Personality profile is a special report brought to you on, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis by OurWorldGist on distinguished persons in Africa and beyond.
The report highlights the early life of a particular person in focus, his/her educational background, career, and achievements in life.
In this year, 2021 edition of the report, we feature a profile of a legal practitioner, who has distinguished himself in the legal parlance which of course has earned him a fame in Nigeria and beyond culminating him be conferred with a title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); before then, he was a road side Mechanics/ Taxi Driver, a Man from a humble background, he is a rear symbol of an ideal African man, well mannered, intelligent, a socio-political and legal Analyst, a social media influencer, God Fearing Man, a Philanthropist – kind hearted, accessible, charismatic and dogged man with a resemblance of a handsome man “Alikali” described in “Igala Tale” … he goes by the name Jibrin Sam Okutepa (SAN)
Before we continue, it is pertinent to stress here that this recognition by us at OURWORLDGIST to feature Jibrin Sam Okutepa as the personality man of the year on our site is never influenced or induced by money rather, Jibrin Sam Okutepa has ‘personally’ earned the recognition as he has appeared on our site more than any of our client in the year 2020 with not just some quality contents but on trending issues.
In case you are not too familiar with the site, ‘OURWORLDGIST’ let us briefly say that Our World Gist ( www.ourworldgist.com ) is one of the fastest growing online news site in the sub saharan Africa with followers around the world which is hosted on opera mini and by implication, opera mini followers are equally our followers.
Our world Gist News site with a permanent staff strength of fifty two (52) and many causal staff cutting across the Nation, Nigeria and even in some parts of Africa countries like, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Cape Verde, Niger Republic, Cameroun, Gambia, Gabon and Egypt has its office located in Abuja: Front of NIKI HOTEL, off Giri Airport Road, Anagada, FCT, Abuja and is currently being managed and financed by Omakogi Business Ventures, a business entity registered with CAC since 23rd April, 2012.
At this point, while congratulating J.S Okutepa for being considered as personality man of the year on this prestigious site, OURWORLDGIST, we also use this medium to encourage many of our clients to intensify effort and come up with quality contents as we intend to make the recognition monthly or quarterly.
One interesting and irresistible aspect of this profiling is where J.S Okutepa himself revealed how he navigated his way to become SAN as a road side Mechanics/ Taxi Driver.
Hence, for those of you who think, he was born with silver spoon, you have a lot to take home here.
Thus, in a bid to dig deep into his personality, when OURWORLDGIST asks him about his childhood, he has this to say:
“ I, J.S Okutepa , did not have the benefits of attending full primary school. I started my primary education on the 3rd of September 1977 in a Local Government Primary School, Ogbogbo in the present Igalamela LGA of Kogi State; I started in primary 2; due to my exceptional performance, I was moved to primary three and after successful completion of my class 3, I went to learn motor cycle mechanics. Note, ‘I started primary school without the support of my father who did not want me to go to school as ‘I’ was the only child attending to his needs. In 1980, 1, Okutepa escaped from Idah to Enugu where I went and enrolled at Igbuebike Commercial school at 47 ogidi Street Ogui street Enugu state. However, due to hostilities of the environment, I left Enugu for Mararaba Bayelsa in Takum Local Government Area of Gongola state now Taraba State. I sat for my first school leaving certificate in April 1980 at Takum Local Government School Board, Mararaba. In 1980 also, I joined the Benue State fire Service and trained as Fireman. While in Fire Service, I enrolled as External Candidate for GCE ordinary level in 1982 in five subjects and passed all papers at credit levels. I had done many minia jobs in order to keep body and soul together, for example, I was a road side mechanic, I was a tax driver and I used the proceeds from these minia jobs to train myself in the various schools I went”.
Wao! a very reach and humble background you may say but OURWORLDGIST is not done with him yet as we went further to demand about a brief of his personality and here is the summary of his person:
Jibrin Samuel Okutepa is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN. He is the founding Partner of J.S. Okutepa SAN & Company; a law firm based in Abuja, FCT, with branches in Makurdi, Benue state and Lokoja, Kogi State, North Central Nigeria.
He is a graduate of the Faculty of Law University of Jos where he obtained his LL.B. (Hons), and was called to the Nigerian Bar on the 12th of December,1991. He is an astute legal practitioner of great repute and industry.
J.S Okutepa, SAN and dedicated member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) both at the national and branch levels. He held a variety of positions in NBA Makurdi Branch from 1993 to 2008. He was the financial secretary, Publicity Secretary, Secretary and 1st Vice Chairman of NBA Makurdi Branch between 1993 and 2008. He was a member of General Council of the Bar. He was a Member of the National Executive Committee of NBA, from 2004 till 2018.
After several years of distinguished legal practice, he was conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, on the 7th day of July 2011, by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, LPPC, and sworn in on 26th August 2011 by the Chief Justice of Nigeria. He was the only legal practitioner from Kogi State that was conferred with the rank of SAN in 2011.
He became a member of the Body of Benchers, March 2017 and served till March 2020. The Body of Benchers as established under section 3 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1962 as amended, Cap L.11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, is the body of Legal practitioners of the highest distinction in the legal profession which is responsible for the formal call to Bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners as well as discipline of erring lawyers in Nigeria. He is also a member of Body of Benchers Mentoring Committee.
J.S Okutepa ,SAN specializes in Pre and Post-election matters, Criminal litigation, Civil ligation, Constitutional law, Commercial law practice, to mention but a few.
He is a highly experienced election petition practitioner; an expert in pre and post-election cases and has handled election petition cases before Tribunals as lead counsel for winners and losers of elections in Nigeria since 1998. He has led other lawyers in many election petition Appeal cases before the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Court of Appeal for State Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members amongst other appeals in election petition cases.
Mr. Okutepa, SAN is a recipient of various awards of recognition including the NBA presidential award for meritorious service to the Bar. He is a highly respected authority and conference speaker particularly on Criminal procedures in Nigeria Courts, Litigation and ethics. He is also a notable analyst and commentator on Legal and National issues and features regularly on invitation by the press.
He has written variously on many issues on law and has contributed in many journals, articles and published books which are strong reference materials in the Profession.
Mr Okutepa’s practice of law has a profound reputation for his doggedness, depth and demanding qualities. It is because of these qualities and the outstanding demonstration of his value for ethical standards that successive Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association appointed him the Chief Prosecutor for the NBA at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) since 2012.
He held the position of Chief Prosecutor for NBA at LPDC between January 2012 and October 2017, before he resigned.
At the International Level, Mr. Okutepa, SAN is a member of the following Professional Associations:
a. International Bar Association (IBA)
b. American Bar Association (ABA), International Section,
c. Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA).
d. African Bar Association
e. Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)
f. International Bar Association, African Regional Forum.
Mr. Okutepa, SAN’s hobbies include Teaching, Reading, Soccer, Writing and Travelling.
In our quest to know more about the learned Silk, J.S Okutepa ( SAN ), our writer, Sani Michael Omakoji
had the privilege of going through his citation when he was sworn in as “Senior Advocate of Nigeria” in 2011 and he had no option than to extract the information below even though some of those revelation were earlier highlighted but this time around with deeper explanation:
” J.S Okutepa ( SAN ), Esq., SAN did not attain his present status by a sudden flight. An objective examination of this noble man, also called ‘Okus the Law’ unveils a man who from core privation, obscurity and a background that offered little hope for a top place in an emerging civilization, has by explicit, positive and unequivocal choices coupled with tenacity of purpose risen to this place of honour and esteem in the legal profession.
The 3rd son in a family of six, J.S Okutepa and close associates started his primary education at Benue State Local School Board (BSLSB) Primary School, Ogbobo, Igalamela LGA, Kogi State on 3/9/1977 at an adult age of over 17 years!.
The learned Silk was born at a time when western education was only appreciated by the elites, a time when sending a child to acquire western education was a sign of hatred by parents in rural areas and reserved only for stubborn children.
He suffered this fate, more so as he was so loved by his father who wanted the best for him within the context of the then prevalent rural mindset.
Like every great man, Sam J.S Okutepa Esq., SAN made choices and hard ones at that when against the wishes of his father, he took his destiny by the horns and enrolled into primary school at class 2 without the certainty of a sponsor.
This hard decision was rewarded when due to his exceptional performance the learned Silk was promoted to primary 3 after his first term in primary 2.
Once again, it proved true that great men do not win just a battle and go on to succeed without more; Mr. Okutepa could not complete his primary education at BSLSB Primary school as result of the hostility of the environment.
He took flight from his father’s compound in Apata, and went to Idah town in Kogi State to stay with his brother, Mallam Paul Okutepa between 1978-1979.
While with his brother he became Motorcycle Mechanic. He was subsequently invited to stay with his eldest brother, Mr. Haruna Okutepa who was serving in the Nigerian Army in Enugu.
Mr. Okutepa left Enugu again because of the depth of hostility that he had to survive there. These all laid the foundation to the realization that great men must be ready to start and stand alone in the formative years. People would come in droves when the unknown name becomes a song.
According to Alexander Pope “A little learning is a dangerous thing….” Mr. Okutepa realized this and proceeded to Takum Local Government Primary School, Mararaba in far away Taraba State to complete his primary education in 1980.
His adventure to Taraba State paid off as he obtained his primary certificate after being received and housed by his kind hearted maternal uncle, Late Sgt. Abraham Egbunu Amodu Uwani.
In his resilience and determination to acquire western education despite all odds, he sat for common entrance examination into a community secondary school but was not admitted for inexplicable reasons. Yet he was too determined to be deterred! He realized early in life that our greatest glory does not lie in never falling, but in rising each time we fall.
It was Booker T. Washington who said that, “success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
Enamored with the twin virtues of honesty and hard work, Okus the Law proceeded to Makurdi, Benue State to look for employment.
He was recruited into the Nigerian police force. He did not see this as his destiny and declined. Is it then surprising that our dear J. S. Okutepa Esq., SAN, is a trained fire fighter by the Benue State Fire Training School, Makurdi between 1980 and 1981?
He was awarded with a Basic Certificate in fire fighting and prevention. Little wonder he spits fire in court!
Drawing from the above and many more that we cannot capture in black and white, the learned Okus who did not have the luxury of attending a formal secondary school forged ahead and God kept the way open. Okus the Law was super driven and could not accept where he found himself.
The story brings to mind the wisdom of Helen Keller who said, “one can never consent to creep when he has an impulse to soar”.
He had a focus and knew where he was going, he could not creep. He studied at home and sat for G.C.E. O’level and to the chagrin of skeptics, made all his papers in one sitting in 1982.
Destiny was beckoning, and the man behind the mask was answering, because one day the mask of obscurity would give way to a song of victory!
In furtherance of his drive and empowered by the grace of God, the learned Okus thereafter proceeded to the School of Basic Studies, Makurdi, to prepare for entry into the University.
In SBS, J.S.Okutepa Esq, SAN, had to drive taxi to take care of himself and family, as he was sponsoring himself in the school.
Thus J.S Okutepa was a taxi driver between 1985-1987 Characteristically, his record in SBS, Makurdi gave him a straight ticket to study Law at the first rate university of Jos.
This was between 1987 -1990. As a university student, he was very vocal and fought against any form of oppression and abuse of student’s rights.
He was the driver of the bus of fellowship of Christian students (FCS). This journey continued and the learned J.S. Okutepa with his (LL.B Hons.) proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos in 1990.
The dream was closer and the goal was in sight. After the mandatory one year training and having been found worthy in character and in learning, he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1991. To say the least, 1991 then became the foundational ticket to take flight into the event of this day and the years to come.
In a pragmatic allusion to the immutable words of the Great Zik of Africa that “we learn how to walk by walking and that is the first principle of all pedagogical methodology”, J.S Okutepa Esq. joined the Law firm of Mssrs. F.M. E. Nezan & Co., Makurdi to “cut his legal teeth” between 1991 and 1992.
Thereafter, he joined the firm of Mssrs E.A. Haruna & Co. Makurdi between 1992 and 1993. Having paid his dues in the two leading law firms above in pupilage, he co-founded the law firm of Mssrs. Agamah, Okutepa & Co., Makurdi in 1st April, 1993 as the Principal Partner/Managing solicitor. The firm was later rebranded and registered as J. S Okutepa and Company 15th January, 2005.
J.S. Okutepa, Esq., SAN, is a quintessential representation of a generation of ethical legal luminaries and a man of prodigious cognitive powers. Armed with a consummate knowledge of law as a ready tool, he has used his practice to fight for the cause of the common man through several pro-bono cases.
He is a house hold name among students and youths both within and outside Makurdi and has become a ready conveyor belt of human rights tomahawks in his jurisdiction and beyond. He gives out sacrificially without counting the cost.
This iconic legal salamander has held several positions of responsibility at both socio-intellectual and ecclesiastical levels. As a professional Bar man, he has at various times held the following positions at both the local Bar and National levels. These include: Financial secretary, NBA, Makurdi Branch-(93-98), publicity secretary, NBA Makurdi Branch-(2000-2002), Secretary, NBA Makurdi Branch- (2006-2008), Member NBA NEC (2004 – date), Member, NBA Continuing Legal Education Committee (2004-2006), member, NBA section on Legal practice, Council member, NBA SPIDEL, member, Electoral Laws Reform Panel of the NBA, Appointed Notary Public of Nigeria (2001), Legal Adviser, Students Union Government, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Member, International Bar Association (IBA).
He has also received numerous award from his kinsmen and other organizations in recognition of his efforts and contribution to society at different levels, they include: Officer of the Igala Kingdom (OIK) on 28th Feb. 2009; Student Union Government, University of Agriculture, Makurdi for Meritorious Services to the Union and the Nation; Achiever of Justice, by National Association of Igala Students on 20th August, 2005; Humanitarian selfless Services to the Igala Nation by Igala Student Association, University of Agriculture, Makurdi; Distinguished Kogi State Son, 2011 by the National Association of Kogi State Students (Benue State University chapter; Defender of Justice by Igala Cultural & Development Association, Makurdi Branch and Rotary Prestigious professional service award by Rotary club, Onitsha.
In tandem with the words of Alexander Pope that “the world is like a book and those who do not travel read only a page,….” The Learned Silk has travelled to several countries including Spain, Canada and the United States of America amongst others. He did not only drive taxi to sustain himself and his family while in school, he has today read the other pages of life.
Understandably, J.S Okutepa Esq., SAN is not in doubt that he is where he is today because the Architect of the universe has been generous in His unceasing grace towards him. He owes everything he has and everything he has become to the abiding grace of God.
He also shares the views of Luis Nizer that He who brags that he is a self made man, relieves God of an awful responsibility”. He is a devout Christian. A choice he made consciously. Denominationally, he is a proud and committed member of the Living Faith Church (worldwide aka Winners). He was ordained an Assistant Pastor in Living Faith Church in 2009, in recognition of his devotion and commitment to the cause of the spread of the gospel.
As a man who believes in the inherent values of family life, J.S. Okutepa Esq., SAN is married and blessed with 7 children amongst who is Ocholi O. Okutepa, Esq.
Photo Gallery of J.S Okutepa and Members Of His Family/ Colleagues:
It is S. Epistle who said that “men often do not care how nobly they live, but how long, although it is within the reach of everyman to live nobly ….” J.S. Okutepa Esq., SAN has lived a very noble life culminating in what we are celebrating of him today and tomorrow to come.
While wishing our Excellent J.S Okutepa with such a scaring CV more wins at the law ahead, OURWORLDGIST is also committed to bring his reactions on both national and local issues your way in the days to come,
To Be Updated!
Sani Michael Omakoji
A Blogger / Content Developer