Legal Luminary Profile: High Chief (Dr.) Mike A.A Ozekhome, SAN

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Mike Ozekhome SAN

High Chief (Dr) Mike Agbedor Abu Ozekhome, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the Akpakpa Vighi Vighi of Edo land, Constitutional Lawyer, Human Rights Activist, pro-democracy campaigner, Author, Social Justice Crusader, Notary Public of Nigeria, Knight of the Order of St. Mulumba (KSM), Motivational Speaker and Public Affairs Analyst, hails from Iviukwe town in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo state, Nigeria. His late parents, Chief Abu Ozekhome and Madam Alimoh Abu Ozekhome were revered Chiefs and notable Community leaders.

Chief Ozekhome, SAN, attended St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Iviukwe, between 1964-1969, after which he attended St. Peter’s College, Agenebode, from 1970-1974. He concluded his secondary education in flying colors and obtained his WASC with top grades as the best graduating student of the college in 1974. In 1975, obtained his Higher School Certificate (HSC) at Baptist Academy, Lagos before he gained admission to the University.

He gained admission into the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, to study English language but successfully changed his course of study  from English Language to Law in the same University, losing, voluntarily, one academic year in the process to actualize his passion and dream of becoming a Legal Practitioner. Throughout his University days, he was a leading student activist, the best debater and one time acting Speaker of the student’s parliament, the Student Representative Council (SRC). He graduated in flying colours with Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree in 1980. He became a Barrister at Law in 1981 after graduating from the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos.

High Chief Ozekhome SAN had his pupilage and vacation attachment with the late Chief Kanmi Isola Osobu and started his professional legal practice in Yola, the capital city of the then Gongola State, (now Adamawa and Taraba States) where he was posted to as a Corp member.  He got redeployed to the Federal Ministry of Justice, Lagos, as he felt his services and bubbling energy were grossly underutilized in Yola. He was subsequently seconded to the then National Provident Fund (now Nigerian Social Insurance and Trust Fund (NSITF), where he served as state counsel.

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While working as state counsel, he joined the legendary Chief Gani Fawehinmi on a part time basis to unleash part of his bubbling professional energy and zeal. This was later to sharpen his advocacy skills and build a stronger platform for his fiery human rights activism and dogged defence of people’s rights.

In 1982, Chief Mike Ozekhome was back to his alma mater at Ife, to pursue his masters’ degree programme. He lectured simultaneously as he pursued his masters’ Degree programme. He bagged his LL.M in 1983 and immediately went back to his first love, advocacy in the busy Chambers of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, to work first as a junior counsel, later as a senior counsel and finally as the Deputy Head of Chambers by 1985.

Fondly called “Ozek Baba” and “Mobile Dictionary” by Late Chief Gani Fawehninmi for his advocacy skills, sheer brilliance, lucidity and clarity of thought, scholastic disposition and rich vocabulary in the English language, Ozekhome soon stamped his authority on human rights and anti-military cases, handling detention cases in faraway places as Jos, Kaduna, Yola, Umuahia, Enugu, Abuja, Ibadan, Makurdi, Maiduguri, Calabar, Port-Harcourt, Owerri, Uyo, Akure, Aba, Warri, Kaduna, Benin City and Kano.

As a renowned Constitutional lawyer, High Chief Mike Ozekhome, has handled and participated in many epochal and sensational cases that have shaped Nigerian Legal jurisprudence and enthroned Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law. A few of them include the Oil Subsidy case, Umanah Umanah (“Port-Harcourt money-man”) case, the CLO 500 detainees case, the on shore/ off shore suit, 36 Houses of Assembly against Senate suit, the General Zamani Lekwot death sentence case, the Gani Fawehinmi “Gwagwalada five” case, the Nzeribe vs Senate case, the ICPC vs senate case, the Mike Ozekhome vs. President Ibrahim Babangida case, the Anyim vs Akanbi case, the Uduehi vs. N’Abba case, the Alamieyeseigha series of cases in Yenegoa, Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, etc, the Dr. Daboh vs National Assembly case, FRN vs Fani Kayode case, the numerous cases of FRN vs Chief Kenny Martins, Senator Bob vs. Chief Imeh Albert Akpan, George Odom vs. Senator Barigha – Amage case, F.R.N vs. El Rufir & 2 Ors, Daar Communications Ltd vs. NBC, etc. the Fidelity Bank vs. Communication cases, the Salami vs NJC case etc. He has handled numerous cases on election petitions and those bordering on sensitive constitutional law issues.

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In 1986, Chief Mike Ozekhome, founded the law office of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers with offices in Lagos, Abuja, Benin City and Agenebode. He coordinates the activities of the various law offices.

A consummate Author who has written four Law books and over 200 articles, Dr Mike A. A. Ozekhome, is a realist with stoic determination. His guiding principles are: be bold, courageous and fearless in the defence of peoples rights. He is highly detribalized. He believes in the infallibility of God, the dignity of man and full respect of his God-given liberties and freedoms. He believes in one Nation only to the extent that such entity is characterized by a sense of social justice, peace, equity, equalitarianism and mutual respect by the various Nationalities for one another. The Nigerian people attest to his illustrious credentials, avalanche of achievements and strong legal pedigree.

Chief  Ozekhome is extra ordinarily gifted and is a leading light in Human Rights Activism, social justice crusade, public affairs analysis and oratorical prowess. He is popularly called the “peoples lawyer” “Senior Advocate of the Masses” and “Voice of the People”. He is a leader, role model and mentor through whom many people have risen and realized their God-given potentials. As a philanthropist extra ordinaire, he has uplifted numerous individuals and organizations. He awards numerous scholarships to indigent students at both secondary and tertiary levels of all schools in Nigeria, particularly in Edo State.

Dr Mike Ozekhome has attracted to himself over 40 traditional and honorary Chieftaincy titles received from across Nigeria, the most famous of which is AKPAKPA VIGHI VIGHI OF EDO LAND (Generalissimo and Supreme Commander of the Traditional Armed Forces). This title was jointly bestowed upon him at Ekpoma, Edo State by all the 72 traditional Rulers of Edo land.

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Today, Sir Mike Agbedor Abu Ozekhome, SAN, is a member of over twenty professional bodies, clubs and associations. He has received over 150 Awards and Honours both locally and across the globe. Outside legal practice, he has held  over forty positions and appointments.

Honoured with the Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a member of the Inner Bar, the prestigious and glamorous Silk which hallmarks of excellence in the Legal profession.
He is an exceptionally compassionate personality and a God-fearing Catholic.

He is happily married with seven Children to High Chief (Lady) Josephine Mike Ozekhome, a Barrister at Law and the Managing Partner of Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers, Lagos, Abuja, Benin City and Agenebode.

High Chief (Dr) Mike Ozekhome, SAN enjoys reading and writing, traveling and sightseeing, sports and music, philanthropy and empowerment activities, hot argument/debates, tending pets and plants. He is a teetotaler. He fears and glorifies God, putting Him first in all his undertakings.

View Fuller CV here

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