Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has said that lawyers are beacons of hope and guardians of the constitution.
He said that as legal practitioners, they have the responsibility of upholding the principle of justice, rule of law and equity.
Kalu made the submissions on Monday when his former classmates of 1998 from the facility of law, University of Calabar, Cross Rivers State paid him a courtesy visit on the sideline of the ongoing National conference of the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA) in Abuja.
The deputy speaker who recalled their days in the school with nostalgia added that the university prepared them for the present tasks.
He enjoined his mates to remain true and worthy ambassadors of the Institution.
Kalu said: “My dear friends and esteemed colleagues, fellow Alumni of university of Calabar, law class, 1998.
“I recognize all of you, I want to thank you all for this visit, it’s an honour and pleasure to have my dear classmates pay me this courtesy call.
What you have done today shows that I’m a prophet with honor in my constituency. In politics you see a lot of dirty muds thrown at you. One of those was that I didn’t go to school. I’m sure you must have read it severally. And I like the lines used by the class Rep. It says, those in doubt should come and see us.
“We are identifiable and our institution is identifiable. They can go and verify. I’m really delighted to see you, nothing equals to this, seeing the faces that I have not seen for a very long time.
“I’m happy that some of you have gone to become so many things for so many people and our nation.
“It is with delight that I reminisce back to our days at the University of Calabar, those were formative years, filled with hardwork, friendship and a shared dream to becoming lawyers.
“Some of the values that they gave to us while undergoing our training to become lawyers didn’t just prepare us to pass exams but prepared us for the future, not to be found wanting in character and learning.
“We as legal professionals and alumni of this esteemed faculty, we have a responsibility to uphold the principles of justice and rule of law and equity. We must serve as beacons of hope and guidance of our constitution.
“Through visits such as this, I urge all of us to renew our vow and strengthen our friendship, let us use this gathering as an opportunity to foster collaborations and networking amongst us.
“We are not only alumni of university of Calabar, faculty of law, we are also ambassadors of this great institution.
“The senate President and myself are worthy ambassadors, likewise my Chief of Staff, and immediate past Deputy minority leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu. To add to what you just said that we don’t discriminate, he’s of the People’s Democratic party, PDP. And he’s the Chief of Staff.
“We are living in a nation where character, competence should be the defining factors on who occupies a position. Not just the colors of your political party, the sound of your tongue, your tribe or religion. It should be you and what you bring to the table for the growth of our nation.
“We must do all it takes to preserve the integrity and dignity of that great institution. In this age of technology. Staying connected to each other is easier than ever before, I encourage each one of you to exchange contact information, keep in touch and share your insights and experiences, advise and proposals.
“Let me encourage us to remember our roots. We should not allow our new heights to deny us the opportunity of being mates. Whether I become a governor tomorrow or a president, you will still be my mates.
“The same way you had access to me when we where in university of Calabar, is the same way that you will have access to me.
“I hope I can say that about you. I hope as God lifts you us to become somebody great, because together we can contribute to a brighter future for Nigeria. I want to thank you again for being here today and may our Alma Mater, university of Calabar continue to shine as a beacon of legal education and excellence.
“I accept this beautiful award as one of the shining stars of Unical class of 1998 and I dedicate back to you. And I’m sure with you, we will achieve more in the future”.
Earlier in their separate remarks, some of Kalu’s classmates including the chairman of NBA, Calabar branch, Barr. Nsikka Ikpeme; Barr. Onyete Efenji Olelewe; former Abia State Commissioner for Youths, Barr. Charles Ezeonu; Sole Administrator, Ihitte Uboma Local Government Council, Imo State, Barr. Uche Okonkwo who was the class representative of class ’98; Barr. Patrick Kazie Nwachukwu; the chairman, NBA, Ogoja branch, Barr. Lazarus Undie testified to his brilliance and the leadership skills showcased early in life.
While praying for a successful tenure, the lawyers pledged to support the deputy speaker in areas he might need their assistance.