Johnson Babalola
June 23, 2023

Saving Face to Ruin Others?

He was on time for his appointment with me. As he sat down across from me, his eyes became misty and as I said good morning to him, he responded with a cry. “The lawyer that represented me during my refugee claim has ruined my life.” He said. “First, here is a tissue. I will get you a cup of water and I want you to take your time and kindly calm down.” I said to him. I handed him a bottle of water which he drank in one gulp. He took a deep breath before saying, “thank you Mr. JB.”

“You made a very weighty allegation against the lawyer that represented you. What happened?.” I asked him. He took another deep breath and responded with “the lawyer did not help me. He did not tell me what documents to provide to support my claim and did not say anything at my hearing.”. “Are you absolutely sure about this?”. I asked.  “Very sure sir,” he said. I then asked to see the documents the said lawyer had printed for him when he asked for a copy of all documents in his file with him. He handed the envelope to me.

Taking my time, I went through the documents one by one. Then the following conversations occurred:

“Sir, you said your lawyer did not inform you of the documents to procure to support your claim.”.

“He did not”

“You still maintain that he said nothing at your hearing?.”

“Except for announcing his appearance and a few words he exchanged with the Judge, he said nothing else,”

“Contrary to your statements, I have in this package, a list of documents to procure sent to you via email, and about 9 emails sent to you at different times reminding you of the importance of providing documents to support your claim. Each time, you responded with ok. Two of the emails referenced phone calls to you and meetings with you to remind you of the outstanding documents, deadlines and the consequences of failure to provide the documents.”

“He included those documents in the package?”

“Yes. Not only that, but I also have here, the transcript of your hearing. During the hearing, while responding to the Judge’s question about why you did not provide supporting documents, you responded that you had been busy with work. You did not say that your lawyer did not inform you about the documents to procure. Also, you made all kinds of errors at the hearing. The Judge confronted you with all kinds of credibility issues. In addition, the transcript shows that the lawyer made submissions at length referencing case laws with passionate appeal to the Judge to grant your claim. He did a fantastic job in the circumstances. How many people have you told this made-up story about the lawyer to?”

“Just a few friends”


“I did not want them to think that I was not serious about my case. I decided to put the blame on the lawyer.”

“Then you built on that by coming to me to lie against a fellow professional or better still, a human being like yourself?”

“I am sorry I lied. I did not know the package he gave me contained all that information. He did a good job. I was the one that messed up. Not him.”

“Even if he did not send the information, I would have asked him to respond to your allegations. I have a duty to hear him out too.”

“Oh! You guys do that?”

“Yes, we do and we must. It is all about fairness.”

“I am sorry.”

“Why did you come here to lie?”

“I wanted you to take my case, have pity on me and help me.”

“At the expense of destroying another person’s reputation and business?”

“I am sorry. I have learnt my lessons.”

“Unfortunately, it comes down to trust. I am not sure you will not lie about me too at some point.”

“I promise I will not. God is my witness.”

“As God is our witness, I implore you to always be truthful. Nurture, and shield your integrity always. I am sorry, I will not be able to take your case. I wish you all the best.”

Johnson Babalola, a Canada and Nigeria based lawyer, leadership consultant, storyteller and corporate emcee, is a public affairs analyst. Follow him for discussions on real life issues that affect us all.

You can obtain a copy of his newly released book, REJECTED on Amazon, FriesenPress, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books, Nook Store etc.