Life Bencher, Body of Benchers, Nigeria.
First Woman General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association.
First Woman Attorney General- Lagos State.
Hairat Balogun, OON
The first talent or determination I cultivated was independence.
Independence in words, thought and deed and the cultivation of a personal approach with the necessary mindset that I must start as I intended, and go on to the end. For instance, learning the Rules of Ethics and building relationships with other lawyers (Junior or Senior) and clients was important. I had to be bold but not rude, simple but not crude. Stick to your point without being offensive.
I was elected the first female General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association in 1981 (still the only woman lawyer to have held that post till date). We had six names on the Ballot Paper. Four male candidates had stepped down before the day of election leaving one male and myself as candidates. All effort to persuade the man to step down failed and he polled only six votes. I believe it was my activities over time within the Association including attending and speaking at meetings and conferences in the North, South, East and West of Nigeria that won the election for me. I did not engage in any person to person campaign. I had built up a reputation as a “Bar man” and had male and female friends from every part of Nigeria and had appeared in all Courts of the Capital Cities of Nigeria and had become a true professional.
I believe that all human beings are equal. Some of us have a large dose of a particular talent than others, it does not mean others are inferior. It is our duty to pull each other up, when you pull others down, you reduce your own level to that of a weak person.
Be very sure of the Truth and Justice in all points of view and always say “Heavens will not fall”. Your determination will win others over to your side. I always encourage everyone to have a mentor from whom you can take advice and alongside whom you can measure your success. If you receive approval for some task you have performed, keep that performance as a blueprint. As part of your character you will be known forever as “Consistent” --- not such a bad title if you can look up the meaning of this word. Certain talents endure for all times, honesty, firmness, kindness…… cultivate and exhibit them wherever you find yourself in life. They will always defend you.