A native of Abia State, Barrister Monday Onyekachi Ubani had his early education in his locality, but moved as a youngster to Lagos, where his father intended to have him apprenticed to learn the mechanic’s trade in Lagos and one of the places he got for him to be a Mechanic- in- training was with Dunlop Plc. As fate would have it, however, series of happy accidents put paid to his father’s intentions, and he was able to continue his sojourn in the world of formal education. He was initially enrolled into the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1983 to study Political Science. After two years, however, he had an epiphany that led him to switch his academic direction, into the path of Law. A vibrant and dynamic activist and leader even in his undergraduate days, he served on various university student-led bodies – and in the process set in motion an enviable record of activism and leadership which continues to this day. On his graduation in 1989, he was called to the Nigerian Bar the following year. He set up the law firm of Ubani & Co in 1994. The current second vice-president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Ubani is known for his integrity, his tireless pursuit of justice and good governance, and his philanthropy. Over the years, he has dedicated his professional career to the quest for human rights in our society. His candor and fervent abhorrence of corruption in all its forms shine through all his dealings and social interactions – a combination of qualities that have endeared him to a vast and diverse clients over the years, and won him many accolades from key stakeholders in the legal profession and beyond.
In this conversation with the Newswire Editor-in-chief, Gloria Ireka, the legal luminary and philanthropist par excellence shares his journey in the path of activism and philanthropy, and his perspective on a wide range of issues of public concern.
NEWSWIRE LAW & EVENTS: Who really is Monday Ubani? Tell us about your growing up, family and education.
UBANI: I am a legal practitioner, born in the village of Awomukwu in Ikwuano LGA of Abia State. I did my Primary School in Awomukwu Central School, Abia State. My father brought me to Lagos to learn the mechanic trade with any reputable company, but by the time I got to Lagos the results of my secondary school entrance examination I sat for in the village had come out and I had passed to go to Ikwuano Secondary School in Ariam. But my father told me that he couldn’t afford my school fees, hence his decision to apprentice me in Dunlop Plc which incidentally had advertised for mechanics in training in their organization. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my first school leaving certificate in the village, and the person who was supposed to bring it to Lagos had a breakdown at somewhere in Ore on his way, so he couldn’t get to Lagos on the Sunday prior to the commencement of my training the next day being Monday. Without the certificate I couldn’t go for a test preparatory for the training with Dunlop Company. That was how I missed being a mechanic. Reluctantly my father enrolled me in a Commercial Secondary School here in Lagos. My excellent performance in the GCE exams finally convinced my father that academics was my natural path. I was admitted to study Political Science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1983. But two years into my course, I asked myself what I was doing with Political Science. Of course, at that time, all I wanted was to be like my mentor, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; to emulate his boldness, his command of language and his ability to dazzle and sway his audience. But then, I came to know of the Gani Fawehinmis and Femi Falanas of this world, and their commitment to change the society through the instrumentality of the law. And that’s how I developed my love for law. The decision to switch courses from Political Science to Law cost me two academic years. I moved over to the Enugu Campus of UNN, where I graduated with a Second Class Upper degree in 1989. I was called to the Bar in 1990 after passing Law School (again with a Second Class Upper). I did my NYSC in Kano where I served in the law firm of K.C. Ugboajah & Co. I returned to Lagos and worked briefly at the chambers of Wole Olufon & Co. In 1994, I started the law firm of Ubani & Co. Till date, I’ve been in legal practice as the managing partner of Ubani & Co. I have over 14 lawyers in my firm, in addition to other support members of staff. I’m married with 3 boys and a girl. My first son is a law student; the second studies engineering; my third (a daughter) will be in SS3 this September, while my last boy will be through with primary school next year.
I‘ve had some forays into politics over the years. In my university days I was the chief judge of the Law Faculty for both Nsukka and Enugu campuses. I was also a House of Representatives member in my very first year in Enugu Campus. I was Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch from 2012 to 2014. Before then I was chairman of several committees. I was chairman of one of the Law Weeks in Ikeja Branch where I was able to bring 4 state governors in attendance. Last year I won the position of the 2nd Vice President of the NBA.
Read full version of this interview here: NewsWire