PROLIFIC SUNDAY PEOPLE: MEET THE LAWYER, POET AND AUTHOUR CALLED ANTOINETTE-RITA OPEYEMI
“To be realistic today is to be visionary. To be realistic is to be starry-eyed”- Hubert H. Humphrey
PROFILE BY CERUTTI MEDIA GROUP
Antoinette-Rita Opeyemi Okoiye can best be tagged as a visionary lady and pride of the black race. Though a Commercial Barrister who originated from London, England. She completed her LL.M Master in Laws at the University of Chicago Law School in June 2014-graduated from The London School of Economics and Political Science in July 2012 and have been called to the Bar of England and Wales is not a run of mill lady
She IS a tested poet of over 700 poems, an author of two books, a song-writer of over 200 songs, and a motivational speaker to the youth.NOW AFTER A LONG SEARCH, she obliged us an exclusive audience and talks of her life and dreams, no doubt, she is lady that our today's ladies must look up-to for inspiration, enjoy the excerpt
PLEASE FOR BENEFIT OF HISTORY, LET US KNOW A BIT ABOUT YOU
With respect and humility, my name is Antoinette-Rita Opeyemi Okoiye and I am a Commercial Barrister originated from London, England. I completed my LL.M Master in Laws at the University Of Chicago Law School in June 2014. I graduated from The London School of Economics and Political Science in July 2012 and I have been called to the Bar of England and Wales. I am also a Commercial and Civil Law Mediator. Not only am I a trainee barrister in England and Wales, but I am a poet of over 700 poems, an author of two books, a song-writer of over 200 songs, and a motivational speaker to the youth. Antoinette-Rita is the President and Founder of Antoinette-Rita’s Education, Empowerment & Leadership Initiatives, a platform to Facilitate collaboration and partnership in the area of education, empowerment and leadership, promoting the growth, development and skills to people.
WAS ALL YOUR QUALIFICATION GOTTEN BY SELF EFFORT OR GOVERNMENT SUPPORT?
Before studying at LSE, I was awarded a New Futures Fund scholarship based on my 3 A-Level results in Economics, English Literature and History, and, my GCSEs of 6A*s and 4As. I was a young carer to my mother who has polio from the age of seven until I started university in England. I have received numerous awards for my accomplishments such as: Young Poet award in Florida in 2004 via the International Society of Poets, I came third place in an Institute of Economic Affairs competition in 2008, I won the Academic Excellence Award 2011 from the National African-Caribbean Student Society Awards, and, I won the Spirit of London Award for Achievement through the Arts 2011 courtesy of SOLA and the Damilola Taylor Trust, held at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall. I also received the Jack Petchey Achievement Award for outstanding achievement at Sea Cadets during the month of February 2003.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PUBLISHED WORKS
I have published two poetry publications entitled Purple & Blue – Inspirational Poems and the Blue Ocean – Peace, Power, Prosperity (Volume 1). I was also recognised as one of 100 of the UK’s most outstanding new black graduates courtesy of Future Leaders which was sponsored by Barclays, Google, University of Cambridge and Rolls-Royce in 2012, and, I won the PEN Award courtesy of Powerlist Ireland which recognises the 100 most influential Africans in Ireland and the United Kingdom in September 2012.
With my accomplishments, I have made a positive impact in terms of developing my skills, qualities, potential and ability, encouraging others around me especially those who have been in my position, but most of all, making my mother, who has polio and raised me single-handedly, proud. This included organising and hosting my music concert at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex (Theatre) in August 2011 where 500 people attended to watch me perform my own songs, dance and recite my poetry.
DID EX PRIME MINISTER CAMERON TRULY PAID ACCOLADES TO YOU ON YOUR WORKS?
In truth, Mr. Prime Minister, David Cameron, has expressed a fondness for my books in writing and when I met him inside 10 Downing Street on Monday 19th September 2011 (my actual twenty-first birthday). As a result of my success in poetry, music and academic attainment, Her Royal Majesty, The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, has written two letters to me, acknowledging and praising my achievements. I have received other letters from members of the Royal Family such as: The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST BOOK LAUNCH
As part of my work, on Monday 17th October 2011, I held a book launch of my second publication, The Blue Ocean, at The International Hotel in Canary Wharf, London where His Excellency, Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, attended as Chief Launcher and His Excellency, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida, Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK attended as Special Guest of Honour. Pictures of my book launch can be viewed online from my website: www.harmony-creation.com. Other guests included:
· The Right Honourable Mayor of Waltham Forest, Councillor Geoff Walker
· His Excellency Ambassador Dozie Nwanna (Nigerian Deputy High Commissioner to the UK)
· His Excellency Paul Akaro (South Sudan High Commissioner to the UK)
· His Excellency Nkwelle Ekaney (Cameroon High Commissioner to the UK)
· His Excellency Edward Turay (Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the UK)
As part of my Pro-Bono projects in the UK, since April 2013, I am a FRU Volunteer at the Free Representation Unit, providing free legal advice and advocacy to members of the community. I won my first case on 30 April 2013. Additionally, I was a Group Leader at Big Voice London for the International Law Group which works in conjunction with the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Big Voice teaches a group of youngsters about the UK legal system and focuses on bringing the voices of young people into legal policy. In particular, the International Law Group have been focussing on CEDAW, human rights and women’s rights. I also went to Geneva to visit the United Nations in July 2013 where the UK government was examined on its implementation of CEDAW.
WHAT ROLE HAVE YOU PLAYED IN NIGERIA LITERARY WORLD?
In Nigeria, I have piloted the use of poetry, creative writing, reading and music workshops and seminars as development methods for students, especially for those from SS1 to SS3 with support of the teaching fraternity in Ogun State, Nigeria with three Secondary Schools in Aiyetoro, Ogun State: (1) Alaye High School (2) Community High School (3) Comprehensive High School with over 400 students. The response to the series of workshops was very encouraging. The teachers, principals and students recommended that the workshop should be delivered at other educational institutions. As a result, I have received approval from the Ministry of Education of Ogun State, Nigeria and from the Director of Education Support Services of Ogun State, Nigeria in which I am permitted to go around all Secondary Schools in Ogun State to implement the workshops. The vision is to promote a reading culture, a love for poetry, a passion for writing and inspire the children to become writers and authors themselves, thus developing the creative, artistic and publishing sector of their economy and their community. As part of my writing, my article, ‘Has the European Court of Human Rights developed a coherent and convincing approach to the issue of offensive expression?’ has been included in BPP Law School’s Human Rights Journal 2013. Moreover, I won the NUBAA 2013 Nigerian UK Based Writer Award in September 2013. The Nigerian UK Based Achievers Award (NUBAA) is the pinnacle for the celebration and recognition of leadership, achievements, entrepreneurship, innovation and excellence. It is also a celebration of the Nigerian people, our culture, diversity and the true Nigerian values that bind us together as a nation.
Antoinette-Rita is an accomplished author, poet, songwriter and public speaker. She was called to the Bar of England and Wales and a Civil and Commercial Law Mediator.
Antoinette-Rita completed her LL.B in Law at The London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012, her Bar Professional Training Course at BBP Law School (London) in 2013, and she completed her LL.M Master in Law at The University of Chicago Law School in 2014.
Her accolades and recognition trickle down from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to Mr. Prime Minister David Cameron, and, President Olusegun Obasanjo. Antoinette-Rita has piloted creative writing and reading workshops for students and has been published in legal journals. Her Mother, Rev. Clothilda Kehinde Adeogo, is the President of Enhancement Centre for People with Disabilities, a non-governmental organization that supports the lives of disabled people. Antoinette-Rita’s work and journey encourages many generations who have been in her position. She wishes to inspire others to overcome their challenges, stay focused and determined, and enjoy reach their every potential in life.
A number of her awards include:
- Young Poet Award courtesy of The International Society of Poets
- Third place in an Institute of Economic Affairs treatise competition
- Academic Excellence Award courtesy of The National African-Caribbean Student Society Awards
- The Spirit of London Award for Achievement through the Arts courtesy of The Damilola Taylor Trust
- Writers’ Achievers Award courtesy of The Nigerian UK Based Achievers Award
- The PEN Award courtesy of Powerlist Ireland
- Future Leaders Award
- Honorary from Miss Africa USA Organization
- Achievement in Education Award courtesy of Panache Global Entertainment
- The Jack Petchey Award for services in The Sea Cadets
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