The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate one of its foremost elders and veteran Bar activist, Pa Tunji Gomez who turns 90 years on March 18, 2018.
Popularly known by his sobriquet, “It’s a matter of conscience,” the decision to honour Pa Gomez was initiated by the Chukwuka Ikwuazom-led Executive Committee and sealed at the last monthly meeting of the branch via a unanimous resolution of the members.
According to a statement signed by Mr. Chukwuma Ezeala and Mr. Alfred Akinjo, chairman and secretary respectively of the “Pa Tunji Gomez at 90 Planning Committee,” the birthday celebrations will kick off on Friday, March 16, 2018 with a novelty match at 3 pm at King’s College Pitch, TBS, Lagos. Pa Gomez is an alumna of King’s College.
This will be followed by a Thanksgiving Church Service on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 9 am at the highbrow Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos.
The climax of the celebration is a birthday lecture/dinner to be held the same day in Lagos. The dinner is slated to be attended by the creme de la creme of Nigeria’s bar and bench among others.
Pa Gomez was admitted to the English Bar in 1961, about 57 years ago. The activist-lawyer, who is reputed for his courage and candour, still attends the meetings of his beloved “Premier Branch” regularly even at the ripe old age of 90.
He was the arrowhead and convener of the popular Movement for the Abolition of the Rank of SAN (MARSAN), contending that the process for the award of the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria was riddled with irregularities and that the rank had outlived its usefulness.
Pa Gomez was born in 1928 and enrolled into King’s College, Lagos in 1944. His activism manifested early in his eventful life, as he is reputed to have led the 1948 strike at the College which significantly turned around the fortunes of the students.
This early brush with constituted authority also sowed the seed of his career choice, following the pro bono legal services offered the striking students by one Alex Taylor Esquire.
Though a junior lawyer then, Pa Gomez was part of the legal team that defended late Chief Obafemi Awolowo during his celebrated treason trial in 1962.
He is also reputed as the first lawyer to sue the Military Government in Nigeria in the celebrated case of Madam Shapara vs. Lagos State Government.
An avid yoga practitioner, Pa Gomez is a longstanding advocate for the welfare especially of young lawyers.