Legal Marriage: A Recommended Ambition For Every Lawyer
By Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.
Marriage though, is a union between the couples, the roles and duties of lawyers make marriage a mandatory ambition for every lawyer. This paper is a brief piece of advice for lawyers not to underestimate marriage conducted according to the legal procedures and to make that as their ambition.
As far as Nigerian Legal System is concerned, marriage (legal marriage) can be in three different forms vis-à-vis: marriage conducted under the Marriage Act; marriage conducted in accordance with the Islamic Law of Marriage (Personal Law); and marriage conducted under the Customary laws or tradition. Any of these three forms of marriages have the legal backup of the law. Each of them is a form of legal marriage. A lawyer may choose whichever that he prefers either based on his religious belief or based on his custom. Some lawyers might even not understand, with due respect to them, that marriage under the customary law or traditional marriage is a form of legal marriage when properly conducted according to such custom or tradition. Some might even not understand that pre-marital sex between intending couples are even prohibited under genuine custom or tradition. In fact, some customs or traditions frown at such misconduct and term it as an abomination! In fact, in some customs or traditions, the gods must be appeased with sacrifices and they even count it against the family where such female comes out from (though, this misconduct is majorly blamed on the woman rather than the man!). So, no matter how a man is pressed for sex, it is the most honourable for him as a lawyer or in the case of a woman who is a lawyer, to do the honourable thing by considering marriage rather than illicit sexual relationship!
Furthermore, marriage might seem much cost as being unbearable, but illicit sexual relationship costs more and its price could even cost the lawyer his profession or his life! For instance, few years a go, I had defended a lady that alleged that he was raped by a lawyer. The lady was a snacks seller in the premises of the High Court of the FCT-Abuja where the lawyer always performed his professional duties of appearing in court and used to patronize the said lady. Then, one day, (and one night), the man who had used style to collect the lady’s phone contact, left Abuja to meet her at Nasarawa State and lured the her into a hotel and forcefully raped her several times despite the lady’s shout and pleas! The matter was reported to the police and the lawyer was arrested while still trying to do the same the second time and turn the lady to his sex machine! He was arrested in Abuja and taken to Nasarawa State (the scene of the crime) and there and then, the story went on. The issue here is how such a lawyer has made himself so dishonored and so low to have out of every other reputable individuals, even among his lawyer friends or colleagues, only be attracted to such snacks seller! The truth is that, marriage is much more advisable for a lawyer and much more honouring!
Furthermore, Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conducts for Legal Practitioners, 2007-herein after referred to as the RPC- is a leading code for lawyers which provides thus ‘A lawyer shall uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and shall not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner’. (Underlining is mine for emphasis). So, the issue of legal marriage is nonnegotiable for every lawyer!
Nevertheless, I must pick out important observation in these three marriages. A lawyer should know that if he marries under the Marriage Act, there are consequences which means that it is a union of one man-one wife. Also, if he marries under the Islamic Law of Marriage, it is a marriage that entitles a man to marry up to four (4) wives under his control. And marriage under customs or traditions is governed by its principles. The only thing that I have observed is that, depending on the custom or tradition, the man is allowed to marry wives up to an indefinite number so far he can finance them in the marriage. So, it remains the best for a lawyer (both male and female) to sit down and know what type of marriage that he or she would like to conduct. In any case, any of the three marriages is a legal marriage and is supported by law.
Finally, it is hoped that this brief piece of advice would guide lawyers towards a fulfilled life! I also congratulate those lawyers who have the ambition to do the legal marriage and I pray that God Almighty will assist them towards achieving their ambition!