Law Forte Celebrates Oga Afam

Philosopher Socrates once said – “Under the guidance of a strong general, there will never be weak soldiers.”

For me, you are that strong leader who made us capable subordinates. The success in any workplace depends on the dedication, honesty, patience and guidance of the leaders therein.

You are an example of determination and courage. It has been inspiring to work under you and watch you continue to reach for greater heights both in your personal life and in legal practice.

The Latin phrase “festina lente” is one that comes to mind before I make decisions these days. You are an asset to your family, the Nigerian bar and indeed your entire generation.
Always be healthy and cheerful.
Onyeka Momah

I am not only felicitating with you because you have attained the golden age of 50, rather I am celebrating you more for what you have accomplished – the principles you represent, which you have forcefully promoted over the years.

As a lawyer growing under your tutelage, you have inculcated in me the spirit of hardwork, honesty and integrity. You have really impacted so much on me, and your huge capacity for brilliance is simply amazing and infectious.
 As you mark your birthday today, I wish you God’s choicest blessings of good health of mind and body. You shall continue to flourish like the tree planted on the riverside.
Thank you for all you do.
Once again, happy birthday sir.
 Justin Nwachi Esq.

Mazi is an inspirational leader. It has always been a motivating experience working with him for over 8 years of my practice.
He is always available to listen to opinions and suggestions; a man with a clear vision, a decisive boss, always supportive and a compassionate being.
I will not forget in a hurry the fact that Mazi is demanding in terms of achieving results for a set goal, an attribute which makes him stand out as a good leader.
I appreciate how he delegate tasks and ensure balance in workloads, he does not discriminate.

 As you step up to the 50th floor, it is my prayer that you experience everything good and exceptional because you are a good and exceptional being.
May your days be long.
Ugonna Rosemary Afiadigwe.


 It should be around mid to late 2017, if I recall correctly. We just concluded the lectures for the day and the class broke into different discussion cliques. Different people discussing different things, and for some reason, this particular clique had more people trooping to weigh in on whatever it is they were discussing. Out of sheer curiosity, I thought to move over and partake in the discussion ensuing from that particular clique. That moment was the first time I came across the name, MAZI AFAM OSIGWE.

They were discussing how he was disqualified from contesting for the office of the President, Nigerian Bar Association. Somehow, the discussion shifted from how he was disqualified to how he gathered the audacity to contest for a position impliedly reserved for members of the inner bar, and despite being an outsider in some sense, he was already coasting to victory but for his sudden and unfortunate disqualification. The discussion got even more interesting for me because I got to discover then that non-SANs could contest for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association. The discussion lingered for a while, and before long almost everyone in the classroom at the moment came around and were talking about this particular person.

The story was somewhat compelling for me, someone who hardly paid any attention to the NBA politics before then, more so because I wondered why and how undergraduate students of the Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, who like myself, had little to no interest in the Bar politicking somehow got around to becoming so emotionally invested in the outcome of this particular Bar elections. We soon ended the chatter and found our way back to our various hostels and places of residence. But the discussion hardly ended there for me.

I then embarked on personal research on Mazi, mainly because I wanted to follow up on his reaction to the disqualification but somehow got buried in the larger-than-life persona of the subject matter of my research. Amongst many other intriguing things I found about him were his stellar stint as President of the Unity Bar and Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association. In both capacities, as records have shown, he superintended innovative, responsive and progressive administrations. He always left things, offices and people better than he had met them, one way or another. And more than just words, there’s plethora of antecedents and anecdotes buttressing this fact.

Inadvertently, I started to form an impression of the man. Note that as at the time, I was yet to have any personal contact or correspondence with him. But I had slowly and eventually became an admirer from afar. Soon enough, after I had done a handful of research on him, I began to correlate the name Mazi Afam Osigwe with concepts such as courage, determination and guts.

Fast-forwarding to the very recent past, I am now fortunate enough to commence my career as a legal practitioner under Mazi Afam Osigwe’s (now SAN) mentorship and tutelage. And I can now see why his reputation precedes him. Beyond the calm and polished exterior is an ever moving and exacting interior. His seems to be a disposition set out to suck as much juice out of life as time affords. There’s virtually no room for laxity, prolonged contemplation or inordinate shoulder-tapping around him, as he’s ever seeking the next hill to be taken. He possesses an acute sense of urgency almost bordering on mania. In my not-so-long time around him, I have come to see how he has earned all his accolades especially at this juncture in his life. As he was when I first came upon his name, he remains a beacon of inspiration and hope to young lawyers like myself that a good combination of will, skill and courage reserves for one a space with the greats.

Mazi’s persona easily brings to mind the character, Okonkwo, in Chinua Achebe’s timeless classic – Things Fall Apart. In more ways than one, their stories correlate. In the novel, Okonkwo is seen to have called Osugo, an elderly less successful man, a woman because he was contradicted in a meeting. The oldest man in the meeting rebuked Okonkwo for his cutting remarks, stating that those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.   

The narrator however reported that it was not true that Okonkwo’s palm kernels had be cracked for him by a benevolent spirit. That he had cracked them himself. That if any man deserved success, such a man would be Okonkwo. The parallels here are not too far hidden, as I could glean from my research on Mazi that he is a man who had promised himself not to leave his life to chance, but to rise to the challenge as much as they come. Mazi said yes, and his chi said yes as well. It makes sense to thinking about it this this way, considering all the successes he has recorded so far within a relatively short time. And even more than that, his light continues to shine even brighter.

In all we have seen of the man, I’m quite certain that we are yet to see his best and brightest. There’s even greater intensity of light lying ahead. And on the occasion of his birthday, I’d take this time out to specially appreciate a living legend for continually shining the light of inspiration and possibilities to all around him.

Happy 50th birthday Mazi Afam Osigwe, SAN. May your days be long, and your health be strong. Here’s to many more years of increasing intensity, shining brighter and even brighter until full day.



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