By Ibrahim Dasin
I woke up this morning with the name of my first employer on my mind- Boss Gida Mustapha or Boss for short. He is the proprietor of AMAYA CHAMBERS, a Law firm in Yola but now located at Adamawa House in the Central Business District, Abuja with its Yola branch office at the BOI building on the road to Adamawa Press Ltd., Jimeta. He was and is still called BOSS but I have not yet asked him why his official name is BOSS.
As at 1986 when I completed my first degree from University of Maiduguri, it was compulsory for graduating Law Students to attach themselves to a Law Chamber for pupillage, while awaiting result of their final semester examination to determine whether they proceed to the Law School or repeat. Then there was only one Law school in Nigeria which is on Victoria Island in Lagos.
When I was in the University, the tallest and the most beautiful building in Yola was the three storey building called ‘Bornoma House’ along the Muhammadu Mustapha Way. Each time I passed by the building when I come to Yola from Dasin, my birth place, a village in Ribadu District of Fufore Local Government Area, I looked up to the last floor and would tell my self that I must work here some day.
Interestingly when I finished my last paper from UniMaid I came back home with a letter of introduction and request to take students on attachment from my Dean Faculty entitled ‘To whom it May concern’. Armed with the letter I walked straight in to Bornoma House. Back then Lawyers don’t hang Sign Boards outside the building housing their Chambers.
It was later at Law School that I was taught that it is unprofessional for lawyers to advertise. So sign Board indicating presence of a Law Firm on buildings must not exceed a certain diameter. So I looked up the in Reception inside the building and saw a small Sign Board reading AMAYA Chambers. I did not and still don’t know what ‘Amaya’ means. I walked up the stair case to the third floor as the Sign Board indicated and knocked on the door that had the indication ‘Amaya’. When a voice asked me to go in I opened the door gently and walked in. I met a light complexioned stoutly built Igbo man sitting behind an electric type writer. I introduced my self and handed over the ‘To Whom it May Concern’ letter to him. He opened, went through it and asked me whether I had an initial arrangement to see ‘Boss’. I looked dumbfounded.
I then summoned some courage and asked ‘who is Boss’? Then a younger looking person with brown teeth that looked like he had been on beer for too long asked me to sit down. He gave me a visitor’s form which I completed and returned to him. He worked in to the Boss’ office with the visitors form.
After awhile some body came out from the ‘Boss’ office holding a file and my form was taken inside by the man with the reddish teeth who ushered me in immediately. I later found out that the Igbo man I first saw was Alfred who still works with Boss as the Secretary to the Chambers while the reddish teeth man is Mr. Obadiah who was the messenger in the Chambers and now works with the Adamawa State House of Assembly.
Inside, I met Boss Gida Mustapha, a tall, handsome and well built man. His office was the most exquisitely furnished office I had seen. When I introduced my self he immediately asked me ‘when do you want to start’? With a shaking voice I said ‘today sir’. I did my Chamber attachment with him, then proceeded to the Law School in Lagos. After Law school I did my National Service with the Federal Ministry of Justice at Marina, Lagos. I returned to Yola in 1988 but when I went to see Boss I was told that he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and was in Abuja.
One day when he came from Abuja I went to the Chambers and met him. When I greeted him he said to me ‘Sadiq we have been looking for you. Go to the next office and meet your new Boss’. My new boss was Mr. DD Azura. We worked round the clock with DD Azura as my new Boss.
For Boss Gida Mustapha, his name and achievements inspired me. He was then the chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association Adamawa state. So in various law courts in the state when I introduced my self to judges that I was from the Chambers of Boss representing so and so client, my respect was different. I dreamt and hoped of being a great lawyer like him. Unfortunately Boss has jumped in to the murky waters of politics. I am now in the game too just like him. Most of my class mates could not believe till today that I am not in private legal practice.
I was involved in four cases while with Boss and I hope to live long to, one day, tell the story. These were the cases of Maliki Daniel Vs. Major Kurmi Chairman Task Force Environmental Sanitation, the case of Yusufu Hamman Yero Nyako Vs Adiel Kurda an election petition case, the case of Musa Dogo Bukar Vs Unipetrol Nigeria Ltd. in which we successfully got judgement from the Mubi High Court that made Unipetrol to uproot their petrol tanks from the Filling station at Marataba Gombi and a case of rape in which a young student in Numan lured his girl friend in to the bush on their way from school where his friends raped the girl by taking rounds on her in broad day light.
The lesson in this story is that Boss is a Christian, Kilba by tribe from Hong Local Government Area and he employed me a Muslim, Hausa/Fulani from Dasin in Fufore Local Government without asking me any question at all. This was the Adamawa of my dream.