The six alumni of the University of Benin Law Faculty who were recently elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, were last week urged by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN that the rank brings not only fame and privileges, but that it also imposes a huge responsibility.
Fashola who is also an alumnus of the University of Benin and an SAN made this remark while delivering a keynote speech a Special Luncheon to celebrate the six SANs last Thursday at the Banquet Hall of the University.
He said ‘In a world where consideration for self now takes pre-eminence over selflessness, in a world where selfies (as in photographs) now dominate our conversation, I urge that we seek to enthrone more selflessness in our lives.
‘In this regard, I ask all of us to reflect and ask whether we will be here to celebrate Senior Advocates, if there were first no Lawyers, and if we could celebrate Lawyers without law graduates, and indeed, if they could have been law graduates without successful law students.
‘The extended question in reflection is this: where would we all have been without our teachers in primary and secondary schools, in the University and the Nigerian Law School?’
The new SANs include:-
1. Chief (Dr.) Richard Oma Ahonaruogho, SAN
2. Mr. Adedapo Osariuyime Tunde-Olowu, SAN
3. Mr. Lotanna Chuka Okoli, SAN
4. Mr Peter Adogbejire Mrakpor, SAN
5. Mr. Nureini Soladoye Jimoh, SAN
6. Mr. Yusuf Asamah Kadiri, SAN
Babatunde Fashola further said ‘Many, including my humble self, have walked your path. If it was difficult at the time I was preferred in 2004, I can only now imagine how much more difficult it must have been. There are many more qualified Lawyers seeking the rank, and therefore, the competition is immensely magnified. The conditions that I have looked at for prequalification, are more stringent’.
‘For your dedication, hard work and ultimate success, I doff my hat in admiration.
‘To all those in Uniben Law Alumni who are still aspiring, the magnitude of HARD WORK and the span of dedication it requires to succeed is not intended to deter, but to challenge you to aspire. Afterall, you are the products of the great Uniben.
‘As I understand it from history, the University of Benin is the product of the farsighted and visionary commitment of men and women who sought to develop Nigeria’s human capital. That vision has fructified manyfold, and it is still bearing fruit as is evident from the many products of this University who have, and are still occupying positions of leadership and responsibility in the private and public spheres of our nation.
‘That list is long and growing, and I doubt that there could be a better tribute to the vision of the founders than what we gather to do today; to celebrate six products of University of Benin who ascend to leadership role in the legal profession in the year 2020 when University of Benin commemorated its 50th year of existence.
‘Of course, the rank brings fame and privileges, but it also imposes a huge responsibility of LEADERSHIP, to be used to improve the cause of justice and enthrone law and order for the peace, order and good government of Nigeria and her people.
‘You and I who are the beneficiaries of this rank must therefore, always remember that we are products of Uniben. We must fly her flag proudly with our rank. We must not be afraid to break new grounds in the development of the law’, he said.