It was a beautiful scene to behold on the 29th day of November 2018, seeing this excellent Cleric walk up to the row of the bench-men for his red scroll. Rev. Fr. Gabriel Uchechi Emeasoba had again bagged a first-class honour. According to his friend, Henry Ikwunemere, “Welcome to the bar, Fr Gab, an uncommon Scholar; 4/4 First class”.
The eulogy that was shared on Henry’s Facebook timeline reads: “Fr Gab is everything genius, an intellectual power-house and an all-round excellence”. These lines envelop the narrative that discloses that the Cleric was bagging a first class honour for the fourth time, justifying the 4/4 pass mark so quoted earlier. Fr Gab had graduated with a 1st class in Philosophy (B. Phil), Theology (B.Th), Law (LL.B) and Law (BL) in the Nigerian Law School. This is a feat that hardly comes by. A feat in which a man is not just skilled in the knowledge of ancient logics, but the law and also, the biblica sacra. Not only does he have the certifications stamped in his resume, he has excellently distinguished himself among his equals.
But as we celebrate this man for this uncommon shine, his office reminds us of a popular scenario where the rules and religion engaged themselves in a civilized fight. Almost a year ago, a young lady by the name Amasa Firdaus was denied her call-to-bar for refusing to take off her headscarf. She had argued her fundamental right to freedom of religion, stating that it is not Islamic for her to expose her earlobe. Her refusal to obey the said code led to her being denied permission into the International Conference Centre, Abuja, and indeed the call to bar on December, 12th. However, some months after, she was called to the Bar dressed in the Honourable Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa style.
A debate exhumed after her refusal and denial. Some argued in support of her action, while others argued against it. Those who argued against had said that if Amasa is allowed to flout the code because of her belief, what about those of other religions? What if a Nun or a Reverend Sister claims she must be called dressed on her veil, and a monk, a cowl? Or what if a traditional worshipper appears before the ICC in some ugly cowries? Will the same be denied the opportunity to be called or be called anyways? These were some of the questions asked by observers.
Seeing Rev. Fr. Gabriel Uchechi Emeasoba been called to the bar, one will begin to wonder what the scene would have been like if he had argued that he must be dressed on his cassock without a wig and gown, or that, he must wear his gown on his cassock.
These are some of the possibilities to be raised. But the bottom line is simple: There must be a dividing line between the operation of the law and religion. How cordial is the marriage between the two and how to separate their functionalities is another.
But in all, Fr Gab is an evidence to show that truly, hard work pass.