that we are tired of our terrible lot, and want a radical change from all that mess, can we get the CHANGE?
My unhesitating answer is yes, change is possible. It is going to be a lot of hard-work and it's not going to be achieved quickly, but change is possible.
That is where parents come in. It has become axiomatic that the cradle and the foundation of society is the home. The home is basic unit of human congregation, and it is the little drops of water that makes the mighty river of society. Nobody is born in the Society; we can only grow up there. The home consists of parents and their children or wards or dependants.
The home has a territorial expression, it has jurisdiction, it has an administration. To be called a parent is different from being a Daddy or a Mother.
Daddyship and Mothership is Biology. Parentship is sociology. Our Fathers were wise and knew this when they postulated ONBI KO TO ONTO.
Parenting is the price you pay for activating your sexual organs in the body of another person of the opposite sex. I say this for those who may be insisting on definitions.
However not all Daddies and mummies pay the price. They abandon the consequences of their actions. These are not PARENTS. Daddies and mummies are just the air-lines that carries the child from the unseen pre-world to the world. After discharging their passengers, these air lines do not care again about the faring of their erstwhile passengers, whether they perish or survive.
Parent is not just a NOUN but a Verb. It is a non-stop job. It is a job for life. And in the case of the Yoruba parent, it is a job even after – death. Thus Yoruba say and believe that OKU OLOMO KII SUN.
To parent a child is to fill his Tabula Rasa with contents It is inevitable and the parent can only give of what he has. However even among Parents, there are parents and there are parents.
Parents are placed in the most strategic position to influence the human child because they are in control of that human being at its most impressionable age. Children are like soft clay in the hands of the potter, the heated metal in the hands of the smith, the sapling in the sweep of the wind and the steering wheel in the hands of the driver.
Generally and historically, the norms accepted by a grown up human reflect the values of these who tended him when he was young.
As instruments of change in Nigeria, parents are in a special class of INFLUENCERS, followed only by the teachers at the pre-tertiary levels. The reason again is that all other possible agents of influence like Religion, Politics, Economy deal mostly with ADULTS, who are already finished or almost finished products. The adult is like CAST IRON, while the child is like Putty.
The difference is clear.
However for the Nigerian parent to be an instrument of change in Nigeria, he needs to first change himself and his values. For as the LATIN proverb goes. EX-NIHILO NIHILO EST. I thank you for your kind attention.
BEING THE TEXT OF AN ADDRESS BY ADESINA OGUNLANA, LEGAL PRACTITIONER AND LEADER, LAWYERS4CHANGE DELIVERED AT THE EKO BOYS HIGH SCHOOL OLD BOYS ASSOCIATION 32ND ANNIVERSARY AT ALPHA PLAZA, OBAFEMI AWOLOWO ROAD, IKEJA LAGOS ON 26 DECEMBER 2015.
Once you are a legal practitioner especially a practicing one, you are in constant remind of the seniority and juniority concepts in the profession. As is well known, the seniority or juniority of a lawyer depends on when he attains the great and rare honour of being called to the Bar. You may be as old as Methuselah and yet be a junior to a twenty-one year old.
The seniority system is essentially regulatory of conduct and established for orderliness. The senior gets preference of treatment and is always regarded as the leader and the better of the junior. Small wonder then that lawyers protect their relative seniority jealously. Of course the seniority concept is known and respected in and out the Bench. Only that, the seniority on the Bench is not determined by the year of call to the Bar, but by the year of elevation to the Bench.
Some judges, like Savage J. of the Ikorodu High Court activate the seniority system among counsel more than others. In Justice Savage’s court, the judge after taking one or two cases on the cause list as listed would announce that “counsel more than 20 years at the Bar are free to mention their cases.”
In my humble view, the court’s practice dignifies senior legal practitioners and teaches humility to the junior ones. Now a laugh. There was this day I was in Savage J’s court and the judge made his usual declaration. Promptly, counsel voices confidently rang out “23 years!” “26 years!” “28 years!” “21 years!,” etc.
Well, when the “din” died down, a fairly tall figure stood up and announced- “So and so Esquire, 38 years!”
There was silence. Shocked silence. Silence of Respect. Deep Respect. When 38 years finished his case, he walked out of court, with the refined swag of a crown prince. Yet seniority at the Bar is not always about attracting deference and getting benefits. Thus seniority is also a sacrifice, a burden, a responsibility. Responsibility to be a role model of discipline, comportment, integrity, knowledge and standard grooming and dressing. Responsibility to look out for the juniors, the younger ones at the Bar and to be a good example to them.
Unfortunately what one sees in many seniors these days is quite distressing. They dress poorly and in-appropriately, they flaunt dishonest practice and dishonest life styles and instead of protecting and encouraging the juniors, they rather neglect or even worse, exploit them.
Sorry, such seniors’ seniority is nothing but mediocrity at the Bar, consciously or unconsciously misleading those coming behind. The Bar and the Bench should search out such misfits… for sanction!
The story is all too familiar in Yoruba land, a legal practitioner makes good and the next thing is the supposed chieftaincy title of 'Bamofin,' shortened form of Baba awon Amofin. Conferred on the fella by a traditional ruler.
Literally translated into English Baba awon Amofin means 'Father of lawyers' but more aptly it translates to 'chief' lawyer. The title is an ape of a certain original in traditional setting, to wit Balogun or Babalogun 'Father-at-the-War-Front' or 'Chief Warrior.'
The intrusion and intervention of the British Colonialists in the lives and affairs of Nigeria over two hundred years ago has drastically altered the traditional setting of the people, hence the 'Bamofin' of the land; the wife becoming the ‘Yeye Bamofin’ - the ‘dutiful wife,' the pillar behind her husband's success notwithstanding having nothing to do with the legal profession.
Now let's examine the Bamofin title - how valid or sensible or justifiable is same? The recipient of the title a supposed traditional title, is not trained in any way in the native laws and customs of the people of the relevant kingdom neither is he a specialist in regard. In fact law, as a profession never existed in pre-colonial Yoruba-land. Thus the post-colonial Yoruba lawyer is only trained in the practice and procedure of traditional rulers.
Another peculiarity of our traditional rulers is awarding titles to certain professionals like lawyers, accountants, surveyors, medical doctors etc. The preferred members for consideration for title awards are usually those professional who are either ‘bucks up’ or cronies of the occupiers of the attenuated monarchies. Thus the personal physician of a kabiyesi can be installed the Baasegun of the paper ‘kingdom” while the legal practitioner who waged and won court room battles for the Ori-Ade (the crowned head) whether by hook or by crook becomes the Baa Amofin.
Clearly then the legal profession in Nigeria is not part of the traditional values, culture and history of the people that an occupant of a native chieftaincy is expected and required to secure, protect and promote; ditto modern professions like medicine, baking, surveying, accountancy, etc.
Thus when a traditional ruler purports to give out titles in respect of matters outside of his portfolio, he lacks the locus to so act and any such title dished out is void ab abinitio and is really of no consequences whatsoever.
Actually both the givers and recipients of bogus titles like BAMOFIN are guilty of not only deep ignorance or thoughtless absurdity but are also victims of 'colonial mentality.'
The recipient, a legal practitioner trained in the English way and now donning a traditional title on account of his alleged proficiency in the Queen’s land law and procedure can only be likened to a fellow who decides to put on an agbada and abeti aja cap after dressing up in a three piece suit.
Mad, won’t you say?
You cannot help but wonder at times. At the truism of the saying that life is actually stranger than fiction. When rather quirky reality plays itself out in blood and flesh and sometimes under one’s nose (korokoro eyes) one cannot help but wonder.
The wondering is a grasp at the unreal reality, the impossible possibility. Things flog your imagination and thrash your plausibility. You gasp, you do a double take and literally run your hands over your eyes just to make sure that what you are seeing or what you think or believe you are seeing is indeed the real McCoy.
One of such double take situations is the quite intriguing case of FRN vs Rosulu Idowu Oluronke. In this case, the main gist is that a high profile prison inmate managed to swindle another high profile prison inmate, while both were cooling their heels in the federal government owned recreation center at Kirikiri Lagos.
The alleged swindler is said to have obtained money from the swindlee (modern English) by telling him that the swindler had obtained the services of a prominent lawyer for the swindlee.
The swindlee, who himself is no kid, and not any grown up but a soldier and not just any soldier but a Major General and not just any Major General, but a Chief of Army Staff, parted with the princely sum of three hundred thousand dollars as down payment, without ever talking with let alone seeing the legal luminary or any representative of his!
How could this fantastic story have happened in real life? Even in a flick, the story line will appear rather incredible to the ordinary sane fellow on the streets.
So many questions, so many wondering. How could a detainee, himself also in shackles successfully convince another (undemented) detainee that he is in a position to relieve this other of his shackles? How did the mind boggling sum of three hundred thousand dollars find its way inside a supposedly maximum facility from unofficial sources?
If this tale is true, and, well, a high court judge has so confirmed it, then one can only sigh N kan be!
I am tempted to rate the alleged swindler a genius but considering that he dealt with a swindlee who is an obvious gongosu edidare (compound fool is a poor English lingo equivalent) I will only award him the usual title of his ilk “Smart Alec.”
Thursday, October 29, 2015
As Editor of the Squib, I have had serial “affairs” with Chief Judges of Lagos State and no one relationship is like the others.
My first love is, you must have guessed wrongly, if you had Hon. Justice Ibitola Sotuminu (2001-2004) in mind. The first dalliance was actually with Hon. Justice Christopher Segun in the twilight of whose regime in March 2001, the Squib was born.
Segun C.J and the Squib hardly knew themselves, before the infamously temperamental judge bowed out of service in May 2001.
Then Sotuminu C.J came on board. Her ladyship was one judicial dame whose regime had the most torrid sessions with the Squib. A most tempestuous affair, it was, heady, awesome, full of sound and fury, signifying something.
The Sotuminu administration saw the audacious irreverent combative, whistle blowing Squib as more or less a terrorist paper and tackled it head on as if it were levying a counter-insurgency war. It became virtually treasonable for members of the judiciary, including judges to be seen in public with copies of the Squib. No less than five times were Squib vendors, arrested and detained by the police at the behest of the Sotuminu administration. And the editor himself was dragged before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee.
Mrs. Toyin Taiwo, now Honourable Justice Toyin Taiwo was the Chief Registrar then, saddled with the unpleasant and difficult task of dismantling the unrelenting Squib, which became even more ferocious and vociferous in his attacks and expose!
When Sotuminu C.J quit the beat by way of retirement the new Squib 'lover' turned to be Hon. Justice Fatai Adeyinka. Adeyinka was an indifferent lover. His short tenure of about six months saw a deliberate policy of avoiding the Squib, despite some damaging reports against the Chief Judge.
In the same 2004, a new helmsman Augustine Adetula Alabi, more popularly known as Ade Alabi mounted the saddle. The first half of the regime was relatively peaceful and quiet in his affair with the Squib, which did not lost its bite. The second half was a different story all together.
The intention of the administration at that point was to send the Squib publisher out of the legal profession via his prosecution and conviction for allegedly defaming Lagos State High Court judges before the Disciplinary committee of the Body of Benchers. It was a difficult and tense period which tested and deepened the resilience of the Squib Editor. Fortunately, a most formidable and sagacious legal representation was always ready for the Squib, courtesy Daddy 3, late Chief G.O.K Ajayi SAN.
After Alabi, came Akande C. J. Akande was our first and only true love so far of all the Chief Judges. This Chief Judge, most unusually saw and took the magazine as a friend of her administration and a much needed member of the family and not an outlaw or outcast.
When Akande departed in 2012, after a three year stint, it was the turn of Ayo Philips C.J. Never a friend of the Squib but managed to tolerate the “irritant” fairly well enough until she too bowed out in 2014.
The departure of Philips C.J in 2014 saw her blood and judicial sister Atilade J emerging her successor. Thus Atilade C.J. is Squib’s latest beaux.
From all indications, Squib’s latest love wants a calm and peaceful affair and not the stormy, fiery, feisty type that the veteran matador has become used to.
Thus it was that some few weeks the new chief invited the Squib at a public occasion to celebrate with her the arrival of what her ladyship called “Squib’s Rival”, the magazine of the Lagos State Judiciary.
Squib’s rival? Really? I am waiting
March has become a very important month in my life, particularly so since 2010.
Incidentally, I was not born in March. I did not give birth in March and hope not to die in March. Furthermore I did not start schooling in March nor end any of my schooling in March. Even when a Vice-Chancellor now of blessed memory decided to kick me and thirty-three others from the best University for Law then, (Lagos State University), the expulsion did not take place in March, likewise the inevitable recall.
However some very important events in my life have happened in March. For example, the Squib debuted fourteen years ago in March (March 2001). I was called to the Bar in March (1996). Pitiably, it is also in March that I lost two of the three most important men in my life.
As you might have been aware, I have the exceptional good fortune of belonging to three fathers. I am the case of one son, three fathers! Unlike most other people.
I have a father in fact called Daniel Oyewole Ogunlana.I had a father-in-law called Dr. Joseph Eyitayo Adetoro.
I had a father-in-the law called Chief G.O.K. Ajayi S.A.N, the Oodole of Ile-Ife.
You must have noticed that I write of Dr. Adetoro and Chief Ajayi in the past (tense). This is so because the two giants have left for the great beyond.
Dr. J.E. Adetoro, former Federal Commissioner under General Yakubu Gowon from 1967 – 1975 died on March 22, 2010. Chief G.O.K. Ajayi S.A.N went the way of all mortals on March 28, 2014. I miss both of them greatly.
G.O. K. Ajayi’s destiny even in death seems still linked wih Nigeria and her democracy. Chief’s birthday falls on May 29, but it is that not Nigeria’s democracy day? And when is Nigeria going to the polls this very year? March 28!
So Chief Ajayi’s one year remembrance falls on Election day!
My consolation is that come March 29, 2015 by the special grace of God, there’s going to be a very important change of name in the country.
This is what I mean – Goodluck Jonathan will become Goodbye Jonathan!
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
The philosophy(es) behind many concepts of law and legality of the British are quite noble. It appears there is a special commitment to uphold and promote regularity. predictability and certainty in the swing of the law.
In addition, British legal concepts tend to hold “due process” in the highest esteem. Now obeying the rules and following the dictates of due process becomes especially difficult where you have no skin for patience and meticulousness.
Perhaps for you to understand the point better, I illustrate. You have before you a wrapped up loaf of bread. How do you get at your bread? Do you carefully unknot or untie the wrap, slowly sorting out the twists and ties, taking care that the wrap does not tear and reap your reward or do you rip the wrap apart and tug forcefully at the binds to have the loaf?
Your choice boils down to the type of person you are. If you are of the take-it-easy cast, you go for option one. But if you are the “hurry-hurry” type you employ the yank and tear method!
However the second option often leads to mess and waste as the impatience driven haste creates unnecessary “mayhem” along the way to getting the bread as the binds are torn, the wrapper raped and loaf unduly exposed.
Due process, fair hearing, legal notice etc., are all indicators, regulators and stipulates of Orderliness. In SOCIETY, you not only attain orderliness but maintain it as well by Due Process and Respect for Constituted Authority. In the JUNGLE on the other hand, orderliness is an anathema and is as such not practiced. Everything is about power and might, little wonder life out there is short, nasty and brutish.
I am sorry to say this, but it appears to me that in 2015, close to 150 years after the first Nigerian became a legal practitioner of the British legal system, most Nigerians, including lawyers lack the mind set fit for existence in the city of Due Process. You doubt me? Then read this tale.
An association of lawyers in a great city of the South West had the good fortune of a donation of well equipped law chambers made to it by a senior lawyer some years ago. The arrangement was that the chambers would be occupied free of charge by new wigs and other young lawyers, who would move out when they become full fledged seniors.
Unfortunately, when it was time for former fledglings (now mature) to leave the perch, they decided to stay put. Entreaties, admonitions failed to move the recalcitrant lawyers, much to the angst of their colleagues.
The only option available to the association of legal minds against their selfish and irresponsible members was EVICTION.
The question now is which manner should the eviction be? Should it be a recourse to court of law or a recourse to the arena of self help?
To my deep sadness and embarrassment, the branch chose the Arena of self help and proudly announced their choice. Now if lawyers prefer the route of self help, what will non lawyers do?
If you care to know, I was privileged to attend the Annual General meeting of the NBA Ibadan Branch in January 2015.
Thank you so much for your kind attention.
(FOR BAMIDELE ATURU 1965-2014)
1. Death is a noun but oft looks likes a verb
2. Death’s only meal is life
3. With death all life is edible
4. Death never gives life, it takes
5. Death is life’s constant companion but never her friend
6. Death has an inconstant price in the market of life
7. Death and life don’t mix
8. Death is always at work (mowing the lawn of life)
9. Death is life’s measuring rod.
10. Death takes life but has no life itself.