My SAN Award Is For The Service Of The Weak And Defenseless


Festus Keyamo

Festus Keyamo

By Festus Keyamo

It has been a long and tortuous road, full of thorns and thistles, but to the glory of Almighty God, I become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria today. In other words, I have reached the pinnacle of my career as a lawyer and as an advocate. But, really, this is the beginning and not the end.

For too long the Inner Bar has been perceived as too elitist and deployed only in the service and defence of the rich and powerful or the upper echelon in society. That narrative has to change. There cannot be greater injustice than giving arms to the already powerful to fight the weak and defenseless. For me, the only honour I can do to the silk robes I adorn is to help the weak, defenseless and just, against the oppressive might of the powerful and unjust. And on the flip side, it is also to ensure that the weak do not use the weakness as an excuse to unjustly blackmail the powerful and manipulate society.

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For me, my admission into the Inner Bar is an encouragement to continue to speak truth to power; to continue to hold Government accountable to the people; to continue to confront the high and mighty in defence of truth and justice; to make my modest contributions to the reforms in the judiciary and to continue in the pro-people path I charted for myself since my call to Bar.

I would not thank all those who wished me well in this journey. Why? Because, we succeeded together; it is our collective elevation. It is those who did not wish me well that I wish to thank specially. Why? Because, they were the ones who pushed me to my limits in order to succeed.

Finally, I want to thank Almighty God who perfects that which concerns us; I thank my aged parents who gave everything to give me the foundation upon which I built; I thank all the distinguished members of the Privileges Committee headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, an incorruptible jurist who the judiciary is extremely lucky to have at this time that reforms are urgently needed.