Mrs Uchechi Onyekwere Nwadiogu and her son Mr Nwadiogu Bernard Alozie have been through the thick and thin period of the legal profession together. However, their days of patience wasn’t wasted as the mother and her son were eventually called to bar the same week, leading possibly to (a record breaking call in the history of calls to) the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
In this exclusive interview with the Nwadiogus, the duo lead us through the challenges of raising a family, practicing law and the eventual success the mother and son celebrated.
Can we meet you both?
Mom: I am Mrs Uchechi Onyekwere Nwadiogu.I was born and married in Ohanze,Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State.
Son: I am Mr Nwadiogu Bernard Alozie,a native of Ohanze,in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State.
Please tell us about your educational background?
Mom: I attended the then Imo State University Uturu, now Abia State University Uturu where i graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature. I later proceeded to Abia State University in Uturu to do a second degree in Law In 2011. I graduated in 2016. Then I proceeded to the Nigerian Law School,Enugu Campus for the one year vocational training for lawyers.
Son: I graduated from the Faculty of Law Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Anambra State in 2016 and the Nigerian law school Yola Campus in August 2017.
Why did you opted for law amidst several discipline there in the University?
Mom: Actually I have always wanted to be a lawyer even before i did my first degree.I had sought for admissions a couple of times to study law in different schools in the country then,all to no avail. The profession and practice of law is one I cherish and have always been attracted to even as a very young girl growing up in my hometown.
Son: My decision to become a lawyer is one that i made at a very young age. It may have been made even when i really didn’t know what it takes to become one, but I just knew I was going to be a lawyer. I spent a lot of time in and out of courts because of my mother‘s job, so the attraction has always been there right from the start.
We saw a post recently on your facebook, showing that you and your mum were called to bar the same week. Can you tell us how this came to be?
I got admitted into the faculty of law at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in October 2011, my mother was admitted much later, either in November or December of the same year to the Faculty of Law at Abia State University. We went through the five years of undergraduate studies together, albeit in different schools. We were level mates, we did the same courses most of the time because of the Unified Syllabus, and we proceeded to the Law School the same year upon graduation from our different Universities. That’s just about it. We started together and we finished together.
What was it like initially studying law with your mum?
I wouldn’t say it was a normal thing, because it wasn’t. It was exciting though, and very helpful because we assisted each other in a lot of things. Above all, I would say it was just great.
As a mother, wife and a law student, how have you been able to cope?
It wasn’t very easy to combine all three together, but I did because I had a lot of help and support from my most loving husband, my son Bernard and from all my other children .
To you Mr Bernard, what challenges did you encounter while studying law. What is that time pulling moment for you?
They all made compromises in one way or the other to see to it that my goal and my dreams were achieved. And I’m grateful to them for that. I couldn’t have done it without them. I wouldn’t say I had a lot of challenges, because I’m a firm believer of Christ. I believe that everything has been provided for by God since creation, so it always works out for me.
Mother and son becoming a law student, what was your husband’s initial reaction to it?
I’d say my husband was a bit surprised, but in all he was really happy and has always been there for both his son and his wife.
How has he been helpful in your journey?
His help cannot be overemphasized, I’d said that before. He has been helpful in every way and I’m very grateful to him.
Considering your motherly responsibilities and academical demands of law, have you ever thought of quitting?
I wouldn’t say I’ve thought of quitting, because I’m not a quitter. There’s been challenges and difficulties, but I’ve always believed in God and he’s always made name for himself.
What was that dicey decision you had to make considering you marriage and studying law?
I don’t think my marriage and my dream of studying law has ever been in conflict. I got married to a man who I’ve known right from my childhood, so we always agree on almost everything. Having said this, I’ve never been on the spot about my marriage and my secisin to study law. If for anything, my marriage even prepared me the more and has contributed immensely to the actualization of my dreams.
Did you ever encounter any humanly distraction while studying law. What is this distraction?
I’m a working woman and also a woman with a family. So you bet there were distractions, both from the home front and the work front.
How have you been able to balance your marriage while studying law?
As I’ve said earlier, my family compromised a lot and sacrificed a lot too while I was studying. Maybe I’d give you some details some other time, but not now.
You seem to be more close to your mum. Tell us about that?
My mom is my pride, my inspiration, my joy and my mentor. If you ask my friends what happens if i had the opportunity to introduce my mom they’d tell you I’m always smiling and happy when I do the introductions, and in fact whenever with her. So my joy knows no bounds. I’m proud of her.
Can you tell us in layman’s language about your favourite law report ever?
NBA vs. Ofomata. I’m.sorry I can’t provide the citation now. But the case is all about the discipline and professional misconduct. The practice of law is one that involves a lot of ethics which must be very religiously adhered to in order to continue to preserve the integrity of the profession.
How do you see yourself transforming Nigeria Judicial system in the little way you can?
Son: No man can single handedly effect change in a system. However we must all try to contribute our widows mite. The Judiciary in Nigeria has been on a steady progress in terms of new innovations and reformed practice rules all aimed at ensuring quick and effective disposition of justice. I’ll commit my time and energy as much as possible to see that changes are effected to make the wheel of justice grind faster, because its believed that justice delayed is justice denied.
How happy were you and your mum when you knew you will both be called to bar the same week?
We were just happy because we started together and we finished together. Our happiness wasn’t purely because we were just being called to the bar, but because neither of us was left behind.