In this biography, we’d share with you how Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and one of the young and vibrant legal practitioners in Nigeria who handled controversial matters became famous after his audacious move against the regime of Nigeria’s late despot.
- Full name: Festus Egwarewa Adeniyi Keyamo
- Date of birth: 1970
- Birthday: January 21
- State of origin:Delta
- Local Government Area: Uvwie L.G.A
- Geopolitical zone: South-South
- Alma Mater: Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma, (formerly Bendel State University)
- Political affiliation:APC
- Wife: Isioma Irene Keyamo
- Children: Nicole Keyamo (Daughter) and Festus Keyamo jnr (Son)
As the Director of Strategic Communications, he victoriously led the second term campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari and in July 2019, he was appointed a Minister.
He was initially assigned to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as Minister of State, but due to his resourcefulness, he was reassigned to his present position.
He was appointed as a member of the Board of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in 2018, an appointment he had to resign from when he was appointed a Federal Minister.
Festus Keyamo, a lawyer, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, FCIArb (UK), social crusader, critic and columnist was promoted on September 18, 2017, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
His Early life
Keyamo was born in Ughelli, Delta State, Nigeria on Wednesday, January 21, 1970. His father who hails from Uvwie L.G.A, near Warri, in Delta State while his mother hails from Yewa South L.G.A in Ogun State.
He is the first son and third child in a family of seven children. Festus Keyamo had his primary education in Oharisi (Model) Primary School, Ughelli, from 1975-1981, then Government College, Ughelli, 1981-1986 and moved on to his Higher School Certificate (HSC) course in the same school.
Before his HSC course was completed, he gained admission through JAMB in 1988 into the then Bendel State University, (now Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma, in Edo State, where he obtained his LL.B degree (Second Class Upper) in 1992.
On December 15, 1993, he was called to the Nigerian Bar preparing for an interesting career in law. Later on, Keyamo headed to the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in the United Kingdom where he qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK).
Legal Career and Activism
He started his legal practice with Gani Fawehinmi Chambers in Lagos State, southwestern Nigeria, at the peak of the agitation for the revalidation of the June 12, 1993 election.
Even as a young lawyer, he was at the fore front of legal activism with Chief Gani Fawehinmi and had an excellent performance in some landmark cases there that he was awarded Best Lawyer in Gani Fawehinmi Chambers in March, 1994.
After he left Gani Fawehinmi Chambers in 1995, he had a brief period in a partnership and then established his own law firm, Festus Keyamo Chamber, which has since developed rapidly with three offices in Lagos State, Abuja Federal Capital Territory, Warri in Delta State and liaison offices in many other states with over 23 lawyers and more than 30 para-legal staff.
Before his appointment as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Keyamo was one of the private prosecuting counsels for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). In that capacity, he prosecuted some politicians on behalf of the Commission.
In his almost thirty years in legal practice, he has handled a number of contentious, statutory, and milestone cases in virtually all branches of the legal profession, and several pro bono cases.
Keyamo also has a strong history of social and legal activism. He partnered with his late boss in 1994, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and other pro-democracy activists in a movement against the then military rule, and for that, he suffered series of arrests and detentions in prison.
In 2009, he incited an investigation into the leadership of the Federal House of Representatives over suspected extravagance and mismanagement of public funds in the purchase of 380 units of 407 Peugeot Cars.
His crusade for accountability by the Legislators led to the subsequent investigation, arrest and trial of the House Leadership. The case is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, Nigeria.
While working with Chief Gani Fawehinmi, they both partnered again to launch the National Conscience Party which was originally created to challenge the military rule. He was the first Northern Coordinator of the Movement.
In 1997, he formed the Youth Against Misguided Youths that equipped thousands of youths to face the self-succession bid of General Sani Abacha.
Keyamo has been audacious with the authorities. He has been arrested several times in prisons and cells throughout the country because of his crusades for justice, human rights and against corruption.
This also resulted in him faced with series of court charges that were all later dismissed.
The United States Global Leadership Council in Washington awarded him with the Global Human Rights Award for his efforts over the years in respect to protection and promotion of human rights and the crusade for accountable governments in Nigeria.
On May 5, 2018, he was also awarded the Defender of Press Freedom Award from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
A man of remarkable passion and dogged spirit, he was conferred with other honours which includes:
- Best Single Advocate of Nigeria Law Students, (Taslim Elias Moot Trial Competition) 1992
- Best Lawyer, Gani Gawehimi Chambers (March, 1994);
- Honorary Alumni of various Students’ Associations;
- Activist of the year (2001) by the Students Union, University of Jos;
- Listed in the New Who is Who in Nigeria, 2003;
- Nominated for the World Medal of Honour, 2003, by the American Biographical institute, in 2005.
He was conferred with the chieftaincy titles of Ogba-uri of Ogor Kingdom (Strong man of the law) 2005 and Omorokaro of Uvwie Kingdom (The child who leads the way) 2011 in Delta State but rather chooses to be called ‘Mr. Hobbies’.
He used to be a weekly writer with The Sun Newspapers. He is a zealous fan of Arsenal Football Club of England and Warri Wolves FC of Delta State.
Festus Keyamo’s mother is Caroline Abeni Keyamo while his father is Pa Matthias Keyamo
Kayemo’s wife and children
Isioma Irene is Keyamo’s wife and their union is blessed with a boy and a girl: Nicole Keyamo and Festus Keyamo jnr
Contact details of Festus Keyamo Law Chambers in Nigeria
He has three major chambers across three Nigeria’s major cities: Lagos, FCT and Warri
- FCT, Abuja: No. 13, Nouakchott St, Near Keystone Bank, (formerly bank PHB), Wuse, Zone 1, Abuja FCT
- Warri: No. 1, Festus Keyamo Close, Off Agric Road, G.R.A Effurun, Warri, Delta
- Lagos: No. 1, Festus Keyamo Lane, Off Gbagada Expressway, Behind Hotel Newcastle, Anthony, Lagos State.
Festus Keyamo Phone numbers:
His official website is festuskeyamo.com