By Prince Chigbo Okoli, Esq.
Sometimes, history fails to properly capture the legendary existence of certain personalities whose tremendous, and infact, impressive achievements have greatly contributed to changing the course of life or any of its spheres.
Undoubtedly, Chief Barrister Hyacinth Nodebechukwu Chukwunweobi Moghalu is one of the few and finest of Nigerian lawyers who can proudly be counted as favoured and well flavoured. Yes! He is lucky, blessed and fortunate enough to be on the graceful lane of life. A decent and quiet man in his own right, so much that if hardwork and diligence ever propelled anyone to greatness, Hyman (as he is fondly called by close associates) perfectly fits into the bracket. I say this, without any scintilla of doubt or feeling of indifference in my mind.
Having soldiered for himself, so far, a life that was recently described as a lesson in humility, the very senior and respected lawyer on the 2nd day of April, 2018, which also doubled as Easter Monday, attained his diamond age of 60. Although he had never seen any big deal about marking or celebrating his birthdays since adulthood, this time his five children played out a streak of surprise on him and he fell for it. His five children collectively planned to return home from their respective locations around the country and in one memorable collaboration with their mother, Lolo Stella Moghalu, they hosted for their loving father a private but glittering birthday banquet that witnessed a fantastic outpouring of deep love and the presence of friends and well-wishers who thronged his palatial edifice at his hometown in Obosi, Anambra State, to join the family in wishing him well as he clocked 60.
For the entire household of Hyman that eventful day, sixty (60) was not just a number this year, given the numerous stretch of achievements of the ‘man of the moment’ within the fair lifetime he had lived, and even his robust accomplishments particularly as a full-fledged family man and in his chosen career of legal practice. You need not be told how much of love Chief Moghalu has for the practice of law. In the course of practice over the years, he had always reflected top notch professionalism, disarming empathy, compassionate ambience and exemplary mentoring. This had no doubt endeared him to the heart of many, including his teeming clients, most of whom take him for a father irrespective of being younger than them.
As his close associates always testified, Hyman had always been ‘a child of grace, luck and circumstance altogether’. His sojourn in the legal profession was not by any means a chance encounter. He had through dint of honesty, industry, diligence and integrity made remarkable contributions to legal practice and human resource development in Nigeria, particularly in the areas of advancement of the law and professional pupilage, having mentored over seventy (70) lawyers who have directly and dutifully paid their dues under his eagle and impactful watch. In my last few years of coming in contact with Chief Moghalu, I’ve carefully had a window into his very quiet life and have been privileged to realize that he is such a simple being whose life is practically endorsed by outstanding traits of nobility.
Chief Moghalu is indeed all shades of hardwork and has never looked back in his quest of realizing his most cherished dream of being a full-time advocate and solicitor of law. This probably informs the reason why he devotes a major part of his daily life to the comfort of his office or library as an avid reader, always eager to pluck off from the tree of knowledge. His law office, by choice and necessary implication, has become a mecca of sorts to lawyers and non lawyers alike who desire to suck from the breast of countless books and legal authorities laid out in packs and volumes on his library shelf. Indeed, Chief Moghalu’s love for books is fantastically unprecedented so much that he would rather choose to starve himself just to secure a book. To be candid, his office library shelters a conglomeration of books cutting across legal, religious, jurisprudential and even academic lines.
He has among other things assisted in expanding the scope of professionalism in advocacy, arbitration and law administration. An active member of the Nigerian Bar Association and several other professional associations. In his over thirty years at the Bar, Chief Moghalu has practically held a good number of leadership/advisory positions including legal adviser to banks, national and international agencies. To his credit, are numerous accolades, awards, recognitions and chieftaincy titles, including but not limited to ‘Iwu di Omimi of Obosi Kingdom’.
Chief Moghalu is genuinely inspired to live a deeply religious and dedicated life as a Roman Catholic which has propelled him to great heights. His academic cum educational background from birth till the Nigerian Law School has equally been an amazing experience. Having being tempered in the pupilage fire of the chambers of Chief Chimezie Ikeazor, SAN of blessed memory for eleven (11) years, which offered him an unassailable credibility and mastery of the law, he established his own law office at Obosi since 1st January, 1998 with a current cornucopia of over eighteen (18) lawyers and other administrative personnel. Over the years, he had been referred to as ‘lawyer umu ogbenye’ (lawyer for the indigent) due to his modest reputation for engaging in public interest litigation and defending the downtrodden, most times on a pro bono basis.
Talking about his philanthropic gestures, Chief Moghalu has blazed the trail in giving alms to the needy and lending a hand of support to the impoverished. No wonder, his law office is always a hall of solace to the less privileged who desire for one form of legal assistance or the other but may not be able to sufficiently fund same. That is the kind of life Chief Moghalu has settled for and proudly too.
When eventually he wraps up his mission on the advocacy stage or on the shores of life, Chief Moghalu will surely be leaving the stage, holding his head high and proudly lifting his glass of wine in cheers to a legal life well spent. Until then, he will obviously continue to stand strong in the business of raising a formidable army of his legal dynasty who will take over the forte from him and firmly hold on to the generational traits of greatness gently sucked from his intuitive breasts.
Prince Chigbo Okoli, Esq., DRS. is a legal practitioner, reputable essayist, consultant and a public affairs commentator based at Anambra State.
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