Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, CON, OFR, FCIArb, Ph.D.
The ugly piece of news hit me like a sledge hammer. The legal profession, academia and indeed the world of Excellence, has lost one of its shining stars and very best- Dr Krushvhev ( K.U.K ) EKwueme. What an irreparable loss! What a stab of a deep gaping wound!! Why do the best always vacate this world market of vanity-on-wheels so early? I do not know. Or, do you?I was not particularly close to KUK (as I fondly called him), in his lifetime, in terms of longtime friendship. No. But, we met at very close range in court on many occasions. We crossed legal swords in several courts in the last five years- very fiercely; near brutally. We became friends.He was one lethal court room Gladiator I never took for granted. Because he was thorough, scholarly and utterly combative. His well-researched written addresses were nullus secondus.They were laced with uncommon erudition and scholarship. I looked forward to them. His masterful and oratorical delivery, laced with flawless linguistic calisthenics could easily have inducted him into the pantheon of poetic heroes. His calm and harmless mien was but the thin veil of a venomous legal rattlesnake that bit with mortal deadlines. He was, oxymoronically, very luminous, incandescent and gregarious; yet very shy and tarciturn. He effortlessly combined opposites. He was urbane, debonair and cultivated. He never ceased smiling, throwing wits around like manure unto plants.On one occasion before Justice A.R. Mohammed sat over one of our numerous contentious cases, EKwueme looked at me directly and asked me matter-of-factly, ‘Chief, we know you as an accomplished constitutional lawyer and leading rights Activist; what are you doing in our world of commercial practice and still ferociously threatening to devour us?”. My answer which readily sprang up, came prepared. It appeared ready- made, for the feeling of suspicion was mutual: KUK, you and your law firm of my Ife good friend, Prof Koyinsola Ajayi, SAN, are known for being first- rate commercial practitioners; so, what are you doing in my little world of advocacy? You brew all the money in boardrooms and ‘chop’ to your satisfaction with local and multinational companies; then you are coming here again to wrestle with me for the little crumbs that fall from the master’s table; why, KUK?”. Everyone in the court roared with uncontrollable laughter. We both joined. He was such a jolly good fellow and humour metchant that wore humility like a second skin.Now, he has gone to join the faithful departed. Let me here borrow the immortal words of his bossom friend, cerebral Hon Justice ( Dr ) Nnamdi Dimgba, “A star on earth left to rejoin the galaxy”. Indeed, he did.End of discussion! Adieu, KUK. Continue to be happy with the angels.Rest in the Lord’s bossom till we meet on resurrection day to part no more.