Bravery has been a virtue in all civilizations since the beginning of time. In Yoruba it is known as “akinkanju” another Omoluabi principle. “Akinkanju” is the character trait that is displayed by courage in the face of risk or harm to an individual. Just as this trait is both lauded and coveted when possessed by another individual, it is also beneficial in the profession of law.
Success in the profession of law requires lawyers to represent unpopular causes and cases. This frequently comes with backlash from the community at large. Sometimes this even comes with backlash from the court itself. Pressing forward in the face of such opposition is impossible without bravery.
The Akinkanju virtue is equally important to being an Omoluabi. Just like a lawyer, an Omoluabi may be called upon to take a stand for truth and justice. This stance can be costly and requires courage. Defending the downtrodden is a task not only undertaken by lawyers, but is something that an Omoluabi will often be required to do.
Throughout history, countless people have solidified their status as heros because of their willingness to boldly embrace and display Akinkanju character. Many of these people have done so at great cost to themselves and has even cost some their lives. A fitting example of someone who was both an Omoluabi and a lawyer is the famed Nigerian lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi (1938-2009). He was an individual that suffered greatly because he refused to tolerate injustices from the government against the Nigerian people. He was frequently prosecuted and jailed for his convictions. Nevertheless, he was undeterred up until the time of his death. Even on his death bed, he rejected the country’s highest honour in protest for the state of affairs in his homeland.
Akinkanju is a trait that any Omoluabi can continue to cultivate. Courage when it is costly is a virtue that benefits us all.