Dr Muiz Banire (SAN) three-time commissioner in Lagos State and the Senior Partner at M.A. Banire and Associates turned 50 years on October 6, 2016.
To mark the Golden Age, a special prayer was held in his Oduduwa Crescent, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos residence that Thursday, October 6, 2016 morning. In the evening, another special prayer and lecture was in honour of the Birthday Boy at Bar Salam Motherless Babies Home on Joel Ogunnaike Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.
On Saturday, October 8, 2016, a grand party/lecture was organized for the celebrant by his friends at Eko Hotel & Suites, Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
ENCOMIUM Weekly was at all these events and interviewed the celebrator…
We want to wish you many happy returns on your 50th birthday, Sir.
Thank you very much.
How does it feel to turn 50?
You feel a sense of gratitude to God. 50 is a long number. I feel extremely gratified to God.
Do you feel your new age physically?
Can you still do most of the things you used to do in your 30s and 40s?
Certainly not. For example, I used to read for three days without sleeping. But now, I can’t do that anymore.
What are those childhood memories you still cherish?
I remember in my primary school, I used to address myself as Chief Justice. All my exercise books started with the prefix, Chief Justice Muiz Adeyemi Banire. Somehow, I ended up becoming a lawyer. That atimes give me a feeling that providence had a hand in my chosen profession.
What would you say have been the high points of your 50 years of life?
When I became the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN).
What are the low points of your life so far?
When people behave dishonourably. I believe that a human being must have some sense of honour. But when I see someone who is called honourable behave dishonourably, I become weak at the knees.
How did you find yourself in politics?
When I was in school, I always argued that people should not complain outside the ring. So, when I was in school, I was actively involved in students’ politics.
Of course, by the time I got out of school, I felt that there was a need for some of us to also go in (politics) and see whether we could add value to the system.
Somehow, God answered that prayer, we were able to give it (politics) our own best. To God be the glory. I am convinced that I put in my best.
Are you no longer in politics?
To a large extent, I am not.
But you are the legal adviser of APC.
Yes. But I am not so much active as I used to be before because of the nature of intrigues surrounding recent politicking. I also believe that somehow along the line suddenly, we have found hawks, scavengers and charlatans in the political arena. At that point in time you need to quickly exit before you are categorized along with them.
Are you saying you are taking your exit from partisan politics?
To the extent that I am still the national legal adviser of the party, no. But as soon as that is over, I think there are other complementary roles that one can play other than being in the political arena, that will also add value to the society and governance in general.
What lessons of life would you say you have learnt so far?
The first lesson is to believe in the wonderful work of God. Second, to surrender and submit yourself entirely and never struggle with God over anything. God decrees the occurrence of things. That I have equally learnt.
I have also learnt that contentment is one of the greatest assets that you can have.
Fourth, I have also learnt that whatever comes to you does not exclusively belong to you. It must have been given to you by God for your use and others. To that extent, you must be as charitable as possible towards others.
Another lesson of life I have learnt is never to be too trusting, particularly when you are dealing with people that call themselves politicians. It is lack of this trust among politicians that has taken us to where we are today.
There are so many desperadoes that are ready to go to any length to secure political power. If people have their basic preoccupations apart from politics, I am not too sure they will be that desperate.
What do you want God to do for you?
To continue to increase me in faith. That is my prayer to God always.
Is that all?
But there was a time you told us you want to become a SAN as well as a professor of law. Now, you are a SAN, do you still dream of becoming a professor of law?
With all sense of modesty, I am already over qualified for a professorial seat. The only snag is I am no longer in the university community to process it. I don’t know whether I still want to pursue that ambition or not. I am not sure for now.
Fundamentally because of time, it requires some preoccupation within the university system and I am not too sure I have the time right now. But in Islam, we say Allahu allam (God knows best).
It was also rumoured that you were interested in becoming the governor of Lagos state. Do you still nurse that ambition?
Not all of us are cut out for such things. I have better things to do. I can always contribute in any capacity. I don’t have to be governor or president to add value to the society. I can add value individually, collectively at any level. I don’t need the office to contribute to society.
I have never been interested in becoming a governor. Despite the fact that so many people tried to convince me, I have consistently told them that it is not something that I fancy. I have served within the term that I could serve and I have seen that I could add value outside the system.
Particularly in the situation we are now, money plays so much in the political process. I can’t imagine my hard earned money being distributed to people to come and give me burden to discharge. No.
When we get to politics of issue we will follow them. But not now that the entire political environment is polluted with money.
Tell us about your wife. How and where did you meet her?
I can’t recall the exact date but it’s probably around 1987. I met her through my friend who happens to be her brother.
How has it been since 1987 that the relationship started?
It’s been wonderful. Quite naturally, there must be challenges here and there.
- TOLANI ABATTI