Olanipekun Urges Colleagues to Mentor Young Lawyers

Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN

Former Nigerian Bar Association president Chief  Wole  Olanipekun has said it is the responsibility of senior lawyers to mentor their junior counterparts for them to become successful.

He spoke at a reception by his law firm for lawyers from Ekiti and Ondo states, who attended the just-concluded conference of the NBA in Lagos.

“I remember when we were following the Aka Basoruns, Gani Fawehinmis, Kanmi Osobus as their “boys”  to be guided right in the law profession. We saw them as role models and worked assiduously to make a mark the way they did.

“Today, not  by our power but by His grace, we are where we are. I’m convinced and persuaded that it is the duty and responsibility of any senior lawyer to lift up the junior ones, consciously, unconsciously and deliberately”, he stated.

Olanipekun said senior lawyers would feel fulfilled “when you find yourself mentoring and teaching younger ones in your profession how to tie the rope”.

He lamented that junior lawyers were facing challenges, particularly  in the area of remuneration and opportunities as there are chambers that pay N25,000, N30,000 to lawyers as monthly salary.

“If you are there and you are comfortable alone, you are in trouble. Of course, we have some of us who can beat their chests and say they are comfortable, but even at that, it is nothing but a mirage. If you are comfortable where millions are wallowing in poverty, you are in trouble.

“In fact, that is the problem we have in Nigeria that we see in government; many people believe they are comfortable while millions of Nigerians are suffering. They are comfortable in the midst of millions who are hungry, who are thirsty without any idea of how to assuage ther thirst. Some are comfortable in the midst of people who cannot pay the school fees of those children. I don’t think that should be the definition of being comfortable. You see these set of people wandering and you think they are living but truth is that their minds are far away from their tabernacles,” he said.

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Olanipekun, who went biblical with the story of the cripple at the Beautiful Gate healed by Peter, urged his colleagues to devote more time to the junior ones by counseling them.

He said the theme of the conference as  important to Nigeria. “We should begin to build institutions, not personalities.  Let us take a cue from a country like America; she has strong institution and that has continued to strengthen the nation. It was because America has institution that is why, for eight years, Barrack Obama, an African American, could be the president of the country, despite being of Kenya descent, and things worked out very well.

“Donald Trump is the president of America today and whatever may be his nuances, the strong America institutions will humble him and checkmate his excesses”.

He said the worst that can happen to a nation is to exist without institution “because lack of institution will dovetail to lack of ethos and tradition.  In Nigeria, we don’t have institutions, we don’t have tradition and we don’t have ethos whether in the police, in the EFCC and other areas.

“Perhaps, the only enduring one that has lasted and enduring is the Judiciary and this alone cannot address the challenges we are currently facing either in governance or other areas of human endeavours”, he noted.

He advised Nigerians not to expect the president to solve the entire problem of the country all alone adding, “we need to put our best together, work as a team to develop our nation and solve her problems.

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“Today, there are lots of demand, a lot of agitations and a lot of expectations. We can only pray and support the government to fit in perfectly and respond promptly to the yearnings of the people,” he said.

Ms. Oludayo Olorunfemi, vice chairman, NBA Ikere Ekiti Branch, in a vote of thanks, commended Chief Olanipekun for being a good leader who wants the best for all. She described the philanthropic gesture of the former NBA President as next to none, calling on those coming behind to emulate him.

A former chairman of Ado Ekiti chapter of the NBA,  Dr. Foluke Dada, described Olanipekun as an inspiration to young lawyers and prayed God to continue to assist him to lift up more young lawyers.

She also described the theme of the NBA conference as relevant and brought to the fore the fact that the country needs to advance more in the area of business.

Speaking on behalf of Olanipekun Chambers Alumni, Mr Kabir Akingbolu, said professionalism and ethics will be stronger in the nation’s law practice if all senior lawyers can emulate Chief Olanipekun by paying attention to the younger ones.

Others at the reception are Attorney- General and Commissioner of Justice, Ekiti State, Mr. Kola Kolade, the Solicitor- General, Mr. Lawrence B. Ojo,  two former NBA National Secretary-General, Messrs Obafemi Adewale (SAN) and Dele Adesina (SAN), Mr Goke Fakunle (SAN), former Ondo State Attorney-General, Mr Aderemi Olatubora, the Chairman, NBA, Ado Ekiti, Gbemiga Daramola,  Vice Chairman NBA Ikere Ekiti, Oludayo Olorunfumi, former chairman of Ondo chapter of the NBA, Mr Kunle Adetowubo, chairman NBA, Ikole Ekiti, Mr. Bayo Idowu and a former  chairman NBA Ikere Ekiti, Chief Bunmi Olugbade.

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They also include former Special Adviser on Legal in the administration of Dr. Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State, Ibrahim Olanrewaju, Assistant Legal Adviser to APC in Ekiti State, Mr Tajudeen Akingbolu, the President of the state chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA),  Adefunke Aloma

Source: The Nation

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