For the National Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA), John Austin Unachukwu, yesterday evening was indeed an evening of glitz and glamour as legal luminaries, friends and well-wishers showered him with gifts, encomiums and accolades to celebrate and honour him for his remarkable and unprecedented feat as the Nation Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The momentous event which was organized by J-K Gadzama LLP at its Abuja office, was attended by senior lawyers and notable members of the Bar including Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, Former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Borno state Mohammed Monguno, the First Vice President of the NBA, Mr. Caleb Dajan, Second Vice-President of the NBA Monday Ubani, former General Secretary NBA, Chief Emeka JP Obegolu, Chief S.T. Hon, SAN, Prof. Maxell Gidado, SAN, J.N. Egwuonwu, SAN; Chairman NBA Abuja ( Unity Bar), Princess Franchesca Frank Chukwani, Kefas Gadzama, Mr. Patrick Agwu, Mr. Clement Chukwuemeka, Mr. John Agim, former chairman NBA Abuja branch, Mr. Mela Nunghe amongst other dignitaries.
In his opening remark, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, described John Austin as a friend, brother, honest, a workaholic, amiable and most of all a dependable ally.
He said, “this ‘family affair’ is to celebrate his abilities, competences and values; we became friends a long time ago. It is not the longevity of service that matters, but the impact that is made.
“Whether John’s tenure as the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA can be extended beyond the one and half years is a food for thought, even though I wish it could be elongated.”
“Continue to be God-fearing and accessible to your friends. And remember that your value in life is assessed according to the value you add to others,” Gadzama stated.
In his goodwill remark, Chief ST. Hon, SAN described John as “very dutiful to a fault. He is always cheerful and a jolly good fellow. I salute his loyalty to his friends regardless of the persecutions he faced, especially with his association with Chief J-K Gadzama. He is also a giver.”
Prof. Maxell Gidado, SAN, also said: “John’s virtues of dependability, loyalty and commitment to friendship are his priciest values and should never be traded for anything.”
According to J.N. Egwuonwu, SAN, “John has been a consistent friend and close ally. We share same first name and possibly would have shared the same surname. Continue in the path you are on you will continue to succeed regardless of how long it takes. With consistency, focus and purpose, you will get there.”
Also, former President of the NBA, Ikeja branch and Second Vice-President of the NBA, Monday Ubani, said: “John’s loyalty is clearly undisputable. He takes a position in any election, regardless of those who are in the majority.
“His loyalty can never be in doubt at any point in time. “God sometimes allow situations to happen to us in order to announce us, even though at the time it might not be favourable because we are humans. What happened to John Austin the last elections was God’s plan to announce him”
In his remark to appreciate the organizers and friends at the event, the honouree, John Austin Unachukwu said: “Never in my life has anybody or group celebrated me this much, not even my birthday has ever been celebrated like this.
“for me, wealth in life is not about the abundance of things you have or possess, but in the quality of friends that you have. I thank God that I have all of you as my friends and leaders.
“During my case against the (NBA), we had about 37 lawyers who volunteered to take it up free of charge. That was when I realized the amount and quantum of goodwill I enjoy at the Bar. However, after due consideration and consultations, we decided to engage only the Senior Advocates, yet, we still had lawyers in their numbers willing to take up my case.”
“I cannot thank Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN, Chief Sebastian T. Hon SAN, Chief Chukwuma Ekomaru SAN, Chief Emeka Ngige SAN, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN, Mr. Kunle Ogunba SAN and their Junior lawyers enough for delivering me from the jaws and claws of the lion. I am eternally grateful to all of you and will always appreciate your sacrifice and brotherly love.
“I remember Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama telling me after I was disqualified from contesting the NBA 2016 election after I had emerged the sole candidate for the office of Publicity Secretary: not to worry, that he will make me the most popular National officer at the end of it all and today it has come to pass, I am the most popular National officer of the NBA. Just go to the internet and type NBA Publicity Secretary or John Austin Unachukwu, you will be amazed at flurry of information you will see just because of the controversy that trailed my election and subsequent inauguration as the NBA Publicity Secretary.
“When we were contemplating going back to ask the court to elongate my tenure for me to serve my full two years tenure as provided by the NBA constitution, after due consideration and consultations in-house, we decided that service is not about how long, but how well. So we chose not to go back to make that request for now.
“I am very happy and I appreciate you all, may God keep all of us alive and give me the opportunity to say thank you. I cannot express my love for you enough, but my prayer is that God will bless you all abundantly in Jesus name.”