Thirty-two years after leaving school, members of the 1986 Law Class of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) reunited in Lagos recently.
The event, held on Friday, December 14, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, attracted a long list of dignitaries.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was keynote speaker, was represented by Dr. Aina Salami, even as the founder and chairman, Juli Pharmacy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, chaired the event.
It was gathered that the set has produced state governors, deputy governors, traditional rulers, judges (home and abroad), ministers, clergymen, senior military officers and other eminent personalities in both the public and private sectors who have contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria.
Chairperson of the reunion committee, Chief Lizzy Nwagbara, expressed joy at the reunion. “This reunion event is a celebratory occasion. We are grateful to God for granting us life and grace to gather once more in our lifetime, after 32 years of graduating from UNILAG in 1986.
“The idea to have a reunion event has been discussed over the years but, recently, the six senior advocates in our class took proactive steps to provide basic funds, which eventual lifted the spirit of a possible event. And here we are today. The contributions and responses by our class members both home and abroad have been unparalleled and overwhelming. You have all proven that we can work together, even after 32 years of being apart,” she said, even as she expressed gratitude to the planning committee for making the reunion happen.
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President of the class, Mr. Shola Abidakun, said it was great to see many people 32 years after passing out of the school.
“This is one of the core objectives: for us to be able to come together and meet one another. We also feel we need to give back to our faculty and our school.
“Incidentally, our distinguished Professor Osipitan sent a letter to us, the Law School annex is in dire need of some infrastructural development. We will take that up. But most importantly, we thought we should institute an endowment fund for the best graduating students in our faculty. We have read that of the students presented by the faculty at the Law School, 22 of them had first class. It’ i a feat that is worthy of celebration. And while we were there, most of the things we were taught, we still find it very relevant as of today. And these are the core objectives of today’s gathering.
“Since we graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, in 1986, we have not had the opportunity of meeting like this. The banter, the friendship, the joy in the air all show how much we have missed each other. Many of us are highly placed in the society today. And I am so glad that we are going to be giving back to our alma mater from this moment on.”
Chairman on the occasion, Adelusi-Adeluyi, identified himself as the oldest of the class of ’86. He challenged his old classmates to use their position as lawyers, judges, Senior Advocates of Nigeria and justices to reform the judiciary system, especially the delay in the process of adjudication of law in Nigeria.
He narrated the case of a boy who was arrested alongside some hoodlums by the police in Ikorodu,
Lagos, while he was 12, noting that the boy did not regain freedom until 23 years after because of
He said: “There are many of such cases in the country today. And this is what we as lawyers need to
stand up against. A nation that has strong lawyers is a fortunate one, while that which has weak lawyers is unfortunate.”
Salami, who represented Osinbajo, expressed regrets that the Vice President had to return to Abuja
for the vice presidential debate. He congratulated the class for the bold step in achieving the reunion.
In his message, titled, “The need for lawyers to get more involved in war against poverty,” Osinbajo
said: “Poverty is a very prevalent thing with us now in Nigeria. Poverty has been said to be the ultimate abuse of human rights, and denial of access to justice has been said to be an affront to the rule of law. A society cannot, therefore, enjoy the fullest aspiration for the rule of law, where poverty thrives. As lawyers, we have a major role to play and do something about poverty, through the law and social justice.”
The first female dean of students of the Faculty of Law, UNILAG, Prof. Chioma Agomo, who also taught the class, said: “When they came in, I was still very young in the system. Now they are all grandparents. We have always had a very open and cordial relationship. And the unique thing about them now is that they are very successful, creative and diverse in their ways. They should be a source of mentorship and inspiration to the current students in that faculty.”
Special awards were given to the Vice President and some other guests.