Posted by News Express | 4 January 2020 | 1,337 times
Upon conclusion of all filtrations by the relevant Sub-Committees of the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) the publication of names of candidates and the subsequent Chambers’ inspection, we moved to the final stages of the conferment of the prestigious Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Well, a lot of negative and discouraging stories are out there about the process of this selection but I personally discovered it to be transparent. The LPPC has largely become independent and populated by men and women of high integrity and credibility. I cannot however dismiss the existence of lobbying or getting people to mentor and guide you through the process; however, nobody demanded and I NEVER paid any dime to anybody, in the course and for the purpose of my application for conferment of SAN.
I received a letter from the LPPC, inviting me for an oral interview slated for July 1-3, 2019, at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja. I personally declared a dry fast whilst my wife joined as back up in Lagos. At this stage, it could be anybody’s game, as anyone who has scaled through to the final stage of oral interview certainly merits the award, in my humble view.
On July 1, 2019, all the candidates gathered at the Supreme Court complex, in the morning. We were addressed by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court who is also the Secretary of the LPPC. There were two interview Panels and all candidates would ballot to pick a Panel and the oral interviews would last for three days. The process of balloting was open and clearly transparent. I picked Panel A with my interview slated for July 3, 2019. It would be a long wait, of three lonely days filled with tension, anxiety and faith in God, but it gave me enough time to pray more.
I finally appeared for my interview on July 3, 2019, before a Panel of two eminent Chief Judges and a well-respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria, all sitting at the elevated portion of the main courtroom of the Supreme Court while I stood at the gallery. I was offered a seat but I pleaded with them to allow me stand. I was clutching a very heavy bag containing my responses to the petitions written against my elevation.
The questions started coming, from left, right and center and they dwelt on areas of legal practice, the knowledge of law and procedure, national issues, etiquette, professional integrity, human rights, NBA, the role of SANs, politics and virtually all areas. I responded calmly and politely, at least to the best of my ability. Though it was a friendly session, but the Panel members were firm and thorough. Once in a while, they would confer among themselves after my response to some of the questions.
Suddenly, one of the Panel members said: “Mr. Adegboruwa, we are through with you.” It didn’t sound real as I was still expecting more questions, so my legs were glued to the floor and I couldn’t move. Another member indicated to me that the interview session was over! It was like the experience of Peter in the Bible, who was rescued by an angel of God from impending death from King Herod but was so overwhelmed he didn’t want to leave the prison. As I was still standing there thoroughly dazed, another Panel member said: “Now we have reached a verdict. It is apparent from your appearance today that you have been fasting. So, our judgment upon you is that you stop on your way out by your left and join our caterer for a sumptuous meal of pounded yam before you leave the Supreme Court!” It was then I realized that the interview was truly over. Of course I dare not eat, when the real battle had just began.
Needless to state that my wife was waiting to know the outcome of the long-awaited interview, which I narrated to her in details. With the interview sessions now over, it was left for God to have the final say. The tension was very high all over Abuja, amongst the candidates. My wife then suggested that I go back to Lagos, having been fasting now for three days, it may be too dangerous to stay alone in the hotel and die of high blood pressure due to the mounting anxiety. Mr Samuel Agweh (now SAN), a friend who had his own oral interview on Monday July 1, had waited for me, so we both agreed to leave Abuja, since we have done our part and it is now only in God’s hand.
At the airport in Abuja, a destiny helper who had mentored me through the process called me that I should intensify my prayers and I responded to him that my wife and I have been praying. Not long after, he said what he meant was that I should engage in very fervent prayers. Wow!!! This is the very person that should tell me to relax. What else can I do now again but pray. I told Mr Agweh about the conversation and we both agreed to truly intensify our prayers. Later on at home that day, my wife woke me up at midnight and we decided to have a vigil of praise and worship, starting with solemn hymns and then thanksgiving. Pastor Adeboye had once taught that when matters get to a head, praise would do well than prayers.
The LPPC would now meet the following day July 4, 2019, to decide the final list. I had a major case concerning IPMAN at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi. Whilst waiting for the court to sit, I was wondering in my mind, what do I do now? Who do I call? Suddenly I heard a voice in my spirit that there is a channel of communication to heaven which is never busy and never failing. And that settled the matter for me, to ginger me into more silent prayers in groaning.
By the time the court sat and we started arguments on the case, I’d forgotten all about SAN and LPPC. The judge (Hon Jus Prof Obiozor) was very engaging and probing and so I was on my feet from about 12pm till 4pm, in presenting arguments and responding to his questions and those of the respondents. It was suddenly around 5:30pm, whilst listening to the arguments of one of the counsel to the respondents, that I remembered SAN! I scrambled for my phone and saw that I had several messages, all of them with one theme: CONGRATULATIONS. Without any thought and spontaneously, I jumped up in court and shouted: Hallelujah!!! The judge was shocked and asked me what happened and I told him and the whole court erupted in jubilation. The judge prayed for me and so too all my colleagues, the clients in court, journalists, the court registrars, etc.
But there’s someone that I needed to talk to urgently, yet I couldn’t leave the court! I just managed to send a text message to her: “Mrs A, we made it! Glory be to God!” She later told me that she jumped up and shouted Hallelujah and called the children to join her.
By the time we finished the court case around 6:30pm, the security men at the gate were all jubilating and rejoicing, but I was barely managing to answer them, as my mind was focused on just speaking to and seeing only one person at this time, my dearest learned best half, Mrs A! I picked my phone and called her and she erupted in loud shouts of Hallelujah!!!
In Ecclesiastics 3:14, it is stated that “... whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him.”
My deep appreciation goes to God Almighty, who stood by me throughout the process, to all well-meaning Nigerians, especially judges, lawyers, friends, pastors and brethren, clients and members of staff of Adegboruwa & Co., who God used mightily, to help the process of my elevation, all too numerous to mention, save my one and only darling, Mrs. A.
Whatever may be the righteous desire of your heart, with faith in the power of God, it is done already.
This very year and decade, your journey to the top shall be rapid, because God Himself will accelerate and accomplish it.
Happy New Year.
•Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, SAN, sent in this piece from RCCG Camp, Ogun State.
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