How my Dad raised me with iron hand—Festus Keyamo (SAN) + Day Dad flogged me over love letters from girls

Festus Keyamo @ 17 with friends on a hill top

Firebrand lawyer and human right
activist, Barrister Festus Keyamo
was one of the thirty Nigerian lawyers awarded the professional title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) by the Nigerian Legal Practitioner’s Privileged
Committee on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Keyamo
who came into limelight through controversial and celebrated cases he handled
in the past, and still handling for government and the society at large, has
been denied SAN eight times before he was finally awarded the coveted title on
his ninth trial. In this rare interview with FAMILY, a Nigerian magazine, Festus
told the story of his father, Pa
Mathias Egwarewa
Keyamo, the man
whom he described as his biggest inspiration in life. In this interview which
is re-produced by your soar away Africa’s 
number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika
in commemoration of Barrister Festus
new title, you will discover the revelation of facts about the
amazing relationship that exist between the well accomplished human right
lawyer and his father, who he said, shaped his life.  Enjoy the excerpts.

My Father by Festus Keyamo…

Festus Keyamo’s No Nonsense Dad,  Pa Mathias Egwarewa Keyamo

The erudite
human right lawyer started by telling the story of Pa Mathias Egwarewa
“Mr. Mathias Egwarewa, my
father will be seventy this year. The bubbling man we knew when we were growing
up, the very agile disciplinarian…to picture him at 70 blows my mind. This year
is very significant for me because my dad has reached that milestone and it is
something I really have to thank God for; that he has reached that age and we
are alive to see him clock that milestone”.
The Festus Keyamo before me…

The SAN boy as a Baby Lawyer

Barrister Festus Keyamo (SAN) gave an insight into how he
got his name “Festus Keyamo”. “Mr. Mathias
(his father) had a brother who
was named
Festus. Festus was suspected to have been poisoned
at the age of twelve, when
Mr. Keyamo
was seventeen years old
. The death of
his only brother would have a
pain in the recesses of his mind and would make him place a vow before
God; “If you give me back my brother; if he
should come back as my son, I would
that son, Festus, and I will protect
him with everything within my power”, he had vowed. A few years elapsed after
this solemn vow. The first son of Mathias
was born and was promptly named Festus,
after Mr. Mathias Keyamo’s brother”.
Growing Up with Dad…

Festus Keyamo….Standing 3rd from Left with Dad, sitting (4th Left) mum and relatives

On how he
was raised by his dad, the new SAN recalled “I
do not think I have seen any of my contemporaries who have a stricter
upbringing than me. My parents are members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So you can
imagine where I am coming from and the kind of discipline that was given to us.
We had no other life than preaching the word and going to school, no
extra-curricular activities, no life after school on the streets with my
friends or life at night with my friends”
“After school, there was no reason
why I had to go out and the distance between my school and my home was known to
my parents. They had a mental calculation of the length of time it would take
me to get home; any extra time would have to be accounted for by any of us”
“Our house was fenced and we were the
only one occupying the fenced premises. Once I came back from school, I had no
excuse to visit the next-door neighbor. My friends used to mock us for staying
in a fenced house. My father loved me so much because I am the first son. He
was especially attached to me because of his late brother—the original Festus Keyamo
More about my Father…

Festus Keyamo with Dad & Family

Proprietor of Festus Keyamo Chambers, Anthony
has more to say for his dad “My father is a hard man to the core; but I discovered that his being
hard is just a façade when in my first year
, in the university, I did not go home
for the holiday”.
Keyamo continued “I went to visit some people he had warned me against visiting. When he heard that I had gone to the place,
he asked
his friend to come to the
office with me
. When we got there he
asked me why I
visited the people
against his instruction
. I said
“Daddy, you know you have lived
own life; it is time for me to live mine”.
My father broke down in tears and said “If they want to get me,
they will get you, and if they get you, they have got
me, and if they get you I won’t have any reason to live again”. Seeing him crying, I knelt down and asked
for his forgiveness and promised him that I would not visit those people again.
It was then that I knew that I had to obey him because he obviously wanted the
best for me. I went back to university and faced my studies”
Rules as set out by Dad…

Festus Keyamo (SAN) with his Legal Father and first boss, Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN)

The very
influential Nigerian legal icon gave more revealing strategies his dad used in
grooming him to become the man he is today. Hear him “You do not go out; nobody
visits you
. Why, you wonder? My dad’s reason was “There is nothing for you and your visitor to say to each
other at home
. You had enough time to
to your friend while in school.
After school, why would your friends
visit you?”
Keyamo revealed more about the strictness of his dad “One day, he asked me: “What would you have to discuss with your
friends, apart from bad things?
would a 14-year-old come and discuss with another 14-year-old after school if
drugs or girls?” I thought of the
questions and concluded that he had a point”
How Dad treated my female guests on a

Festus Keyamo with one of  his pretty Daughters

Barrister Festus Keyamo (SAN) painted the picture of one
singular experience that brought him face-to-face in a son-to-father-clash
scenario. Hear what happened. “In those
days, I was an appreciable young man in school and some girls thought
that they needed to come and visit me at
. They said “That boy in that
we want to see him”. They came
and knocked and my father said
what do
you want? Don’t you have
parents in your home? Don’t you have homes to stay
after school? What are you visiting my son for? Get out of here”. Those
girls never came near my gate again”
My Day of Iniquity before Dad

Barrister Festus Keyamo (SAN)

Festus Keyamo (SAN) reeled out more tales of how
Dad groomed him out of naughtiness to happiness “During the valentine’s season, I would get plenty of mails and cards from the female members of
the student community. I kept all
the letters
and cards in a strong box,
which I
secreted in my room”.
“The most embarrassing day of my life
was when my father came across that box in which I kept all my letters. That box
was my box of iniquity. My father’s voice boomed out “Come here. Stand here.
Look at this box; are you aware of its content? “Come and explain your
relationship with each and every one of these girls. I started stammering. My
dad said: “Well, I am going to burn this box”. By this time, I was already
pushing class 4 and 5, so the beating was getting less and less and, that day,
for the first time, he did not beat me”.


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