Tribute to Dr. Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau: A legal colossus, activist and Chairperson of NBA Abuja Branch [Unity Bar]
Tribute to Dr. Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau: A legal colossus, activist and Chairperson of NBA Abuja Branch [Unity Bar]

By Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN, FCIArb, C.Arb.

The 15th September, 2021, was a black-letter day for us at J-K Gadzama LLP. It was the day Dr. Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau said goodbyes and bid forever to us mortals. To say the news of her demise was shocking, sudden and saddening is in the least an understatement. It is a news we bear with such heavy hearts for such is life, very fickle and fleeting in moments! We however take comfort that life is but the sum of choices. This is even truer as vividly illustrated in the style and manner the amiable Dr. Hauwa Shekarau chose to live her life. And indeed she lived. She chose her paths, and purposefully so.

And left in her trails, giant strides. She walked the walk of greats. She was an amazon who dined amongst kings and queens and left enduring legacies, to outlive her in the race of time. She travelled down uncharted territories, discovered new discoveries, broke new bounds and conquered. And though stricken with grief, we are solemnly gladdening in the rainbow of sterling performances, capacity-building and ground breaking achievements which coloured the journey of our dearest Dr. Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau, here, in the land of mortal.

Our dearest Dr. Shekarau is a woman of big heart and I feel greatly blessed to have crossed paths with her. She was known in different capacity to different people. From her sojourn as a lawyer and women’s rights activist to being a Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) specialist, Dr. Shekarau had exhibited uncommon dexterity, hardwork, and determination in living up to the demands of each office and position.

Very illustrious, is Dr. Shekarau, well over 25 years’ post-call experience in women and child rights advocacy. She was National President of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Nigeria) between 2012 and 2015, served as a board member of several NGOs, and was a nominated delegate to the Nigeria National Conference 2014 as a representative of FIDA, always championing the course of justice in the overall, always a mother, always the voice of the voiceless, always a ready shoulder upon which the rights of women found relevance and overall upliftment.

Until her death, Dr. Shekarau was a “Bar-Woman” through and through. The Nigerian Bar Association has benefitted from her background of rich educational qualification and pool of global experiences as a Chevening Alumnus, having won the British Government Chevening Scholarship in 2006 which prepared her for further educational pursuit to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London in 2007 where she obtained a post-graduate Law Degree in Law and Development.

Dr. Shekarau was Financial Secretary and Treasurer of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch from 1997 to 1999 before her election to the exalted position of a chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch in June 2020. Quite notable amongst her many strives is the commitment to fostering unity on the backdrop of the many turbulences in the Unity Bar Branch of Abuja prior to her reign as the NBA Chairperson of the Unity Bar in 2020/2021.

In the death of Dr. Hauwa Shekarau, the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch and even at the National level, has lost one of its great leaders, one who at the time of her death was justly considered a bridge-builder, a beacon of compassion and a leader extraordinaire. The passing of Dr. Hauwa is an incalculable loss to the legal family, the female gender advocacy network, the human rights’ society, Nigeria, and the international community in general.

It is indeed hard to find suitable words to pay tribute to this remarkable woman. It is however fortunate that during her remarkable life, she had the satisfaction of knowing the high esteem in which she was held by her colleagues, especially my humble self.

Rest on.

For your life was a blessing,

Your memory a treasure,

You are loved beyond words,

And missed beyond measure.

JOE-KYARI GADZAMA, OFR, MFR, SAN, FCIArb, C.Arb. Chairman, Mentoring Committee of the Body of Benchers for Young Lawyers, Pioneer Chairman, NBA-SPIDEL (2006-2010), Chairman, NBA, Abuja Branch (2002-2004).

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