Once upon a time, no distant past, for that matter, just December 2009, a man confidently and calmly arrived the portals of the Secretariat of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Quietly and politely, in a soft voice the man a 60 year old, Victor Kayode Jones asked the desk officer of the Tigers, a lady called Queen Ebohon how he could become a member of the famous branch. He explained briefly that before then he was a member of the NBA, Lagos branch and showed Miss Ebohon some receipts of his membership fees of the Lagos Bar.
Not mindful that any thing could be amiss, Miss Ebohon listed out the financial implications of the membership of the Tiger Bar (#10,000.00) and gave out membership forms to Mr. Jones to fill.
Straightaway, the applicant paid the #10,000.00 registration fee and peaceably made his exit, after collecting the necessary form from Ebohon.
A few days later, the prospective Tiger Bar member came back and promptly submitted the membership forms he had collected from Miss Ebohon.
Miss Ebohon noticed some interesting omissions and ‘additions’ in the membership forms she gave to Mr. Jones. She decided to notify the branch chairman, Dave Ajetomobi Esq.
For example, in filling the form, Jones stated his office/chamber’s address as “c/o The Library, 196A Awolowo Road Ikoyi. (You wonder?) He did not state his residential address and left blank the portion requesting information about his educational career. Also left blank was the portion demanding to know the year of Jones’s call. Please see cover story ‘exhibit.’
However the man attached quite a bundle of papers to the membership form.
In some parts of his attachment, Jones boldly stated that he did not “go” to the Nigerian Law School yet he went on to claim that he did his “pupilage” with Ikoghode Yakubu Sambo & Co. from 1994.
Then he went on to list the number of cases he had participated in as a party and the judges (Owobiyi, Sotuminu, Olorun-nimbe, Nicol-clay, Olateru-Olagbegi), he stated further that he had been a financial member of the NBA at local (Lagos Bar) and National level since 1994 and attached some photocopies in proof of his contention!
The man also attached some photocopies of rulings and orders of court in some of his cases.
It did not take the Tiger Bar chairman, Ajetomobi Esq and some of his officers who went through Jones’ bundles of papers to know that his application to become a member of the Ikeja bar must fail irrevocably.
It was obvious to everybody that Jones, a mousy, quiet soft talking “I-can't-finish-a-wrap-of-pap-character"- was not a legal practitioner and so could by any stretch of imagination be absorbed into the Nigerian Bar Association.
So the order came that the application be rejected and Jones (born 14th April 1950, Ile-Ife Osun state indigene) money (ten thousand naira) be returned to him.
A short debate now arose on what to do with the man. While some Tiger chiefs thought he was just a smart, simpering fraudster who should be handed over to the police, others thought the man was somewhat mentally unhinged and was on the borderline of criminal conduct and as such should be allowed to go free but with strict warning to stop trying to be a member of the NBA without first being called to the bar. The latter opinion prevailed.