FOR DEAR SCHOOL, LEARNED FRIENDS ESCAPE TO ILOKO
Amidst nostalgia and festivity, a group of prominent lawyers went on a two-day retreat to Iloko Ijesa, Osun State to rekindle their love for their alma mater, reports AKEEM LASISI
When one wants to temporarily escape the pressure that the hustle and bustle of a city like Lagos, the rustic town of Iloko Ijesa could be one of the places to explore. The town is still able to keep its pastoral innocence where some have lost theirs. It is therefore not surprising that a group of lawyers from different parts of the country recently put aside their wigs and headed for the town. The learned fellows, operating under the banner of The Unilag '83, were on a re-union mission to fly the flag of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lagos, Akoka, which, they believe, had brought out the best in them.
Like the proverbial white teeth that the owner is fond of flaunting, the lawyers were eager to parade members of the set doing brightly in different fields. For instance, the 1980/1983 class has produced three professors, seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), a Senator, a member of the House of Representatives, four serving attorneys general, 20 serving judges, three permanent secretaries and solicitors general, a serving general in the Nigerian Army, directors in several banks, federal establishments and international organisations, – just as it is interesting to note that some of them are now pastors, traditional rulers and an INEC official.
According to the immediate past President of the union, Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN), the idea of getting all members of the class in the Law Faculty of UNILAG came up when he and Chief Godwin Obla met at the International Bar Association Conference in Singapore in late 2007. The motive was to discuss how to help themselves, the alma mater and members of the class. Now the idea has taken shape.
Igbokwe said in Iloko, 'I feel so happy to re-unite with my classmates. The greatest joy I have in my heart is that this is the fourth one. We had the first one in Abuja, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom and now Osun. And every year, we are getting better. Since then, we have been able to host it on yearly basis.'
Igbokwe donated 10 copies of his book titled Nigerian Maritime Cabotage Law and Policy: The Case and Advocacy valued at N300,000 while the president of the association, Hon. Justice Dotun Onibokun, donated copies of three of her books valued at N250,000 to the faculty. Besides, Senator Bob Effiong and Obla had recently donated the sum of N10m to the faculty, which was used to purchase a bus.
While the presence of professors and ex-lecturers who had made an indelible mark in the life of old students added colour to the re-union, the climax of the event was the arrival of the Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, who, interestingly, was the admission officer that admitted them into the university in 1980. She described the set in brilliant terms
She, however, implored them to do more for the faculty by upgrading its library. This, she believes, will make it complete favourably with its counterparts globally.
Also saluting the executive ex-students, Justice Dotun Onibokun, the new president, who was the class leader between 198/082, commended her classmates for the spirit of togetherness.
She said, 'Unilag Law '83 is grounded in law, which has paved the way for our success. Our dedication, commitment and determinations have placed our feet on the pedestal of success. We are what we are today because we were exposed to quality education'.
She added that the aim of the reunion was to assist their alma mater, especially the Law Faculty, which, he noted, gave them the best.
Speaking on the initiative, Senator Bob Effiong, who was the newly elected Chairman, Board of Trustees of the association, thanked his colleagues for the confidence they have in him. 'It is a sign of greater responsibility to serve. When you are called upon to serve you have to do your best. I am very happy to be here again.
Obla, a private legal practitioner, also noted, 'It is always a refreshing feeling. It is worth the sacrifice. It has imparted on our lives positively having been together for the past 31 years.'