Happy new month ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to another monthly edition of Law History Series which is aimed at promoting and unearthing the history, unknown facts of our beloved legal profession.
In this edition, I will be discussing two individuals who, over the years, have established themselves as one of the best in the legal profession and not just that, they are also bonded by a matrimonial vow which signifies them as a couple.
Even though some of us has always had a craving to get married to a fellow lawyer due to the numerous benefits and opportunities that comes with it such as having a companion with whom you can discuss your legal interests and discussing various areas of law which they have expertise in, although it is always exciting to discuss it with another lawyer discussing it with your partner is on another level, while some of our male lawyers or female lawyers have some reservations towards what I will call a “Law-Law” union due to fears that the relationship might be somewhat dimensional or one-sided.
Over the years, we have seen lawyers who married themselves and went on to become legal luminaries. Also, we have seen instances where the husbands remained a lawyer or a member of the bar, but their wives went on to become judges of various courts in Nigeria. We are talking about the likes of Ernest Ojukwu SAN, a former NBA Presidential Aspirant and Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Justice Eberechi Wike, Femi Falana SAN and Funmi Falana who is a prominent human/women rights activist.
Without wasting much time, the two individuals that I will be discussing are married to each other and to the best of my knowledge, they are the first couple in the legal profession who happen to be Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
Well, over the years we have seen couples who are both lawyers but to see a couple who have been lucky enough to be conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria is a rare feat.
The blessed couple that I am talking about is Asiwaju Solomon Adegboyeya Awomolo SAN and Mrs Victoria Awomolo SAN. Let us take a look at their biography.
ASIWAJU ADEGBOYEYA SOLOMON AWOMOLO SAN.
Asiwaju A. S. Awomolo SAN is a legal practitioner who has over thirty-eight (38) years of practice experience in different areas of law spanning across all the states in Nigeria. He was a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Osun State and was so appointed in 1991 upon the creation of the State. A Life Bencher and a man of impeccable character, he was appointed a member of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), a position in which he served meritoriously.
Asiwaju Awomolo, SAN has led in several cases of both national and international repute; such as the constitutional matters of national repute all the way to the supreme court, presidential and gubernatorial election petitions, civil and criminal cases, both as Federal Government Appointed prosecutor and also as a defence Lawyer.
He became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria at the age of 45 years, having been conferred with the honour in July 1992. Asiwaju Awomolo SAN was a fearless man who cannot be intimidated by threats or any form of intimidation while carrying out his duty as a legal practitioner. While conducting an interview he mentioned an incident that happened to him in the 1980s.
He said: “Just like any other profession, I have had my own fair share of some intriguing moments. The bizarre moment I have ever faced in my life was when I was doing the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti’s case in the 1980s. Oba Aladesanmi died and another king, Oba Adelabu was installed, and it went into litigation. There was a challenge by one of the princes of Aladesanmi who said that by tradition, he was supposed to be the Ewi, not Adelabu. And because I was scared of sleeping in Ado-Ekiti, I would leave Ilorin around 6 am to go and defend the case in Ado-Ekiti. And each time I was going to Ado, the opposition would arrange women who would wear a white dress and put a pot of water on their head, carrying all sorts of fetish things. They would be dancing and chanting incantations. After about two occasions, I wasn’t scared again, because I am a Christian. Those were the challenges, but we won because the judges were bold and courageous and treated the case as it was.”
Asiwaju Solomon Adegboyeya Awomolo SAN is one of the most respected legal luminaries and members of the legal profession. My prayer is may God continue to be with him.
Now moving on to the Legal Amazon, Chief (Mrs). Victoria Olufunmilayo Awomolo SAN.
CHIEF (MRS). VICTORIA OLUFUNMILAYO AWOMOLOSAN, FCIARB, B.SC. LL.B, B.L, ACIARB (UK).
Victoria Olufunmilayo Awomolo SAN started her career as a primary school teacher in 1974 and later, court clerk at Kwara state Judiciary in 1976. From there, she got admission to the Kwara State College of Technology for her ‘A’ Levels. During her NYSC programme in 1981, she taught Chemistry at Army Day Secondary School Bida, Niger state and later joined the Ministry of Education, Kwara state in 1982 and was posted to Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin, Kwara State where she taught chemistry for ten years. Her passion for self-improvement led her to quit teaching to study law at the prestigious University of Ibadan.
Mrs Awomolo SAN was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1998. SHE IS A SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA and is one of the few Females in the legal profession to attain such a feat. She has almost 20 years of experience in the field of commercial litigation and Arbitration. She is a member of many professional organizations, such as the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), International Bar Association (IBA). She uses the FIDA platform to showcase her passion for the protection of the rights of women and children.
She is presently leading a team on a Multi-billion Naira Admiralty matter involving the Federal Government of Nigeria. A trial lawyer with remarkable brief writing and advocacy skills, she regularly advises on various aspects of litigation resolution and provides practical and cost-effective solutions to the firm’s high net worth individual clients, which cut many sectors of the Economy. A trusted adviser to a wide range of clients on commercially sensitive matters, Victoria Awomolo SAN, has carved a niche as a trusted Legal Advisor of repute in Nigeria.
She has also been involved in the many constitutional and election matters cases in superior courts in Nigeria. She is also part of the team of lawyers, who has advised the Federal Government in matters relating to the oil and gas industry, fuel subsidy and revenue. She was also on the team that has represented the Government in matters related to admiralty, shipping and is presently on the team negotiating a 7billion Naira out of court settlement matter.
I must confess her story is a source of inspiration to anyone who wishes to study law as a second degree or anyone who did science subjects in school but has a passion for studying law. It is never too late to make that move.
To the law students and lawyers out there, the historical and unprecedented feats of this amazing couple are worthy of emulation, let us be excellent in our endeavours.
I want to use this medium to appreciate my readers who took time to reach out to me during on 17th of this month. May God bless us all.
That will be all for this monthly edition, thanks for taking the time to read this piece!
God bless the Legal Profession!
God bless Nigeria!
Toheeb Mustapha Babalola is a pupil of Law, a blogger, and a student of Faculty of Law, Bayero University, Kano. He is the Founder of Lex Updates Publications. He is interested in advocacy, academic writing, legal writing/history, activism and positivism. To reach him, email:firstname.lastname@example.org or contact/whatsapp:08106244073