Henry Okwudiri Ikwunemere (popularly known as Lord Henry) is the former Head of Chambers, Gani Fawehinmi Students Chamber and currently a Final year student in the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.
In his interview with Efemena Iluezi-Ogbaudu of The LSS Blog Committee, he shed light on the darker parts of his life and issues that his name has been attached to as he takes us on an amazing journey. He is our Student of the Week.
“If you would not like to be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” – Benjamin Franklin
Firstly, I’d like to tell you that this interview lasted a whooping five hours and at the end of that period, I was exhausted but believe me, It was worth it, It’s now up to you my readers to either make me feel useless for wasting my time or accomplished for putting together a good interview.
Lord Henry and I got off on a very good note. He was calm, relaxed and very interested in the interview. After telling me his full name which I would really not attempt to pronounce, not like my situation is any better, but I think we’ll all just agree that it’s a lot easier to just call him Lord Henry. Lord Henry had an “awesome holiday” but he blamed the elections for taking a large chunk of it. He disclosed that he has been actively involved as a volunteer in the campaign for “#CHANGE in Nigeria and continuity in Lagos and Imo states”. Lord Henry is from a family of four of which he is the first. He was born in Imo state, He lives in Imo State and is a native of Imo State. He is from Njaba Local Government Area. He revealed that he was raised by his grandmother who he still lives with. This isn’t shocking to his friends or people who have spent at least an hour with him as he refers to himself as his Grandmother’s First Son. He sees being raised by his Grandmother as the best aspect of his life for many reasons, one being the assumption she has that he is a child that always needs attention and guidance and the other being the lessons he learns staying with her. I became puzzled as to why someone who had lived in Imo all his life would decide to come to school in Lagos, so I decided to ask. Lord Henry revealed that after wrapping up his Junior Secondary School programme in Comprehensive Secondary School, Atta in Njaba LGA in Imo State, he attended Anthony Village High School, Lagos. He said that that his Mum’s fear of losing him to his Grandmother was a factor that necessitated his coming to Lagos. He also told us that he calls her “Auntie” as that is what he sees her as especially since he “hooked up” with his Grandmother when he was just 2 years old. After he completed his secondary education, he attended the University of Benin where he completed a Diploma In Law. He was also studying English/Literature before he finally gained admission to study Law in UNILAG. When asked about what/who influenced his decision to study Law, he lists his late kinsman, former NBA Chairman (Onitsha Branch) who was murdered in 2001 with his pregnant wife, Professor Uba Nnabue, the former Dean, Faculty of Law, Imo State University and the Current Commissioner for Tertiary Education in Imo State and also his encounter with the Legendary Gani Fawehinmi Chambers and his study on the icon himself. When asked about his early years in the faculty, he got really excited “Hmmm!…How time flies…Year 1 was like aaaah! I have finally made it to study law”. He also quoted Professor Yemi Osinbajo when he said he was proud of finally making it to “the Harvard Law School of University of Lagos campus”.
In clear language, the Benjamin Franklin quote up there simply encourages every person that reads it to not just live but leave a mark anywhere we find ourselves. Lord Henry’s time as the Head of Chambers, Gani Fawehinmi Student Chambers is definitely one that’ll go down in history especially as he and the Gani Fawehinmi Student Chambers Executives managed to drag the ever busy, still incumbent but outgoing Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola to their annual Colloquim to deliver a mind-blowing lecture. The Lord however stated that the Justice Rhodes Vivour Moot/Mock Trial is in his opinion the highest achievement of his administration. His journey with the student chamber is one that started as a result of his romance with the Gani Fawehinmi brand. He stated that after his registration, the first thing he did was look for the student chamber. He met Kingson Uwandu, the Head of Chambers then who was amazed at his enthusiasm about the Gani Fawehinmi brand. He became a juror even as a fresher and sees his UNIBEN diploma in law as the reason for that as it gave him a good understanding of law. In his sophomore year, he became the Academic Secretary/Head of Library and claims responsibility for the sanity and equipping of the only Student Library in the University. He also explained that being Head of the Gani Fawehinmi Student Chambers is a tasking job but since he prepared for the job before he took it up and with the grace of God he was able to pull through. He had words of praise for him team, #GaniEnterprise and reveals that they were all very good friends before they were elected into office. He also went on to say Professor Itse Sagay was Instrumental for most of their successes as a Chamber including the Annual Colloquim which he went on to admit enhanced his status in the University community.
On the 4th of December 2014, the faculty witnessed possibly the most dramatic Law Student Society elections ever. The build-up was even more dramatic as supporters of both camps threw everything at each other, from tearing of candidate’s banners to attempted slaps at the Manifesto Hearing Venue. Lord Henry was played a pivotal role and was an active member of the victorious camp, #TeamForward. However before he hopped on the Cornel Train, it is alleged that he had intentions of contesting himself. Lord Henry confirmed this and says that he would have contested as he thinks politics is a noble game and that only noble people should venture into it. However, he disclosed that after meeting with his very good friend, Cornelius Gabriel, the current Law Society President and discussing their chances and the danger of both of them contesting since they have the same supporters and loyalists. He went on to say that after he met with his team, he decided to concede to Cornel as regards the Law Students Society election and contest the Igbo Students Union Presidency instead. When asked about the conduct of the members of #TeamForward, he described the banner tearing allegations and the way the game of politics was played as unfortunate. He went on to say that it was all an attempt to bring down his candidate at all cost. “Malicious Propaganda” as he described it. He reiterated that nobody on the team engaged in the act of unfair play or banner tearing although he conceded that its sometimes impossible to control the actions of supporters. He clearly believes that his candidate was being victimized making reference to the poster which had his candidate’s picture superimposed with a very defaming inscription. He also went on to say that the commotion on the Manifesto day couldn’t have been blamed on his team.
The current President of the Igbo Students Association UNILAG made it clear that he is setting out to deliver the promises he made to the association members. He cites the size of the association as a challenge and states that the welfare of the people is his major emphasis.
”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – My Teacher in Primary School
Lord Henry is seen by many as the epitome of boredom, the pinnacle, the very height. However, he laughed off this statement citing his attendance at various social functions ranging from birthday parties to faculty organized events as his defence. He also went on to hail the University of Lagos as the headquarters of beautiful girls but also revealed that he is single. He went on to say that he has enjoyed a good relationship with a quite a number of the beautiful girls in his capacity as a student politician. He also says “without prejudice to his goons” that they have been his greatest strength.
Before I conducted this interview, word got to me that Henry Okwudiri Ikwunemere has something with a pretty girl from the Law Class of 18’. Without hesitating, Lord Henry gave me her name and also sent in a photo. He says that he sees her as the ideal girl but also that there was nothing concrete going on at the moment. In his words, “Yes, I see her as an ideal girl but nothing serious for now. That’s me and Tobe for now”.
“The empires of the future are empires of the mind” – Winston Churchill
Lord Henry was very excited when it came to future talk, he shocked me however when he said that in the next 10 years he sees himself lecturing law in classrooms. He also said he would also like to be a strategist/an adviser to politicians. He revealed his love for teaching and his dream to impact on a younger generation of lawyers.
When asked about his famous appellation “Lord Henry”. He said it was given to him in his first year in school after he became a Juror. He also disclosed that it was given to him by his classmates who were also his roommates. They started off by calling him Lord Denning as he quoted the legal luminary frequently and eventually swapped the legal luminary’s name for his. Lord Henry went on to say that he wouldn’t allow anybody hurt his Grandmother saying that she has given him so much in life.
“He was an amazing midfielder and passer of the ball” – Lord Henry on Paul Scholes
Lord Henry revealed that he is a Sports Lover and an avid supporter of Manchester United FC. He adds that Paul Scholes is his favourite footballer and expresses his unhappiness at the Legendary Midfielder’s retirement. He expressed his delight at the Class of 15’s victory at the last edition of the football event at the LSS Games. He also went on to say that they were going to try to defend their title and win it before they head for Law School.
When asked if he had any parting words or words of wisdom. He replied
“Be yourself and know yourself”
Efemena (For the LSS Blog Committee).