FAMILY OF LAWYERS
The story of the family of Chief Theodore Anachuna Ezeobi's of Awgbu in Anambra State is one that is worth hearing, due to its unique nature. Chief, as fondly addressed by his kinsmen is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) But that is not the story because there are so many of them in Nigeria, living or dead.
The interesting aspect of his SANship is the fact that he has five children who all decided to be lawyers like their father.
Chinelo, the SAN's daughter was the first to join the dad in the wig and gown business or profession. Later Jane queued up. The first son, Theodore, would have felt odd not to act in line with the family spirit. The ladies before him towed the path of their patriarch, so why not the man who even bears the father's name?
Since, the first three siblings had joined the profession, law had become too rife in the family to become a contagion.
When Ngozi, the fourth child sought admission, maybe out of group spirit, coercion or cajoling or self-decision, she opted for law.
At this point, the last of them all must have felt compelled and maybe by his elders to make a complete family of only lawyers. It must have come to the situation of making this last believe that if he adopts the family tradition, the squad may be on the way to history or a record that would earn the family a world acclaim probably in the Guinness Book. Jude, the very last had no option therefore but to read law and make the family all lawyers but for the mother.
Normally, the five children should have gone their different ways, but the force of law was so strong for them to resist. The Ezeobi family today has the highest percentage of lawyers per capita.
If you see this as unique, the Ezeobi lawyers don't see it less. That is why they rolled out the drums after the last sibling grabbed his wig and gown recently. They held a thanksgiving mass recently at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos where the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Eminence Anthony Olubumi Cardinal Okogie was expected to officiate. Unfortunately, he could not make it due to his busy schedule. But he was represented by the Vicar of the Ikeja Region Monsignor John Aniagwu. The celebration was indeed interesting, as family, friends and relations of the Ezeobis converged on the Church to celebrate with them.
Monsignor Aniagwu, at the thanksgiving congratulated the Ezeobi family on being all lawyers. He said: 'I congratulate you on this wonderful achievement. I have to confess that this is the only family I have seen all the five children becoming lawyers and their father is also a lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. This is one of the best things that has happened in Nigeria, in fact, it is an interesting development. As Christians, they know that what they have achieved is the Lord's doing and that is why they come to thank God. In some families, many parents did their best, yet their children turned out to be disappointments. Ten lepers were cured, but only one came back to thank God and that was a Samaritan who the Jews did not regard', he said.
Aniagwu admonished the guests and Nigerians to always be determined in their pursuits in life, as the Ezeobi family did in the legal profession. He also stressed the need for giving thanks to God. 'What the Ezeobis did is to make a statement to us to always give thanks to God. Therefore, we should learn a lesson from them. I tell you, what they are celebrating today is rare, which means they were determined to do that, else, they would not have achieved this feat.'
It is possible the father of five lawyers proved what a good father should be and showed good examples through his professional calling, else, all his children would not have followed his footsteps.
Chief Ezeobi said his five children chose to become lawyers out of their personal interests in the profession. 'What you are seeing today is a result of being determined in whatever one wants to do in life. People may think that I lured them into legal profession, where I belong, but the truth is that they made their own choices. I think they decided to be lawyers, probably because they watched me closely and saw the need to be lawyers also. All I tried to do is to show them good examples and I think I made them to understand that it pays to be a lawyer. When two of them studied law, others felt challenged and joined', he said.
The first lawyer and the eldest among the five children, Chinelo Miriam Ezeobi felt satisfied being a lawyer. She told Saturday Sun that it was her decision to join her father's legal profession and that no one persuaded her to study law. 'Being a lawyer had been my desire and that is what I derive pleasure. My father only encouraged me, he set a good example of what the law profession is and that is why I picked interest also', she said.
Also Jane Frances Ajagu (Nee Ezeobi) towed the same path with her elder sister Chinelo, and the profession is just pleasurable. 'I would not have enjoyed any other profession. I had always dreamt of being a lawyer and this is one of the best things that had happened to me. As I grew up I watched my father and developed the interest to study law. In fact, my father was my source of inspiration because he set good examples for us.'
Jude Obiora Ezeobi is the last of the five, but he was not the last to be called to the Bar, rather the fourth. He also expressed joy of being in the same profession with his father whom he said, is doing well in the art. 'Having watched my father, I became more interested in law. So, when the time came, I decided to join because I know I can do it well', he said.
Ngozi Bernadette Anidi (Nee Ezeobi) is fourth child, but the latest lawyer in the Ezeobi family. Her call to the Bar made the history and led to the celebration for the Ezeobis. She felt challenged after others had picked the gowns and wigs.
'In fact I felt challenged when my sisters and brothers were all called to the Bar. Then, I had no option than to join them. Moreover, the Ezeobi family had become symbolized with the law profession and I did not want to be left out. So, others waited for me and immediately I qualified, our parents decided to put this thanksgiving together', she said.