I remember as a kid waking up to my Mum in suit ready for class, the attire was honourable, her speech exudes confidence and her insight on things were remarkably different, a fact which was a combination of both her character and her professional disposition. I also distinctively remember the late night readings, the endless coffee cups, the bucket filled with water in which she immerse her feet and the pile of books on her beside cabinet and I told her I will one day inherit them. But it was not just these, it was the horror I encountered as a kid, the the injustice going on around me; the killing of my school teacher, the burning alive of our water vendor, the shooting of my mum outside the gate of my school right in front of my eyes by robbers who trailed her from the bank, the weeks of nightmare and sleepless night, the mascre of the September 11, 2000 crises in Jos, Plateau state where I grew up, the widows and orphaned victim of the crisis. All these tragedies and horror which hunted me were sufficient to brew an inextinguishable fire which fuel my passion for this honourable profession.
Growing up I came to realize that lawyers are the movers and shakers of our society, or in the words of Rennard Strickland and Frank T. Read in ‘the lawyer myth’: “Lawyers are the foot soldiers of our constitution”. An army of people who rely on facts and logical reasoning rather than hypothesis to read in between the lines to separate whimsical and cynical ideas from the law, the counselors of the country, protectors of liberty, war heroes of the powerless and advocates of justice. Taking my past experience into consideration, I knew this is exactly what I needed to do to restore equilibrium both within myself and to the society at large to be capable of lending a helping hand where needed, to stand and fight for the cause of justice, this I believe will help me find the peace I need.
Looking through the achievements of great lawyers whose names move the crowd not because they were born with the proverbial silver spoon but because they have set an example and impacted on a large extent in our society by laying precedent which lead the legal profession to a new era, the likes of Nicki Tobi J.S.C and Olanipekun Wole S.A.N in INAKOJU v. ADELEKE(2007) 4 NWLR (Pt 1025) 423 which reiterated the standard of following due process of law for the impeachment of a president or governor where it was previously neglected, the likes of Per PEMU J.C.A whose judgment in MAJOR HAMZA AL-MUSTAPHA V. THE STATE (2013) AELR 2050 (CA) (Pp. 84-85, paras. F-A) left no loophole in the administration of criminal justice by reaffirming that proof beyond reasonable doubt is paramount in criminal cases, the likes of Folake Solanke SAN the first female senior advocate of Nigeria who despite the socio-cultural barriers especially at a time when the world was believed to be patriarchal paved way through her doggedness for the advancement of women in the legal profession which being a lady lawyer in my opinion is a crown achievement. All these people and more have made a mark in the legal history and in the lives of people through their stand and judgment. This is a quintessence of something I yearn for, to be part of something greater than myself, to leave a foot print in the sands of time. I am studying to become a lawyer so i could touch the hearts of people, make a difference, help people who are desperately in need of my help, to do what I couldn’t as a kid and stop other kids from facing same.
Full Name: Fatima Usman Garba
School: Bayero University, Kano
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