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From Hairat Aderinsola’s echoes of memory

Japhet Alakam

After over 48 years of service to the Nigeria Bar and to her father land, one of the best female accomplished lawyers and the first lady Attorney General of Lagos State, Hairat Aderinsola Balogun penultimate week at the prestigious Metropolitan Club, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island Lagos officially presented her law memoirs titled, To Serve in Truth and Justice to the public.

The occasion which was moderated by Tunji Ladinar was attended by many prominent Nigerians, friends, relations and associates of the author especially people from the legal profession as they turned out en mass to celebrate with the woman of principle and a trail blazer in the nobel legal profession.

In his remarks , the chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ade Elebute who was happy with the Labekes and her children for looking after her so well confessed that the title of the book is of great interest to him as “Truth is extremely a difficult thing to define but when you see it demonstrated by a person you recognize it.” He said.

Pix L- R Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke Represnting Lagos State Chief Justice, Chief Enest Shonekan former head of state and The Author of the book Mrs Hairat Balogun Photo By Diran Oshe

Continuing he said, I have seen Labeke virtually devastated people by saying the truth . The author is a great lawyer who recorded two opposing victories in her encounter with the military government.

As a lawyer she worked with the then military administrator of Lagos and made him carry out policies that benefited the good people of Lagos and on the other side, she fought the Military Head of State when he wanted to sell the Law School in Lagos.

She personally went to court and won. Elebute described her as someone who demonstrated in many ways that lawyers are good, one who has deep faith in God and one who insisted on punctuality in all issues both in business and in personal activities.

On his part, former Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan, who was a classmate of the author at the Nigerian Law School 48 years ago disclosed that the author was one of those who fought injustice during their days in the Law School. According to him, “Hairat has not changed a bit from the day we left the Law School. She does not spare anything at all.

She is a very good fighter of injustice and one who believes in excellence.” Shonekan commended her for making her school sect proud and prayed that they will all be alive to celebrate their 50th anniversary and presumably, do something for the school that produced them.

In his review of the book, Stephen Kola Balogun said that the book which is divided into four sections with an appendix gives the reader an informative insight into the author’s memorable years at the Bar and legal practice in general, right from the early beginnings 50 years ago up till the present day.

According to him, “the law memoirs which are supplemented by a large number of tributes, speeches and articles will surely be of interest to the legal practitioner, academic researcher and all others interested in knowing more about how the legal profession is structured in Nigeria.

The book makes several references by way of speeches and opinions to the past and present leaders of the legal profession thereby giving the reader an understanding of the thoughts and decisions taken by the various leaders of the legal profession over a period of time.

The book is a worthwhile read for those who are still striving to strike that balance between a fulfilling professional career and a contented private life.”

In her remarks, the author, Hairat Balogun, OON , who will turn 70 later this year thanked God for making the day a reality. She stated that the title of the book was inspired by the Holy Quran chapter 6, verse 115 and that the reason for writing the book is to put the records straight from her own perspective as an actor.

Earlier on the publisher of the book, Habiba Balogun who confessed that it was a big task publishing the book of her mother in law stated that the book started as a result of writing a memo on her earlier book, Women in the law.

The law memoirs,he added brought into sharp focus the parts the author played and the contributions made to the legal profession in Nigeria from independence till date. According to her, “Hers has been a life of service, driven by truth and a commitment to justice, service, truth and justice.”

In his comments, Lawal Pedro who represented the governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola recalled the author was a public officer of courage during her tenure as the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Lagos State .

The author to him, is an exceptional African who is strict about punctuality. “She frowns at what we call African time and truly until we start putting value to time, we will never get the type of development we want in this country.” He added.

On her part, representative of the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke described Balogun as a unique person who is not common to see in every day life. According to her, she is always punctual in all events and does not tolerate any Judge that comes to court late.

She is among those who stands for truth and justice, and does not like to see things going wrong and keep quite and that was why she went to court at several times to fight for justice and in all, she won.”

The launch was attended by many dignitaries among them were; Chief Bola Ajibola, former Attorney General of the Federation, Akin Delano, Ambassador Adoke Alakija, Fola Adeola, Amb. Abdulahi Atta, Justice Odenewo, Justice Idowu among others.


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