Chief Robert Isaac Clarke was born in July 11,1938 to a British father who came to Nigeria in the early 30s as a Civil Engineer working in Jos. His mother was a Hausa-Fulani from Bauchi. His father named him Isaac while his Muslim mother named his Isa. The 73 year old Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN speaks on his life, challenges and how he was able to overcome seeing that he was just four months when his father died.
I was four months old when my father died and that was when I started my journey as a child. We were four children, two boys and two girls. The eldest sister and I are the only surviving children of my parents.
My mother re-married and had three other boys for her new husband. When my father died, she was relatively a young woman so my father’s friends asked her whether she wanted to keep us because my father’s friends were all Europeans. So, she decided she would re-marry. I, being the youngest after sucking her breast came to Lagos and we (my elder sister and I) were adopted by our father’s good friends including late Venerable Arch Deacon Jadesimi, Bishop Kale and that was how we came to Lagos at early ages. I was about six years then and I started school in Lagos at CMS Grammar school in 1948 in the preparatory class.
My classmates were the former Head of State, Ernest Shonekan, retired Justice Tajudeen Odunowo of the Federal High Court who is still alive, Akin Disu, owner of Eagles Print, also a lawyer and Odunsi, a lawyer of over fifty years at the bar. I finished my secondary education in Abeokuta Grammar school because the CMS Grammar stopped its boarding system when they were moving to Bariga. So, I had to move to boarding house school in Abeokuta where I spent two years. I had as my classmates, the present Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, the Isile of Oke-Ona Egbaland, Obasanjo’s elder brother, Doja Adewolu who is alive.
I was privilege to be a classmate to late Fela Ransome Kuti, known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti and late Beko Ransome Kuti. I have also Siji Soetan, former Solicitor General of the Federation as classmate. I was privileged to have schooled both in Lagos and Abeokuta, Ogun State and today, most of my classmates from the two schools are my best of friends. It goes to show me that the friends you make from your early life time if they are really genuine would continue to be over the years. We are all still good friends. When I was a child, I never knew my parents.I started knowing my mother after the age of nine or ten whenever I went on holidays. And I hardly spent quality time with my mother because I wasn’t used to her.
My wife came from a aristocratic family. My father-in-law (late R.O Okodudu) was a lawyer of high repute. He was the first agent- general of Western Nigeria, U.K. By virtue of that appointment, all his children including my wife started their primary school in England. And when I met my wife, she was already my senior at the bar and very sophisticated but God joined us together. We got married in 1978. Although she is a lawyer by profession, she no longer practices law but runs a boutique and fashion store.