SPEECH DELIVERED BY MR. OLUWOLE .O. IYAMU (SAN), MCArb HON. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE, EDO STATE AT THE VALEDICTORY COURT SESSION IN HONOR OF LATE OGAGA EMOGHWANRE ESQ. HELD AT THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE, BENIN CITY ON FRIDAY THE 2ND SEPTEMBER 2022
Jack London, the famous 20th-century American novelist is known to have said the following words, just two months before his death, to a group of friends with whom he was discussing life and living; “The function of man is to live, not to exit..I shall not waste my time trying to prolong them, I shall use my time…” and Ogaga Emoghwanre did use his time., spectacularly, impactfully and profoundly!!!
We are gathered here yet again today to celebrate the life of our friend, brother, and colleague, Ogaga Emoghwanre who left us suddenly and without farewells on Wednesday 10th of August 2022.
Ogaga Emoghwanre was one of a kind. For those who knew him, he was larger than life, and full of energy and enthusiasm.
From his early days presenting the programme. “Did You Know” on Independent Television, (ITV), Benin, to his successful stint in the media as anchor for various other events and programmes, this “rising star” excelled at whatever he put his mind to and was passionate with his work.
As a young man in his prime, Ogaga’s life was just beginning when he departed to join the saintly ranks.
The loss of a loved one at any age is always painful, however, the loss of a young man like Ogaga, a rising star at the prime of youth, with the future beckoning, full of promise and hope, a sun that set at high noon, such death is not only excruciatingly painful but extremely tragic and invariably fills and leaves the living with unsurpassed grief.
This has been the experience of many of us who knew the late Ogaga Emoghwanre.
Yet, I earlier affirmed that we are here to celebrate the life of Ogaga Emoghwanre. Why and in what circumstance do we celebrate his life?
In her 1987 multi-award-winning bestselling book; “Tempus with His Right side Companion Niko”, American author – Janet Ellen Morris described death thus; “Death is a doorway that leads to an adventure greater than we have ever known.”
We celebrate the life of Ogaga Emoghwanre not because we are not saddened by his death, but because we are inspired by the life he lived.
His life, short as it was, serves as a mirror for us, the living, to ponder over and reflect on our own lives. His life serves as a lesson for us, the living.
Ogaga’s life packed in so many positives that it was as if he knew that he had a short time to live and needed to cram in all he could. The lessons of our brother’s life are plenty, but I will, in the short time that I have, highlight a few of them.
First, the outpouring of emotions across the country tells us how much Ogaga was loved by all that came across him and all that he came across. There are people who die un-mourned and unloved. Not Ogaga though. His passage has touched the core of all of us.
Clearly, he affected people’s lives across all divides. How much of other people’s lives do we impact and touch? That’s one significant lesson that Ogaga has left us with.
Ogaga Emoghwanre had his elementary education at prestigious Edo College, between 1993 and 1998. He attended the University of Benin between 2000 and 2008, where he distinguished himself, earning several awards before he obtained a Diploma in Law and Bachelor of Laws. He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School immediately where he again distinguished himself as an outstanding member of the Student Representative Council of the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School before he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2010.
Between 2010 and 2014, the late Ogaga Emoghwanre spent his formative years of active private legal practice in the Law firm of K. O. Ehigiamusor & Co.
His positive attitude coupled with his distinct advocacy skills later led him to establish Ogaga Emoghwanre & Co, a litigation, Commercial, Real Estate, Entertainment, Copyright and Immigration law firm headquartered in Benin with offices in Abuja and Asaba.
As a lawyer, the late Ogaga Emoghwanre was a roaring gladiator in the courtroom. He was clinical in his cross-examination, and accomplished in his pleadings and processes. He was courteous to court personnel, respectful to judges, and fair to his opponents.
He was a true apostle of truth, a pillar of justice, and advocate for the rule of law. The life of the late Ogaga Emoghwanre was a lesson in service to the Bar. He served the Bar as NBA NEC Member under four NBA Presidents, as an active member of numerous subcommittees and sections of the Bar, including the Section on Business Law and the Section of Legal Practice, as publicity secretary of the Young Lawyers Forum of the NBA Benin Branch, and as publicity secretary of the NBA Benin Branch.
In these and numerous other positions and assignments; Ogaga Emoghwanre was not found wanting in any manner howsoever. His diligence was exemplary and so was his passion.
We mourn and miss him and the values he stood for.
I might also add here that despite all his involvement in Bar Politics, Ogaga was a successful legal practitioner and not just a Bar politician and that is another lesson to learn from the life of Ogaga Emoghwanre. In these days that some of us are tempted to become professional Bar politicians, whose practice centers solely around Bar politics, Ogaga’s trajectory reminds us that it is possible to serve the Bar and still be an active and full-time legal practitioner who aspires to and attains the highest ranks of the legal profession. His success as a legal practitioner was not earned through Bar politics; he worked assiduously for it and was duly recognized by his peers and superiors.
Another lesson that Ogaga’s passage reminds us is the need to take the issues of our health seriously. Of course, our lifespan is entirely in God’s hands and we live or die by His Grace and Mercies.
He has however provided us with health- tips, some of which are contained in His Word and some of which come from the fecund minds and intellect of medical experts and practitioners around us. We do need to take advantage of these health-tips and the medical experts and practitioners and their facilities.
We all know how stressful a lawyer’s work, in the best of times, could be. That is not to mention these unusual times that we live in, with strife and conflicts all around us. We need to take care of our health and be diligent in managing our stress levels whilst living healthy lifestyles that would, by His Grace, lengthen our days. This we must do, not only for our own sakes but, even more importantly, for the sakes of our loved ones.
Indeed, our hearts go out to the loved ones of our late brother Ogaga Emoghwanre, his immediate and extended family.
You must know that you are not alone in this loss. We, the members of Ogaga’s larger family, will always be with you.
I urge us all to hold firmly, these lessons Ogaga’s life and death has shown us.
Like Ogaga, live your lives passionately, in service of God and man because “From the desk of Ogaga”, we know “it is a crime to go through the world unnoticed.”
Oluwole O. Iyamu, SAN MCarb.
Hon. Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Edo State