I was inspired by the Story of Mr. Kehinde Olamide Ogunwumiju, SAN, the youngest of the learned members of the Bar that were conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on the 18th day of September, 2017. While trying to read up on his sojourn in the legal profession, I stumbled on another story that increased my heartbeat.
In fairness, I didn’t know how to feel after I read the story. This was no other story than that with the heading “Why The Only Female Lawyer Was Denied The Rank Of SAN” which was published by thenigerialawyer.com on the 20th of September, 2017 as follows:
“Ms Oluwatoyin Ajoke Bashorun’s joy knew no bound on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, when her name appeared among 30 lawyers – all men except her – that were announced by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) as those to be awarded the Senior Advocate Of Nigeria (SAN) rank for the year 2017.
But her joy was cut short on Friday, September 16, 2017, when Mrs Hadizatu Uwani Mustafa, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court who also doubles as the Secretary of LPPC, announced that her named has been dropped from those to be conferred with the rank of SAN on Monday, September 18 , 2017, based on some petitions against her which the body is still investigating .
Encomium.ng not TheNigerialawyer gathered that one of the petitions that affected Ms Oluwatoyin Bashorun’s ambition of being a member the silk this year was the one written by one Dr. Tolani Asuni on behalf of the estate of late Professor Tolani Asuni.
Dr. Tolani Asuni wrote in his petition dated July 10, 2017, inter alia: “Ms Bashorun’s conduct of blatantly abusing court processes for 9 years brings the legal profession into disrepute. A potential SAN ought not to be found wanting in this regard…
“Ms Bashorun’s apparent inability to pay her outstanding rent shows that she is indigent and therefore not a successful legal practitioner, which is one of the criteria your esteemed committee considers in conferring the award or that she has no respect for contractual obligation both of which disqualify her from being a fit and proper person to be honoured with silk”.
He asked the LPPC to rescind its decision to award Bashorun with the rank of SAN until she has vacated their property and paid all outstanding sums due to the Estate of late Professor Asuni.
Another petition which probably stood against Ms Bashorun and her SAN ambition was that of one Mrs. Chinwe Adelekan .
Mrs Adelekan had written her petition against Ms Bashorun in 2013 for what she called professional misconduct. Her petition was referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos branch which in turn agreed with Mrs Chinwe Adelekan that a prima facie case of serious professional misconduct/infamous conduct against Ms Bashorun and therefore referred her case to the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee. This was in 2014 .
The petition resurfaced again this year when it appeared that the Legal Practitioner Disciplinary Committee did not seem to be doing anything about the recommendations of the Lagos NBA Disciplinary Committee”
Yes! It is a case of “How are the mighty falling”, especially for laymen. However, for lawyers and the budding ones, this should pass a message. In fact, I believe this is a warning light to members of all professions and not only to those in the legal line. Whatever your hand findeth to do, do it well!
THE LEGAL DIARY
Joseph Jagunmolu Ogunmodede
Joseph Jagunmolu Ogunmodede is the Founder/CEO of THE LEGAL DIARY.
He is a Double First Class lawyer from the prestigious University of Ibadan and the Nigerian Law School. Joseph is an Attorney at Udo-Udoma and Belo-Osagie with interest in Corporate Law, Energy Law, Real Estate Law and Commercial Litigation.