Newly inaugurated President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, has shared the story of his academic journey and the twist of fate that saw him ending up in the legal profession even though he was on a markedly different path initially.
Maikyau shared the story In his inaugural address as President of the NBA.
“I studied Physics, Chemistry and Biology in my A-level classes at the School of Basic Studies, Zaria. Never in my wildest thoughts or imaginations did I contemplate studying Law,” Maikyau said on Friday.
Based on his education foundation and qualification, he gained admission to study Veterinary Medicine at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
After registering for the course, he would receive news that changed the trajectory of his life.
“About three weeks into my resumption in Veterinary Medicine, I was informed by my friend, Hassan Danjuma, that he saw my name on the admissions list for the Faculty of Law,” he said.
“He literally dragged me to the old Senate Building and pointed out my name on the list. I saw it and was completely taken aback and unsuccessfully tried so hard to convince Hassan that this was in fact news to me.”
That news was in fact true. Not only was his name on the master list but also in the list at the Faculty of Law.
Faced with the dilemma of having two options to pick from, he sought advice.
“I travelled to Sokoto to consult with my big brother figure, Mr. J. S. Magaji of blessed memory, who said to me, “if you can cope, Law is a more lucrative course than Veterinary Medicine,” he said.
He left Magaji with a clear course of action.
“Upon return to Zaria, I withdrew from Veterinary Medicine and re-registered as a law student with the encouragement of the then Dean of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Professor Daniel Saror, who also promised to defer my admission to the following year, so that if I could not cope with Law, I could return to continue with Veterinary Medicine.”
He did not need to fall back on plan B and was full of praise to God, his parents and sister, who he says sacrificed everything for him and the men who played a role in shaping his education and future.
Maikyau said, “I owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Daniel Saror, late Mr. J. S. Magaji and late Senator Danladi Bamayi, my first employer and principal in chambers, with whom I worked for almost 13 years. Senator Bamayi’s sense of duty, discipline, honesty, respect for values, ethics, and standards helped in no small measure in moulding me into who I am, as a legal practitioner, a husband and a father.
“I know Professor Daniel Saror (who would have been here in person – he will be 81 in October), the late Mr. J. S. Magaji and the late Senator Danladi Bamayi, are proud of their advice and mentorship and are equally grateful to God to have had a hand in what turned out to be the nurturing of the seed of greatness God deposited in me.
“That we are here today, is more than enough proof that I never went back to study Veterinary Medicine. That I can rise to the peak of the profession of law, into which I was admitted by sheer providence (for I did not apply to study Law; I still do not know how my name appeared on that list), attain the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and now the 31st President of the NBA, are all the work of the Almighty.
“Is there any impossibility with God? Certainly NONE! I give God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, Omnipresent, Omniscience, Omnipotent, the ONLY WISE ONE, the ONE in whom the essence of His existence is in Himself, all the glory, honour and praise.”