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Akanwa: Seeking Peace, Harmony With Judicial Muscles

Published by Guardian on Mon, 06 Feb 2012

BARRISTER Theophilus Akanwa is a constitutional lawyer and human rights activist with wide experience in advocating for peace and harmony in universities and Nigeria as a whole.Akanwa is Vice President of Immaculate Peace Initiative, a non-governmental organization mediating peace and unity in Nigerian universities and among youths. He had worked with the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi Chambers as a practicing lawyer.The Immaculate Center for Peace Initiative (ICPI) was founded in February 2010 with about forty members drawn from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, but today, it has over 4,000 members. Their aim is to promote peace and harmony in Nigeria to enhance better relationship and tolerance of religious, political, ethnic and cultural differences and the sustenance of the unity of Nigeria.In the past two years, ICPI has recorded landmark achievements in promoting its main objectives and purposes. The body has visited and delivered lectures in churches, mosques, higher institutions of learning and has also distributed flyers, leaflets, banners and posters on the need for peace. It has also expanded its horizon by reaching out to other NGOs and other pressure and human rights groups to ensure good governance and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians wherever they live.Akanwa advises politicians to desist from using youths as political thugs, especially during elections. He urged students to shun secret cults and rather devote their time to learning and becoming good leaders of tomorrow. 'The issue of politicians using youths as political thugs is due to the level of poverty in the country, a student whose parents are well-to-do and can afford to pay their school fees will not engage in such acts.'While describing as most unfortunate the level of insecurity in the country, especially the issue of the Boko haram, he also condemned the removal of subsidy as ill-advised and ill-timed.'Working with Gani Fawehinmi was remarkable,' he said, noting that 'though there were challenges, working under the late chief, you would be put on your toes as you must get to the office very early and you close very late. When you come late to the office, the gate would be shut and you must give a very good reason for coming late to the office, else you will be punished because he was very principled. When he sent you to court, he would also send a colleague to monitor what you did in the court to know your performances. He called for the record of proceedings and when he saw you were not getting it right, he educated and cautioned you.'According to Akanwa, the late Fawehimi made many lawyers '-including himself:'He equipped you with books, all published by him free-of-charge; that is one of the most tremendous things he did for lawyers and that gave them the ability to stand on their own.The basic thing about life, says Akanwa, is to keep trying as much as possible to create time (because you have all the time in the world) to do whatever you want to do. In management you must create time within yourself on how to attend to all issues.Akanwa manages his time well, as lawyer, activist and also Vice President of the ICPI. He relaxes after work with his family at home and takes a walk to the garden or beach to remove the tension of the day's work. He also watches and plays football.
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