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I had carefully crossed the four lane Oshodi/Apapa Expressway after I alighted from a Mile 2 bound Danfo bus. I was fagged out from the days job but not too tired to notice a large crowd of  people watching a fight between a Danfo Driver and an Agbero. I quickly took a good place amongst the spectators. In today’s world where people paid as high as a $100, 000. 00 to watch a Mayweather v. Pacquiao bout, who would reject a more exciting offer to watch a street fight for free.

It didn’t take long for the driver to knockout out the Agbero before the end of round one (now that’s a record that will make even the world’s greatest Muhammed Ali jealous) and our Agbero was reduced to a badly bruised and bleeding pulp. Satisfied and heeding to pleas of some of the female spectators who feared it could quickly end like a Roman gladiator’s fight to the death, the driver entered his bus and nearly ran over the near dead Agbero but for the timely intervention of spectators who quickly dragged the latter off the driver’s path.

From the commentary of a female commentator at the scene, I learnt that the fight was caused by the Agbero who had shattered the drivers back windscreen for refusing to pay the usual “money for the boys” tolled on buses at every bus stop. The driver on noticing he was alone and without backup had stopped his vehicle, came down and taught him the lesson of his life. I had really enjoyed the fight and rued the fact that it was too short. Seeing one of those pompous sons of a gun dealt with by a driver thrilled me to no end as we continued to stare at the near lifeless figure of the Agbero with a bloodied face.

Suddenly a woman suggested the Agbero could be dead and we were all scampering to safety as we feared the Police could in their usual manner swoop on us and make a mass arrest of those at the “murder scene”. It took a very wonderful observation from another spectator to stop us in our tracks.

“Why is he holding so tightly to the money in his hands if he is dead? Dead person dey hold money like that?”

The male spectator had asked. That drew boisterous laughter from the crowd as we all saw the unconscious Agbero’s fist was tight clutched on the wads of currency he had collected.

I never stopped laughing as I continued my journey home on foot. Watching the local Mayweather/Pacquiao bout had relieved me of bottled up tension which was all I needed, I didn’t want to see the loser of the fight regain consciousness or even die. I then remembered something that made me stop in my track.

Many people believe all a lawyer lives, breathes and dies for is money. In fact my dad drums me into my ears that the only good lawyer is a dead lawyer and that the only way to certify if a lawyer is dead is to dangle Naira notes (Naira is too local, Dollars or Pounds Sterling would do) over his face and if he doesn’t wake up, then pronounce him dead (so we ain’t much of a different bunch from the Agbero who held tight to his money in his near death state).

My old man is not done, hear him;

“You have no Senior Advocates of Nigeria (referring to SANs), all you have are Senior Advocates of Naira. Your law school or LLB curriculum should include a course on public interest litigation to help you guys change your money hysteria.”

A penny for your thought! I know you are wondering why my father despite his hatred for members of our stock trained one. Lemme shock you further! He was my greatest supporter when I made my career choice. In fact he convinced me I would make a good lawyer and could still remain a writer (which was my childhood dream) even as a lawyer. My journey into law would be the subject of another story someday.

Another shocker! My dad worked with the Federal Judiciary for 35 years and thus interacted closely with numerous lawyers and judges so you can’t dismiss his “hatred” for lawyers as a mere fluke. He drums it into my ears anytime he has the chance, “I don’t like lawyers”. But trust my mum to come to my defence and ask him, “why did you train one?” His usual refrain would be “though my son is a lawyer, I don’t like lawyers”.

Well I just hope the day I buy him the latest Range Rover Sports from my earnings as a lawyer he will reject it (now I know he will scream “God forbid” when he reads this part. Forgot to tell ya he is my greatest fan).

So before you ask me that rhetorical question “why does everybody hate lawyers?” (yea, it’s rhetorical cos I don’t have an answer), I will respond by asking you “how come every family wants to have a lawyer?”

Hmmm! Your perfect love-hate irony or better still what I termed “admirational hatred” in my earlier piece, the Naija Lawyer’s Hustle.

There is a thin line between love and hate. Many a time, what we hate most is what we desire but can’t have. In Nigeria where everyone is a doctor at least with respect to his health needs, not everyone can to be a lawyer and be accorded the respect and dignity accorded lawyers (or have the unique lawyer’s swag!).

So it’s simply a case of hating what you don’t have or better still what you can never have. So if it is made illegal to love lawyers, we would understand and won’t complain. Haters are welcome! Or what other explanation can one have?

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Maduka Onwukeme is an Attorney, Creative Writer and Business Consultant. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook or on Linkedin

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