The Chairman of the Mentorship Committee of the Body of Benchers (BOB), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN has recounted how he survived the coronavirus disease and several other near-death experiences to become a successful lawyer.
In a moving New Year message, Gadzama who was recently appointed Chairman of the Security Agencies Relations Committee (SARC) by Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Olumide Akpata, attributed his survival to the grace of God, adding that “These are things that when we move forward in life, we tend to forget and stop being grateful to our Creator for, rather, we focus on the negatives in our lives which may, at times, seem to overwhelm the blessings.”
He urged lawyers to count their blessings, saying: “As the new year comes forth, I encourage each and everyone of you to look back through the years to experiences that you are grateful for but might have forgotten. I wish you a fulfilling new year and hope that you live your best life in 2022.”
Below is the full test of the message made available to CITY LAWYER.
As we usher in the year, 2022, it is good to reflect on the experiences one has passed through and give thanks to God for everything whether good or bad that has happened.
2021 has definitely been nothing short of interesting and challenging. For instance, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to ravage, I remember contracting the virus and ultimately surmounting it by the Grace of God. I also recall that I travelled far and wide, and by divine grace, did not experience any accident on any of my trips.
Not limiting my appreciation to this year alone, at the beginning of each year, I always remember one of the scariest experiences I have ever encountered. This was when I travelled by road from Bama to Maiduguri in Borno State in a saloon cab as far back as 1989. I initially sat on the front passenger seat of the car, but a passenger asked me to shift as I was occupying his space. I immediately obeyed and moved to the rear passenger’s seat, just behind him. Another passenger came and claimed that I was seated on his seat, I then moved to the rear passenger’s seat behind the driver. As we waited for the last passenger to join us, an Elderly person came as the 4th and last passenger but insisted that I move to the middle seat. I reasoned with him and obeyed, and sat in the middle of the backseat.
As we travelled, the car was unfortunately involved in a ghastly accident. The driver and all the passengers were called to meet the Lord but only I survived. I immediately found an escape route and ran out of the vehicle screaming like a mad man. As God would have it, I then saw a family friend by name Sini Bugu, now late who was driving down to Michika, Adamawa State. He picked me up and took me home to the Maiduguri Specialist Hospital and reported the matter to my parents before continuing with his journey. I always remember this experience with gratitude because I survived by a slim thread. If anything had happened, I would have not been where I am today.
I also recall that I have been attacked by armed robbers 9 (nine) times in this Country but none of these incidences led to the loss of my life or any of my loved ones.
In 2010, I safely travelled essentially by road to every State capital and many major cities of Nigeria within a span of 6 months. I remember during one of my journeys by air that a plane which had just dropped me at my destination ended up crashing thereafter. Similiter, a plane that was coming for us to board, crash landed before arrival.
The question is, can I thank God enough? Definitely not.
These are things that when we move forward in life, we tend to forget and stop being grateful to our Creator for, rather, we focus on the negatives in our lives which may, at times, seem to overwhelm the blessings.
As the new year comes forth, I encourage each and everyone of you to look back through the years to experiences that you are grateful for but might have forgotten. I wish you a fulfilling new year and hope that you live your best life in 2022.
– Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama OFR, MFR, SAN
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