As many lawyers are elevated to the position of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on annual basis by the Privileges Committee of the legal council that regulates law practice in Nigeria in recognition of excellence in advocacy, soliciting and general input in the legal profession in Nigeria, some Aro sons and daughters have been ruminating and wishing that one or more of their lawyer-sons and daughters be elevated to the prestigious position to replace the one and only Nwakamma Okoro, a doctor of laws, who was appointed Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the early 1980s, just after few Nigerians were appointed into that position; after the pioneers that included the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Prof Ben Nwabueze, among others.
As someone who had obtained the highest degree possible (including LL D) in law from overseas and who had practised the profession at the highest level possible and in the all-round spectrum in the country, those who chose the qualified lawyers among the lot for the revered position did not hesitate to confer the honour on Dr Nwakamma Okoro, who died peacefully in his house in Amuvi in the early 1990s. He had been found worthy of the award while immersed in active politics – he was the first national secretary of the defunct Natural Party of Nigeria (NPN) that later produced Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from 1979 to 1983.
Dr Nwakamma Okoro later resigned his position as NPN national secretary to contest the vacant gubernatorial position in Imo state then but lost to Chief Sam Mbakwe (also a lawyer) of the Nnamdi Azikiwe-led NPP (Nigerian People’s Party.) Sincerely speaking, Dr Nwakamma Okoro had merited the award of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria that was bestowed on him by his professional colleagues in all ramifications; he could actually be likened to ‘Timi the Law’ in reference to the acronym used on the late Chief Rotomi the famous lawyer – in training and practice! No wonder Dr Nwakamma Okoro became the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria from the old Imo State of Nigeria, and among the few ones appointed in the 1980’s in the country then.
But since after his award, it seems no other lawyer of Arochukwu origin has been appointed into that position; or, if such a person has been appointed, it is not known very well by many Aros. That is why some of us have been expecting that some of our lawyers be elevated to that prestigious position to replace the late Dr Nwakamma Okoro, the first Aro man to be so honoured.
No doubt, Arochukwu has produced many lawyers in Nigeria, since the days of Barrister Uku of Obinkita, Arochukwu. In fact, we have had outstanding lawyers in the town that enumerating them here may be time-consuming and unnecessary, and will continue to produce them as more universities continue to spring up and train lawyers, including the National Open University of Nigeria that has been cleared by the National Assembly to be doing so legally.
So, Arochukwu needs a replacement for Dr Nwakamma Okoro as Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and more. We wish that some of our lawyers in practice and lecturing be appointed Senior Advocates of Nigeria in no distant time. As an ancient town that had embraced Western education from early periods, we deserve Senior Advocates of Nigeria from our lawyers as other lawyers from other towns are appointed as that. In this regard, we enjoin Aro lawyers to continue to excel as they practise and lecture. They should avoid unethical practices and should always aim at excellent practice. In this way, Arochukwu will soon have a replacement (or replacements) for our own one and only Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Nwakamma Okoro. We are expecting that our lawyers will soon replace Nwakamma Okoro as Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Our only consolation for now is that an Aro son in the Diaspora, Barr. Benbella Ahizechukwu Anachebe, a native of Ndianiche Uno, Arondizuogu was appointed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2007. He was bestowed with Ugwu Aro title in 2009.