Professor Ben Nwabueze or Professor of Professors as he’s fondly called by his numerous admirers is Nigeria’s first academic Senior Advocate of Nigeria. A Teacher, Administrator, Businessman and former Minister of Education and Youth Development, Professor Ben Nwabueze was born on December 22nd, 1932 in Atani, Ogbaru Local government Area of Anambra State.
His academic pursuit started at the CMS Central School Atani, from 1938 – 1945; C.M.S Central School, Onitsha (formerly, African College), 1947 – 1950. He later went to London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, 1956 – 1961 and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1961 – 1962. From 1962 – 1965, he was Senior Lecturer at Holborn College of Law, London, and Senior Lecturer, University of Nigeria Nsukka, between 1967 – 1970. In 1971, he was Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Zambia and Director, Law practice Institute, Zambia, 1973 – 1975.
Although, well supported by both father and uncle initially, the greater part of his Academic pursuits abroad were made possible by scholarship awarded to him for his academic excellence.
Prof. Nwabueze earned his Doctor of Laws (LL.D) at the University of London in 1978, based on his three outstanding books – Constitutionalism, Presidentialism, and Judicialism, thus entering the record books as the second (since the death of Dr. T.O. Elias), the only Nigerian and African holder of a higher doctorate degree in Law by published works. He is also the first academic lawyer to be made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1978 strictly on the basis of his published works.
A seasoned Academician, he was member of Senate of the Universities of Lagos, Dar-es-salaam, Nairobi, Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland between 1971 – 1978.
He was appointed the University Assessor for Academic Appointments, Universities of Ghana, Lagos, Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and Jos between 1978 – 1979.
A firm believer in publishing, Prof. Ben Nwabueze is the proud author of over thirty books and treatises with an average extent of 400 pages. They include; The Machinery of Justice in Nigeria; Constitutional Law of the Nigerian Republic; Nigerian Land Law and Constitutionalism in the Emergent States. Others are Presidentialism in Commonwealth Africa, Judicialism in Commonwealth Africa; The Presidential Constitution of Nigeria; A Constitutional History of Nigeria; Federalism in Nigeria under the Presidential Constitution; and Nigeria’s Second Experiment in constitutional Democracy in Africa in Five Volumes.
He has written over 200 articles in academic journals and more than 100 keynotes at local and international Conferences.
He is a household name in the Legal Profession and hardly, any other author is as frequently quoted in court judgements as Ben Nwabueze. Although, well known for his teaching, research and writing; Nwabueze continued to participate in University administration.
This erudite Professor was appointed to Professorial Chairs in the following Universities; Zambia, 1970 – 75; Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria, 1974; University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975 – 76; Anambra State University of Technology; Nnamdi Azikiwe university, Awka 1989 – 1983 (visiting).
Prof. Ben Nwabueze is also a strong advocate for the Igbo cause. He, alongside other prominent Igbo sons like Akanu Ibiam, M.I. Okpara, K.O. Mbadiwe, Chief Ugochukwu, P.N. Okigbo and Udoji, co-founded Ohaneze Ndigbo in 1976. He served as Secretary – General, between 1978 to 2004, in which capacity he transformed the body into a formidable, highly regarded non-partisan Pan Igbo pressure group.
The recipient of several Chieftaincy titles, and The Nigerian Order of Merit (NNOM).
Prof. Ben Nwabueze is truly an academic giant in every sense of the term. Probably, more than any other Nigerian has, through his numerous books and articles contributed towards the application of constitutional law and the broader process of governance in Nigeria.
Indeed, the Nigerian Constitutional Evolution and the evolution of the entire legal system of Nigeria would not be complete without the invaluable contribution of this noble Patriot. It is therefore in recognition of his immense contribution to the advancement of the Nigerian Legal System, particularly in the areas of Academics and publication.
In recognition of his immense contribution to the advancement of the Nigerian Legal System, particularly in the areas of Academics and Publication, Hallmarks of Labour Foundation called on Prof. Ben Nwabueze, a Great Nigerian to join the league of other worthy Patriots of Hallmarks of Labour Role Model (HLR).
Prof. Nwabueze SAN would celebrate his 90th Birthday on Monday, March 22, 2021.
(Edited by DNL, 22 March, 2021)
Hallmark of Labour Foundation.