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

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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 Keyamo 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 Keyamo’s 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 Keyamo “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 Keyamo (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 deep 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 call 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
The Proprietor of Festus Keyamo Chambers, Anthony Village—Lagos 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 your 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 talk 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? What would a 14-year-old come and discuss with another 14-year-old after school if not drugs or girls?” I thought of the questions and concluded that he had a point”
How Dad treated my female guests on a visit…
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 home. They said “That boy in that cage, we want to see him”. They came and knocked and my father said “Yes, 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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