What does Christmas Mean to Lawyers?
Its incontrovertible that, the legal profession is one of the most strenuous, stressful and challenging. For most Nigerian Lawyers, it’s all work, work and work, throughout the year. Do we have time to relax? How do Lawyers celebrate festive seasons? This
FPaul Usoro, SAN – President, Nigerian Bar Association or me as a Lawyer, Christmas is a season of goodwill and thanksgiving, and a period for renewal - renewal of our faith in and love for the Almighty, renewal of our family bonds, and the bonds of our friendship and brotherhood, renewal of our hopes and aspirations as we move into the New Year, renewal of our marriage vows and love, particularly for someone like me whose wedding anniversary coincides with the Christmas season, renewals in all ramifications.
My plan was to travel outside Nigeria and have a long postponed holiday and bonding time with my best friend, Mfon, but demands of office and professional engagements have intervened and forced us to postpone the trip. I’ll still have the bonding and renewal time with Mfon, while stealing time to work and plan for 2020. I’ll also refresh my friendships and family ties generally, in this season.
Augustine Alegeh, SAN – former NBA President
Christmas to me as a Lawyer, means a time of reflection and celebration. It is a time of spiritual reflection on the importance and significance of the birth of our Lord Jesus, whose birth has brought liberation, salvation and redemption to Christians.
It is also a time for me to personally reflect on past year, in order to recommit and re-dedicate myself to God. It is a time to honour Jesus, and offer thanksgiving to God for his mercies all year.
I will be spending the yuletide with family and friends, as it is the time when everyone is back home to celebrate and unwind. I will also be visiting friends, and attending parties.
Dame Priscilla Kuye – past NBA President and Life Bencher
Christmas is a time of giving and welcoming Jesus Christ, the new born Saviour, again into our lives. It is a time of reflection, the season of advent, when we should closely examine our spiritual lives, to see that we are living our lives in accordance with God’s commandments – Love God and love your neighbour, forgive others their sins as God forgives yours, give alms, and have a solid, personal relationship with God through personal prayer. Be spirit- filled always, as a Christian.
Christmas is really a period when we should be generous, and remember especially, the poor people in our society. To me, Christmas is a season of great joy, because of the birth of Jesus Christ who redeemed mankind from the sin of Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. The birth of Christ in a stable, teaches me to be detached from the world to a great extent, and that I should work for my salvation with fear and trembling. It also teaches me, humility of Spirit.
May God renew the lives of all Nigerians with His Holy Spirit. Amen.
I shall spend my Christmas with my family, after attending mass on Christmas day. Christmas is also about spending precious time, with your loved ones. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
O.C.J. Okocha, SAN – former NBA President
I am a Christian, who is a Lawyer! Christmas is what it is: the happy celebration of the birth of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Happily, the Government of Nigeria, like most countries in the world, has instituted Christmas Day, the 25th of December, as a public holiday.
In keeping with my long established practice, I will close my Law Office for a short holiday, for two weeks. This is to enable me and the Lawyers, and other staff of my firm, rest and spend some quality time with our families and loved ones.
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year.
Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN – former A-G Ogun State
Christmas symbolises the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For me, it is a time to just rest. My definition of rest is a time to do many other things, apart from work. It includes sleeping, spending much needed time with family, friends and loved ones, cooking, baking, a time to laze in the lounge reading a book or watching a movie, and basically taking my eye off the clock. A time to indulge in all those relaxing things, which I have had to postpone during the work year. That must be why the Christmas holidays seem to pass away, so quickly. Christmas is a time to give gifts, not only to loved ones, but it is a time to give gifts particularly to those who cannot afford to reciprocate the gesture, such as the less privileged, the sick, the weak and the elderly. These gifts deepen the appreciation of the reason for the season; the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, on the part of the recipient.
In view of the fact that Christmas is so closely followed by the New Year, the Christmas break is a time to thank God by singing or playing Christmas carols, engaging in sober reflection, and spiritual stock-taking. A time to review the outgoing year to determine if set goals have been achieved, and to set new goals or reset existing goals for the New Year. It is an opportune time to seek the face of God and plan for the year ahead because, as the saying goes; “he who fails to plan, plans to fail”. One might ask, what are you planning for? No matter what one may have achieved in life, there is always room for improvement, and the greatest barrier to achieving anything, is your mind. Age, status and even circumstance, should not be a barrier to exploring and attaining new heights. Merry Christmas.
Lawal Rabana, SAN – former NBA General Secretary
Christmas to me, is the season you take a break to celebrate with family and friends. It's a season of festivities, so many social events are tied to Christmas. It's a period we are also on short breaks from the courts, and every one feels so relaxed. It's a season of beauty, as we see so many decorations everywhere - in houses, open space, streets, corporate buildings, just name it. The uniqueness of the season, is also the show of love with exchange of gifts, cards and hampers .
However, I will like to spend this season quietly with my family at home, and try to minimise travel due to insecurity and poor state of our roads.
Prof Yinka Omorogbe – Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Edo State
Christmas is my favourite season. It brings back great childhood memories, because it was such a wonderful family time. As a child, I was chief decorator and present wrapper for the family. As I grew older, I also became co-cook for the family Christmas meal, which always had Saro jollof rice (neither Nigerian nor Ghanaian!) and roast turkey, as part of the menu. We all opened the presents that we had bought for each other, after a late relaxed lunch. It was a great family time, and I was home for every single Christmas while my parents were alive. I've tried to make Christmas for my family, the same memorable time that it was for me. I hope, but I'm not sure I've succeeded.
Adeniji Kazeem, SAN – former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State
Christmas and New Year have become a period of the year for global celebration, and reflection for not only Lawyers, but for a vast majority of citizens. As a Lawyer, it is a time to say thank you to staff, clients and friends, who have supported you throughout the year.
I shall be spending the holiday period taking stock of the year, and spending quality time with friends and family. It is a time I will make new resolutions, and pray for Gods guidance in the New Year.
Chief J-K, Gadzama, SAN – past NBA-SPIDEL Chairman
Christmas to me, is dropping my wig and gown and enjoying the best of the holidays. This is a time where I reflect on the good things the Almighty gave me, and the bad things
he protected me from. Every day is worthy of thanksgiving, during this spiritual time. I choose to spend this time visiting family and friends who I could not keep up with during the year, due to work commitments. I will also participate in church activities, and charity events. Particularly, I will spend time at the orphanages to care for the orphans and make them happy.
I will like to note that, I am first a Christian, before a Lawyer. Christmas to me, resonates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of the Christian faith. Through the love of God expressed through his son Jesus Christ, salvation came to mankind. Beyond all the merriment that comes with the season, Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection, on the foundations of the Christian faith.
As a Christian Lawyer, it is a time to reflect on the purpose of joining the great profession of legal practice, which includes ensuring justice and fairness to humanity.
I will be spending my time with my family, as the holiday affords me the opportunity, after a busy year.
Mia Essien, SAN – former Chairman, NBA Section on Legal Practice
Christmas is about remembering the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and that he is the reason for the season. It is about spending time with family and friends, and catching up on the right work life balance.
This yuletide, I will, as usual, spend time with my family and our friends; and try to get some quality "me" time. Although as a Lawyer, it is easier said than done. However, it is also a bit of a sad one, as this will be our first Christmas without my Mum. She passed on in November.
Ifueko Alufokhai – Edo State Director of Millennium Development Goals and former, NBA Director of Administration
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and it is the most beautiful time of the year for me. This is because, if Jesus was never born, He wouldn't have died for us and humanity would have been in a hopeless state. Christmas is a time of reflection, taking stock of the past months, most especially it's a time of thanksgiving, giving thanks for our Loved ones, for our homes, what we have and our country.
Christmas is not just about the jingle bells and the parties or the beautiful decorations, it's about giving back, spreading love and cheer.
I will spend this yuletide with my children and family, basking in the cheer of this season and putting a smile on another's face, in whatever way I can.
Boma Alabi OON – former President, Commonwealth Lawyers Association
Christmas for me is a time to reflect on the year that is winding down, and to plan for the new year ahead. The fact that the courts are on vacation during this period, also gives the team a welcome breather during which we catch up with any pending drafting or other tasks. We review our files and plan for Q1 and Q2 specifically, so we hit the ground running when we resume.
There's sadly a culture of entitlement which is quite distasteful, and this behaviour is particularly at the fore over this festive period. Naturally, one would assist where there is genuine need, as this really is the essence of the season, but at the same time, one has to be discerning. Our prisons and orphanages are always in need of support, and grateful for some Christmas cheer in practical gifts.
Ever since my return to Nigeria, I revel in the fact that, we can go to the beach during the yuletide season and of course, Lagos has some very beautiful beaches, for everyone's enjoyment at little or no cost. Nigeria is blessed with very good weather, and it certainly adds to my Yuletide cheer!
On Christmas day itself I invite family over for a leisurely lunch, along with any of my neighbours without family in Nigeria.
Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN
Christmas is the happiest season, for me. It affords me an opportunity to stay away from the difficult task of lawyering, and be close to my family and friends. It is a time of deep reflection on life, generally.
This time is not the best Christmas for me, as I will spend more time reflecting on the challenges facing the legal profession, legal education, access to justice, independence of the judiciary, abuse of human rights and rule of law, disobedience to court orders and decisions, the lack of a proactive
Bar Association, poverty and mass unemployment in the country, the culture of corruption in all sectors of the Nation's life, criminality and terrorism.
This time will also not be very joyful to me, as I will be burying my younger sister on 27th December, 2019. But, in all things, we hope for the best and give thanks to God for taking us to this season.
Oyinkan Badejo-Okunsanya Christmas to me as a Barrister, is really no different from any other time of the year. If anything, it means a little more down time, to catch up on some reading. The late Justice Ejiwunmi of the Supreme Court, quoting Joseph Story, the late American jurist, once said to me: "the law is a jealous mistress, and requires a long and constant courtship. It is not to be won by trifling favours, but by lavish homage". I have not found this, to be untrue. So, this Christmas, I will be paying as much homage as I can, to my jealous mistress.
As a person though, Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love all the carol singing and Christmas decorations, the socialising, the giving and receiving of gifts, the gluttonous eating, everything! So, when I am not courting my mistress, I will be enjoying all that Christmas offers!
Mrs. Stella Ugboma – former President, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
Christmas is always a very happy occasion, in my family. Everyone is happy, and ready to sample any food or delicacies around the house. There is always time to listen to stories about friends and relations.
In the past visits to friends and relations was something that had to be done.These days, a telephone call is very welcome, and adds laughter to the merriment!
These days, however, I can hardly see Christmas greeting cards any where.
Last week, I was asking a friend how many Christmas cards she has received this year, and her answer was that perhaps the Government has banned its circulation!
Here is wishing you and your family, a very Happy and Merry Christmas. God bless us all!
Muyiwa Akinboro, SAN – former NBA General Secretary and the Bamofin of Iwoland
More than as a Lawyer, Christmas to me is significant to all mankind, as it is a time we reflect on the outgoing year, and also celebrate the greatest gift of God, who sent His only beloved Son, for the sole purpose of giving us the opportunity to reconcile with Him and have everlasting life.
As a Lawyer, it signifies a time for the expression of love, peace and joy to all persons. A period to rest from our highly demanding schedules, spend quality time with family and friends.
It is also a time of thanksgiving for the successes recorded in the outgoing year, and plan on how to improve ourselves in our sacred calling as Ministers in the temple of justice.
I will use the opportunity of the Christmas holiday, to enjoy quiet time with my family and friends, use the time to re-establish contacts with old friends, generally relax, and enjoy the calm and quiet of Ibadan and my village.
Chief Ferdinand Orbih, SAN Christmas is a time to celebrate the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Some Christian sects try to introduce controversy into the celebration of
Christmas, on the ground that Christ was not born on the 25th of December. Those sects, are entitled to their views. But, as Catholics, we believe that it is immaterial whether or not Jesus was actually born on the 25th of December. We have chosen that day to celebrate and mark the coming into the world of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. At least there is no controversy about the fact that, Jesus Christ was born into the world. He did not fall from the sky.
It is also period to remember our loved ones and the less privileged, who even though they also want to celebrate, may not have the means to do so.
It is also a time for sober spiritual reflection, on reason why Christ had to be born in the first place. Often times, we dwell more on the celebrations and forget the spiritual side of it. We must always remember that Christ is the reason for the season.
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN As a Lawyer, Christmas means a period of introspection and selfexamination. It is a period of general review of events, of the year. It’s a time of reward and harvest, especially for all those who are working with me.
The other aspect of Christmas is the break from regular work, from court appearances, and from the daily routine of resumption and closing. It is a time to bond with the family, even though I still have to work in between, as I’m doing this year.
Christmas is a period to take stock, and plan for the new year. Above all this, however, is that I take the season to be a time to appreciate God for His love over mankind, in giving His son Jesus as a vessel of joy and goodwill to all.
George Etomi – pioneer Chairman NBA-SBL
Christmas is a season of giving, forgiving, taking stock and thanking God for another good year. As a Lawyer, I look back to see how many lives, especially younger Lawyers, I have impacted positively. More importantly, it sets the tone for the coming year and how I can surpass the preceding year.
My entire family will be around, as we’ve done every year. We usually have a carol get together with the wider Etomi family. This year, it will be hosted by my older brother, Hector, and we are all looking forward to it. Of course, there will be the relay of parties and between golf, tennis and jogging, I am more than ready for them.
Most importantly, we are giving thanks to God for His faithfulness in our lives through the year, and pray for His peace which the season signifies. Merry Christmas to everyone of you at Thisday Lawyer, for your continued service to our noble profession. May the peace of God reign in your lives.
Seni Adio, SAN – Chairman NBA-SBL
What Christmas means to me — In addition to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas to me, is also a time to take stock about events over the past year and give heartfelt thanks to God Almighty for being alive and healthy, as another year comes to an end. It is also a time to introspect about my pursuits and, most importantly, whether I have used my God- given skills and resources to gratuitously uplift others.
Christmas is time to spend quality time with family. I also intend to rest quite a bit, this yuletide season. I need to be disciplined about taking time for some rest relaxation. I am not big on making new year resolutions.
That said, I will also muse about what I would like to accomplish over the next few years, beginning with the short, medium and long term
objectives. Finally, since I don’t live or operate in a capsule, the perennial state of upheaval in our society is very disconcerting, and always a topic of discussion at informal and formal settings. I recall reading the utterances of a clearly frustrated youngster as follows: “Daddy, why is it that everybody says, in our time Nigeria had or we used to have, things worked ...., how come all the good things are in the past tense?” That’s a lot of food for thought!
Efe Etomi Christmas for me is a period I crave to relax, although that has generally been impossible, given the level of multi- tasking I have to do. Usually, we host family and friends to a Christmas Eve Carols and Community Hymn
Singing. I also take out time to thank God, for His outpouring of blessings on me and my family. My first son was called to the Bar, I chaired the NBA Lagos Branch end of year party which was a huge success. I enjoyed serving the Bar, in this way.
I plan to catch my breath over the Yuletide, in between the several parties and other family events. My entire family will be around, and I’m looking forward to bonding with them.
I wish everyone of you at Thisday, a happy Christmas and prosperous New year.
Conclusion Are Nigerian Lawyers workaholics? Are they are all work and no play, which makes the proverbial Jack a dull boy? We don’t think so! Yes, Nigerian Lawyers are about the hardest working on the planet, but they find time to also rest and the yuletide is the best time for Lawyers to rest. Most law firms and the courts, will be totally closed for the season. Irrespective of their religion, for most Lawyers, holiday mode has kicked in, as at the time of producing this cover, many senior Lawyers were either heading out of the country, despite the temperate weather in Europe and America, while quite a sizeable number were heading to the their country homes in their villages till the first or second week in January.
THISDAY LAWYER wishes Nigerian Lawyers a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year! Happy Holidays!