Why I lost interest in pursuing SAN title - 80-year-old lawyer

The Akwa Ibom born lawyer questioned the requirements for awarding the SAN title in Nigeria.

Pa Umoekeyo Abasiene Uno. [Punch]

An 80-year-old legal practitioner, Pa Umoekeyo Abasiene Uno, has opened up on why he lost interest in pursuing the most coveted Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title.

The octogenarian, who hails from Akwa Ibom state, decried the latent injustice and favouritism that characterised the award of the SAN title in Nigeria.

While speaking to Punch in an interview, Uno recalled the incidents that discouraged him from aspiring for the legal title.

He blamed his lack of interest on the Nigerian factor phenomenon that has pervaded all aspects of the Nigerian society including the court system.

He said: "I’ve lost interest in pursuing the SAN thing. The Nigerian factor plays out in everything, even the court system. Imagine what is happening at the Supreme Court. I tried to have my own position, it didn’t work out."

"I had a lawyer from Mbo origin in Oron, who went to court and asked that they should render account on local government (funding). Assam Assam was in that case and I raised a very vital issue that an individual could not show up at the Supreme Court for the first time and demand that.

"The Supreme Court agreed with me. But they didn’t allow me to use that case as a key case (in applying for SAN title) because they said they didn’t give a considered judgment. But that wasn’t a problem for me because the objection had succeeded."

"That’s why I lost interest in pursuing the SAN thing. Since then, I don’t think I had applied again. The reality is that being a SAN doesn’t necessarily mean that one is the best lawyer in town and merely being a good lawyer does not guaranteed that one will become a SAN.

"As I told Crystal Express newspaper last year, what happened is that a senior advocate would simply recommended junior lawyers from their firm. A lot of people can confirm what I’m saying. It is a sad situation here in Nigeria," he concluded.

Uno also said he was endeared to the law profession by the beauty of debate.

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