Passed over and ignored for several years, radical lawyer Femi Falana will this year finally wear the wig of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The former president of the African Bar Association is one of 24 lawyers who will be inducted into the silk club of the Nigerian Bar otherwise called the Senior Advocates of Nigeria.  

Also on the list are Rotimi Jacobs, a prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Dayo Akinlaja, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ekiti State; and law teacher, Professor Akinseye-George.

The others to be invested with the award are:
•    Professor Dakas James Dakar
•    Mrs Joy Okungbowa Adesina
•    Chief Mrs Connie-Jean Aremu
•    Mahmud Abubakar Magaji
•    Ogwu James Onoja
•    Garuba Usman Tetengi
•    Henry Oghogho Ogbodu
•    Selekeowei Larry
•    Abenny Mohammed
•    Charles Nwanne Obishai
•    Luke Chukwudi Illogu
•    Francis Chuks Agbu
•    Paul Ananaba
•    Ahmed Raji
•    Adekunle Theophilus Oyesanya
•    Rotimi Oluseyi Oguneso
•    Oluseyi Samuel Opasany
•    Aduroja Claudies Olumuyiwa
•    Aliyu Umar Illo Katune Samuel, and
•    Ndukwe Nnnawuchi.
It has been a long wait for Mr. Falana who was consistently spurned by the administrators of the award on account of what many believe to be his radical political views. The late Gani Fawehinmi was another radical lawyer that was similarly treated by the administrators of the SAN process for many years.

Mr. Falana cut his teeth at the law offices of the former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, the late Alao Aka Bashorun, and worked for over a decade as lawyer to the great Afro beat musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He also represented Fela’s brother, Beko Ransome-Kuti, in many human rights cases.

During the years of military dictatorship, Falana suffered intense deprivation in many detention centres across the country. It was a trajectory which began during his days as a student activist at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, where he was once the Public Relations Officer of the Students’ Union. He was also an official of the radical Alliance of Progressive Students on campus and of the Patriotic Youth Movement of Nigeria, which led the campaign to reorganize the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, to a progressive youth front campaigning for the democratization of education on campuses.

Many lawyers and judges believe the award of the SAN to Mr. Falana is arriving curiously late for a man who has helped the development of the law as an advocate, solicitor, rights campaigner, and publisher of law reports and legal books.

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