By Henry Ojelu
Few years before the Nigerian Biafran war, a child was delivered to the family of Mr. & Mrs Ubi Ubani
of Awomukwu Village in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State. Though born in Olodi Apapa, Lagos, the celebrations in Awomukwu was ecstatic as elders both in diaspora and at home knew that his birth will bring honour, glory and blessing to the Awomukwu Village and by extension Ikwuano Town. On this day, July 27, Monday Onyekachi Ubani was born.
Just after his birth, in the heat of the ensuing Nigeria-Biafra war, the Ubanis’ ran to the East with their crawling son and his elder sister. Monday Ubani became the only child after his parents lost their eldest child, a daughter few years ago to the cold hands of death.
Ubani was brought up in a strict and disciplined environment. He had his primary school education in Awomukwu Primary School where he made credit in his Primary School Leaving Certificate examination.
Ubani later relocated to Lagos where he attended a Secondary Commercial College and obtained his General Certificate of Education commonly known as GCE with 8 credits.
In 1983, Ubani was admitted into the University of Nigeria, Nssuka to study Political Science. His motivating factor then, was the political flamboyancy of politicians like Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Late Dr Nnamdi Azikwe. He was swayed by their oratory prowess because they spoke extempore and were politically very colourful. Ubani’s dream of becoming a Political Scientist cum politician however waned as a result of the political adventurism and incursion of the Nigerian Military into Politics in the period of years referred to as ‘’military era’’
He particularly saw the military push of the then General Mohammadu Buhari that led to the overthrow of the Constitutional Government of President Shehu Shagari as an aberration in the practice of politics. He felt he will not realize his political ambition, as a lot of politicians became jobless due to the incursion of the military into the Nigerian Political terrain.
This made him to have a rethink as he decided to study law in the University of Nigeria. He saw in his new found love (law) the opportunity to stand up in defense of the oppressed masses. He saw the activities of the likes of Late Gani Fawehinmi and Femi Falana as a credible example to emulate. He was emboldened because of these Human Right Lawyers and Activists who gave up a greater percentage of their lives for the defense of the oppressed masses of the society.
Ubani’s humble background which made him to see himself as part of the poor oppressed masses got his zeal fired up and was emotional connected to these activists.
After his graduation, from the University of Nigeria, Nssuka in 1989, the young and vibrant Ubani having been armed with LLB Degree with second class upper proceeded to the Nigerian Law School where he also came out with second class upper. He was called to bar in 1990. Mr Ubani is also a Masters Degree holder in Law (LLM) from the prestigeous University of Lagos.
Fondly referred to as MOU by friends and well wishers, Ubani has come a long way both in his chosen profession and in his role as an opinion moulder and a respected voice on national issues in the country.
Not only has he excelled in law practice, he has become a known philanthropist and and advocate of human and peoples’ rights in Nigeria and beyond.
In 2012 he contested and won the chairmanship position in the ever vibrant Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch and took the branch to the level that no previous or those after him had reached.
His leadership quality and friendship revived the divided branch and made it a very united branch that its voice was feared and respected nationally during his tenure. It was therefore very easy for him when he aspired to the position of the vice presidency at the national level.
He was adopted by the Eastern Bar Forum of lawyers in which he is a member and returned unopposed at the national election of the association that took place in 2016 and became elected with the highest votes even more than that of the president of the Association, an indication of his popularity within the legal circle.
His act of philanthropy includes the saving of the life of Baby Somaya who had a successful heart surgery in India and came back to Nigeria to the waiting arm of MTN and Praise, a musician who collaborated with MTN to donate the sum of 10 million Naira to the baby. The baby is today a landlady and living a normal life.
He also brought to limelight a lady who worked at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos as a cleaner and returned the sum of 12 million lost money to the owner. That singular act of honesty attracted Mr Ubani popularly known as MOU and his Foundation, Onyekachi Ubani Foundation and they swung into action and got the lady introduced to Nigeria as the face of a true and honest Nigerian through the mainstream and social media.
The reward to the lady came in torrents: awards, money gifts, employment opportunities and handshakes with the high and mighty in Nigeria. In fact that promotion of her virtue brought her a husband last year. She is happily married to her heartthrob.
Mr Ubani whose tenure as the 2nd Vice President of NBA will end this August will return to concentrate to his private practice where he hopes to attain the highest distinction in his chosen profession and possibly aspire for other national or professional office to exhibit higher leadership quality that he has learnt and imbibed over the eyes.
The plethora of awards that adorn the walls of Ubani’s office and home are true attestation that the labour of this indefatigable humanitarian has not escape the watchful attention of many credible local and international organizations.
Ubani is married to Lady Faurstina of Okwelle IMO State and is blessed with four lovely children, one of whom is a law graduate waiting for his Law school education in Nigeria.
As this man who have become a voice for the voiceless and oppressed celebrate yet another milestone, I join millions of Nigerians to wish him a happy birthday.
Happy Birthday Mr. Ubani!