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On A Respected Learned New Wig’s Undignifying Bravado After Call To The Nigerian Bar On 06 March 2024


By Sylvester Udemezue

A video currently making the rounds shows respected learned friend Deji Adeyanju in the company of Human Rights Activist Omoyele Sowore (Deji Adeyanju, Esq, is said to have been admitted into the Nigerian Bar on 06 March 2024) engaged in an open altercation and shouting match with people said to be EFCC operatives in front of the gate of “an EFCC office, in Abuja”. As the viral video shows, Learned friend Adeyanju was partly robed during the incident, indicating that he may have just departed the venue of the Call to the Bar, and perhaps walking across the EFCC office to his car, alongside Omoyele Sowore, when the altercation (albeit needless) ensued.

The question this raises in the minds of existing and many a discerning new member of the Bar is: Is he a roadside lawyer, like roadside mechanic or charge and bail? I’m sure he’s not, which is why he should not act if he’s. Apart from that engaging in such an open confrontation with law enforcement agents is unnecessary and avoidable, the display itself by a supposed noble man of the Bar, may be adjudged undignifying, unprofessional, more so while he had the lawyer’s robe on.

Well, it’s my humble opinion that such was an unnecessary, unprofessional gra-gra; an undignifying grandstanding perhaps calculated to announce (a wholly petty display) that I have arrived as a New Wig; I’m now a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Well, congratulations to learned friend Deji Adeyanju; it’s not easy. He is however respectfully advised to avoid such open public, and especially pointless, confrontations and shouting matches with lay men or even colleagues. He must know that he’s now a noble member of an honorable profession, and that quite often, the public judges the legal profession by the standard of its erring members, hence the need to continue to highlight the various duties and responsibilities of the lawyer and the need for members of the Bar to be fully alive to these duties and responsibilities in order to check the falling ethical standard in the profession, be examples to the society in which they find themselves and ultimately promote the honour and nobility of the profession. Discipline at the bar is very essential. Society views lawyers as custodians of a high moral value and distinguished members of the society, whose personal conduct and activities (in private and public) should serve as a light to the rest of the society.

Learned friend Adeyanju ought to recall what he was taught at the Nigerian Law School, that it was in a bid to maintain this ethical and professional standard and in an effort to meet the high expectation of the society on the lawyer, that the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (Legal Ethical Code) has been put in place to guide and regulate legal practice and the conduct of legal Practitioners in Nigeria. This Professional Legal Ethical Code imposes upon lawyers duties which cut beyond mere legal regulation, into the fundamentals of our moral lives as lawyers. These duties are meant to uphold the honour and nobility of the legal profession and to guard the integrity of law as a science. As Lord Denning once said, “The code which requires a barrister to do all this is not a code of law. It is a code of honour. If he breaks it, he is offending against the rules of the profession and is subject to its discipline”.

Mr Deji Adeyanju should beware, lest he falls foul of this Code. Perhaps his conduct today, which appears to be unbecoming of a noble man of the Bar (see Rule 1, RPC, 2023) might easily be overlooked as part of the usually petty, childish displays and euphoria that accompany the date of call to the Bar in Nigeria. But by next time (unless he’s careful henceforth to avoid a re-occurence), he might not be viewed as a first offender. It’s also crucial to recall the need for lawyers to eschew pendanticalness, vainglory and ostentatiousness and embrace hard-work, humility, professionalism, and integrity, which are the hallmark of a great lawyer.

Finally, and I need to add this, that such a public shouting bravado, just as NBA-SPIDEL’s pointless penchant for writing threat letters to everyone, and filing needless lawsuits, hardly achieve much in reality. On the contrary, diplomacy and tact are at the foundation of effective and enduring rights activism and advocacy.
Once again, congratulations.
Sylvester Udemezue (udems)
Reality Ministry of Justice (RMJ)

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