DEMOCRACY IS THE BEST SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

ower to the people

BEING A DEBATE TOPIC PRESENTED ON THE 27TH OF JUNE, 2014; AT AN LnD MEETING, FACULTY OF LAW, U.I.


As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master; that expresses my idea of democracy

~ Abraham Lincoln.

…..………… [GREETINGS] ………………

Today, we have countless systems of government in the world which we can choose from, while some are just on paper, others operate in the corners of true power. We have hyper-anarchy [government by no one], barbarocracy [government by barbarians], foolocracy [government by fools], chrysoaristocracy [government by the wealthy], diabolocracy [government by the devil], kleptocracy [government by thieves]; and as put by our own political analyst and verbal contortionist, Patrick Obahiagbon, we also have kakistomoboplutocracy [government by the worst of mobs who are rich]. But then, ladies and gentlemen, I stand here today to tell us that the best of all these governmental systems, which has been tested and trusted for centuries, is nothing but Democracy [rule by the people]. Just as Ronald Reagan said; ‘it is the most deeply honourable form of government ever devised by man.’

Before I proceed to stating the premises on which I base this assertion, I would like to define the term democracy. We may say it is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally – either directly or indirectly through elected representatives. It is, according to Aristotle, when the indigent and not the men of property are the rulers. When we say ‘power to the people’; when we say ‘putting people over politics’; that is democracy. And by saying, democracy is the best system of government; it does not mean it is perfect, just that it is better than all others. There is no better substitute for it.

Democracy is the best form of government because:

  1. It respects and promotes human rights, and even gender and animal rights. The self-evident and God-given rights of man are easily secured in a democratic system. These rights are even entrenched in a written code, just as we have in Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  2. All are equal before the law. This is because democracy incorporates elements of nomocracy [the rule of law] and pantisocracy [the rule of everyone equally]. It is undoubtedly only in a true democratic system that we can find a fisherman suing a multi-national oil company, or a lowly citizen suing his president.
  3. Equal representation of both majority and minority interests. Unlike in some political dispensations where only a certain gender or household can be in found in government, where people like me and you may be crucified for dreaming to become head of state; democracy gives all and sundry including the minority a voice. If not for democracy, someone like President Goodluck Jonathan couldn’t have become a Deputy Governor, let alone considering running for a second term as President. Democracy is a system of equality, not a system of only-he-is-quality, it is a system of justice, not that of just-us.
  4. In a democracy, people get what they deserve, they get what they desire. If there is corruption and insecurity, it is because the people are working towards them. It is as a result of their overall decision, and not because some persons forced it down their throat. Thus, the people not only get to decide who is authority, they also get to decide what is their destiny.
  5. Finally, democracy paves way for man to have fundamental freedoms. The freedom of movement, the freedom to vote, the freedom to school, the freedom to use Facebook, twitter and so on. And above all, it also guarantees the freedom of speech because if not for democracy, we will not be here today, debating about democracy.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is no coincidence that Norway tops the Global Democracy ranking in 2013 and again tops the UN Human Development Index of the same year. In fact, the top 10 countries in the former ranking except one are among the first 21 in the second.

Tomas Garrigue once said: ‘Democracy has its faults because people have their faults; like owner like store’ – in Czech, ‘jaky pan, takovy kram’. So whatever fault we find to malign democracy is not because of the system, but those running it. Thus, the efficacy of democracy may be got only from the sincerity of humanity.

To conclude, I hope, just as Abraham Lincoln hoped on November 19, 1863; that the ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’

Thank you!

FIRST SESSION IN OFFICE

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FIRST SESSION IN OFFICE

Ante-Ante-Scriptum: I believe the topic for this article ought to have read ‘first year in office’. However, no thanks to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, that caption has been automatically rendered inappropriate.

Ante-Scriptum: Created this document on my PC since June 28, 2013; opened it on several occasions hoping to add something to it. However it remained unchanged and substantially incomplete for many months. All thanks to God that today, May 10, 2014, almost a year later, I finally am able to be done with it.

It’s been up to a session now since I was saddled with the great responsibility; and perhaps opportunity too, of serving in the position of a class representative once again. Well once again, because I have had a taste of such honour in the past, only that now it is not as a leader of some kindergartners or captain of a class of high school lads; it is as the head of an assemblage of whiz kids, prodigies, soon-to-be jurists and exceptional scholars in Nigeria’s premier university; the University of Ibadan.

The first surprise came when I heard someone shout Kunle; after Mrs Olomola, our first Law 101 lecturer, declared the ground open for nominations into the positions of male and female class representatives. ‘It can’t be’, ‘it has got to be someone else’, ‘who could possibly know me by name’, my thoughts rolled in. But my hope turned vain when nobody else stood up, and the lecturer called for a second time; ‘who is Kunle?’

The second one came when after the voice vote; as if fate was bent on disappointing me, I emerged as the class representative, despite my shortcomings, both overt and covert; and despite the presence of many, better than I am in many aspects, in the same class.

I was even more surprised because I never aspired to or intended to be in such position, even though my action on the morning of that very day, which unexpectedly turned out to be the Election Day, may have triggered the outcome.

I had always wanted to be one who is not easily noticed. One who would come to class quietly, receive lectures, sign attendance registers and leave without anyone’s interference. One who would sit at the tail-end criticising whoever the class rep. was and dishing out my opinions, for the progress of the class, whenever expedient. However, with that singular turn of events, all those hopes were dashed, quashed and short-lived like the Hobbesian state of nature.

I was (and still am) not the most brilliant in the class. I was not the most experienced. I was not the most charismatic. And I certainly was not the most outspoken. How then, I wondered, could I be chosen as the one to lead a class of intellectuals, studying the noblest of professions in Nigeria’s ‘first and best’ university of learning?

The ‘modus operandi’ of what is called ‘destiny’ amazes me at times. What you think could least happen, will happen daringly and remorselessly, and vice versa. I remember that, weeks back, during our medical test [one of freshers’ many rituals] at the law clinic, I was in the gathering of some of my course-mates. One thing led to the other, and a particular lady, I’m not certain of her identity now, said in my presence that I’m ‘not the class rep. type’; and I totally agreed with her. I still think I’m ‘not the type’ though, but then, as the ‘Grand architect of human fate’ would have it, here I am.

Days turn into weeks, and weeks into month. It’s been up to a year now, and I still answer to the title: Class rep. of [now] 200 level law students class [a.k.a. LLB octal-final]. The journey from day one till this moment has been filled with the good, the bad and, of course, the ugly. I have had to do things I ordinarily would not. I have had to meet people I ordinarily wouldn’t move close. Again, I have had to forbear many things, that if I were an ordinary member of the class, I would not have.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE: My appointment into the position is not, so to speak, a political one. I did not engage in campaigning, pleading or manifesto declaration. I was not bound to ‘achieve’ anything through the office, except representing the class, connecting with lecturers and ensuring a smooth ride through our five years in the university. But then, I think it necessary to mention the few things I [and/or we] did in the past year that deviated a little from the routine practice of an average class representative. They are not exceptional, but as this is a recount of my experience in the first session, I will share them still.

  • ‘The Class Directory’: This is where it all started from, I guess. The class directory is a document I prepared before resumption, containing an almost-complete list of names of members of the class along-side spaces to fill-in other details, using the admission lists released by the university. I compiled and designed it solely based on the doctrine of necessity and a spirit of generosity, with no ulterior motives in mind. But then as it turned out, the directory which I publicised on the day of the election, was, more or less, what first endeared me to my colleagues. Anyway, the document has proved useful on many occasions, to both members of the class and non-members alike, in getting the needed contacts.
  • ‘Class versus Congress’: one of the most unforgettable events experienced in the class’s fresher days is the ‘clash with the congress’; the protest of some members of the class at the second (or first?) congress sitting. In short, we were denied our franchise, contrasting what is expressly provided by the LSS (Law Students’ Society) constitution. And rather than argue based on facts and law, the members of the class present that very day decided it best to ‘make them know’ we aren’t docile idiots. They allegedly stood on the chairs, and then some staged a walk-out. The congress was offended, and I eventually had to tender a formal apology before it weeks later. This satisfied them and, in a way, cooled their ego. End of story (or is it … well … not really).
  • ‘Gentleman of the week’: this is another of the projects I embarked on for the class. Every week, I would choose a particular member of the class (male-female-male-female, in that order, week after week). The chosen one would fill, in a form, information such as nick, favourite food, best friend, role model, hobbies, best day on campus, message to colleagues etc. And this would then be uploaded on the Facebook group, as well as the Whatsapp group for others to see. The aim of this apparently is just to bring members of the class into one accord, by facilitating familiarity.
  • ‘Public Address Item’: Aha, well, this came up close to the close of the session. I thought since most of the time, my colleagues complain of not being able to grasp my vocal announcements properly. After I have spoken, many would still ask for what it was I said. Hoping to find a lasting solution to this hitch, I decided to get a mini-public address system; a device that resembles a radio and has a mouthpiece to speak into. I didn’t think to use it several weeks after we resumed from the strike, but when I did use, it really felt awkward, plus it turned out not to be of much use too.
  • ‘Unbeaten Soccer Champs’: one thing that makes me really proud of being a coordinator of the class is that, it is no ordinary class, it is one jam-packed with intelligent, yet equally talented, folks. My course mates are not only bookish, and stylish, they are ‘sportish’.Consecutively, our soccer team has won up to two soccer tournaments and one soccer match, unbeaten on the field of play. First, it was our seniors that challenged us to a match, hoping to welcome us by showing us who’s boss at the faculty. But then, their plot backfired as we turned out to be no rookie at the game. After that, proving our first victory was not a matter of luck, we went ahead to also win the CBN cup and Dean’s cup.

CHALLENGES I CONFRONTED:

  • ‘The Class’: the class has, in a way, been a challenge for me in my capacity as the representative. But then, this is perfectly understandable since we are speaking of learned (or if you may, learning) scholars here; who are perfectly aware of their rights, even the most insignificant, who best know the law and again, how best to break it.

When I say the class has been a challenge, it is primarily in the aspect of cooperation and attentiveness.It is usually frustrating, standing before an audience with an important notice, and then majority of them are making one distracting noise or the other.

Another instance to buttress this challenge is in the area of attendance registers. On one or two occasions, with respect to LAW class I have had to plead with the lecturer not to input the registers. Why, because I would not be able to get back all the lists I passed, God knows why. Maybe, aliens are pilfering them in order to create a database of humans. Just maybe ;-).

  • ‘Finance’: thanks to the Almighty, this hasn’t been much of a challenge. Even though I’m from a humble background, I’ve, thus far, found it bearable to expend money on things such as transport, stationeries and recharge cards (for making calls and browsing); most especially recharge cards.
  • ‘Time management’: sincerely, if I were not in this position, I might have been one of the perpetual late-comers of the class. If I were not the class rep., I would not have had to attend to countless extemporaneous calls from the Faculty Officer, lecturers and students. I would not have had to sacrifice my time for many things that my position requires of me, or that I have made it to require of me. Maybe, this has made me a more responsible person, or maybe it has only succeeded in making not to succeed enough in my studies, I honestly do not know.
  • ‘The Whatsapp group’: this has somewhat been an issue to me since its creation. The problem is: I created the group to serve solely (or basically) as a platform to disseminate information that concern our academic life, I added as many class members as I could to benefit from this, BUT some prefer to convert the status of the group from ‘strictly business’ to ‘fun-for-all’. The group was so anarchical eventually that many leave persistently, including me, during the mid-second semester break (ASUU strike i.e.). I created another one after resumption but the same problem, of getting hundreds and hundreds of chat messages daily, resurfaced. In the end, I came to shape my mind-set into subscribing to the Utilitarian proposition that what is most important is seeking the ‘greatest happiness for the greatest number of people’. I have come to accept that this is a democracy, and the will of the majority must be respected. When the same people that you think you are fighting for turn against you, then you are only wasting your time. Like a Greek philosopher once said; to help a man against his will (e.g. preventing a suicidal person from dying) is, in fact, same as murdering him.

THE GOOD SIDE:

  • ‘Rapport with lecturers and other students’: this is one major reason why many crave to be in the position of class rep. And it is true that my being there has ignited rapport between many lecturers and me. However, I know many students who are closer to all our lecturers than I am. So, I guess it’s never about the position, it’s about the ambition and determination. I have also interacted with many other individuals [e.g. LSS officials, and excos of student organisations], not because they find my personality likable, but because they find my rank instrumental.
  • ‘Public speaking practice’: my public speaking and audience facing skills have been improved, I guess, as a result of the incessant cases where I had to address a class of hundreds for one thing or the other. But I must add, that even though I’ve done it times without count, I still hesitate, most times, before taking those steps to the front of the class.

CONCLUSION: That I may not be criticised for writing something not too far from being a facsimile of ‘So long a letter’, I will promptly conclude by, first appreciating my course mates for understanding and bearing with my inadequacies all these while – all the times I failed or forgot to pass attendance sheets, all the times I could or would not check for results and time-tables on time, all the times you called and I didn’t pick, all the times my voice was not audible enough for the whole class to grasp, all the times I did not speak when I was expected to and the times I spoke when it was uncalled for, all the times it seemed I deliberately shunned some person(s) or that I was not amiable enough, all the times I have, in one way or the other, offended either an individual, a caucus, or the whole class in general, and all those other times, in which I did other things, my frail brain would not remember. I thank you all for understanding; and indeed I am sorry for all those times.

I want to use this medium to enjoin everyone reading this not to hesitate in sharing prickly, but constructive, criticisms whenever necessary, directing them to whoever is concerned, and not minding whose toe is stepped on, not caring whose ox is gored.

What I am trying to say is: censure, reproach and lash the leader whenever he does something that is, in your honest opinion, wrong; whenever his attitude is becoming unbecoming and his actions are turning untoward.

My religion has made me to understand perfectly that the position of leadership is a very crucial and consequential one. It is one which one holding it will be made to compulsorily account for, if not in this world, in the next. My job is to promote the good of the class, and to satisfy its needs. If anyone is aggrieved as a result of my actions or decisions, I cannot possibly know unless I am told. Just like mens rea is no crime and a mere cerebral or wishful acceptance is no acceptance; a mental dissatisfaction, which is not expressed or even impliedly indicated, is no dissatisfaction at all; it is useless.

Verily, the tasks before us are much greater than the ones we left behind. Let us learn from our past mistakes, especially respecting our academic concern, and apply the lessons therein to better our present with a view to inheriting a desired future.

Let us face our studies squarely, yet also remember that facing it only will merely educate us partly and not roundly.

Let us make unity our watchword; sustain the spirit of camaraderie that has kept us thus far; and do away with all fissiparous factors, whether via political affiliations, behavioural polarity or academic envy.

And with the God of Justice on our side, like He has been on our side in all those soccer tournaments, we will get to our preferred termini; and we will be glad, in the end, that we did not get there with another set of great young minds, different from the one we are with now.

Thanks for reading; LOVE YOU ALL!

NIGERIA: A FAILED STATE?

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NIGERIA: A FAILED STATE?

Presented As A Debate For The Purpose Of The “In-House Speaking Championship”, The Semi-Final.

Courtesy: Faculty Of Law, UI, Literary And Debating Society.

Date: 28th February, 2014.

MAIN SPEECH

I almost wept when I saw a picture of a newspaper headline that says ‘NEPA: No more black-out!’ I was sad, not because I’m seeing such promise for the first time or because I do not want the power supply in Nigeria to be stable. I was sad because the article was published as far back as 1988.

And we all know the condition of the power sector till this very date.

Nigeria: A failed state?

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo is my name, and I am here on this occasion to propose the bitter but factual submission that Nigeria is a failed state.

Before I delve deep into speechmaking, I think just as it is pertinent that we know what leadership truly is before we publicly declare Mobutu Sese Seko the Mandela of D.R. Congo, we also need to know what ‘a failed state’ means before we can wear its cloak for Nigeria.

A failed state, according to the Fund for Peace, means ‘a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government … [1] the central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory [2] non-provision of public services [3] widespread corruption and criminality and [4] sharp economic decline.’ Now, let’s take a look at these one after the other.

One, the central government is so weak that it has little control over much of its territory. The validation for this is simple. Let me ask us, if the federal government asks us to resume school for the next session on June 1st, and again, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko haram says nobody must go to school, whose order will we comply with? The answer to this goes to show that that the state has not only lost control over its territory, it has lost control over its citizenry too.

Two is the non-provision of public services. It is well known that Nigeria is such a country where the people are the government. Not in the sense that they decide how the affairs of the state are administrated, but that they provide virtually everything for themselves. It is the duty of the government to provide electricity, but we find people struggling to buy generators, struggling to ‘better pass their neighbours’. It is the duty of government to provide tap-water. Yet we find boreholes here and there dug buy private individuals. It is the duty of the state to give us good roads, but we still find people building bridges themselves and collecting tolls, we see people filling potholes with little stones.

Thirdly, we have widespread corruption and criminality. Nothing can be truer than this. The country is so corrupt that on typing ‘Nigeria’ on the Google search engine, it quickly suggests ‘a corrupt country?’ A country where the President can afford to spend 1 billion naira on food per annum, even though he vowed to be eating Cassava bread and majority of populace is starving to death. A country where 20 billion dollars can vanish into thin air and no one will raise an eyebrow. A country where armed robbery, kidnapping and bombing are the orders of the day. If such country has not failed, then perhaps I need to go back to my dictionary and check the meaning of failure.

I wish to sum up my points with the result of a recent survey conducted by the United States think-tank, an independent research organisation; the Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy magazine. Nigeria was ranked as the 15th most failed nation in the world out of 177 countries. Even, she has moved upward 3 places from the 18th position in 2008. Meaning Nigeria is not just a failed state, she is gradually on her way to overthrow Somalia and hence become the king of failed states in the world.

This survey goes to show that the fact that Nigeria is a failed state is not only a well-grounded opinion of Nigerians; it is a universally acclaimed, globally established, self-evident truth.

In conclusion, I wish to seek validation in the sagacious diction of Demosthenes: Res ipsa loquitur, the facts speak for themselves, if only we will pay attention.

REBUTTAL

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it’ – Flannery O’Connor.

My contending debater has said that Nigeria can be said not to be a failed state because we have remain united. But let me ask. If I manufacture a vehicular contraption, a jalopy so to speak, that cannot move an inch. It does not work. Can we say it is a successful invention just because of the fact that the spare parts hold on together?

Again, he said Nigeria has produced numerous elites and scholars renowned world-wide. But I must say that this is in no way a function of our being successful, it is solely a function of our large population.

Ladies and Gentlemen, with all these facts, I am forced to propose that it will not be out of place if we rechristen the state from the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’ to the ‘Failed Republic of Disaster’.

Confucius said ‘do not use a canon to kill a mosquito’. Thus, I will rest my case here believing we are convinced beyond any inkling of doubt that indeed Nigeria is a failed state.

RES JUDICATA!

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RES JUDICATA !

First, It Was Vet. Medicine.

The Thrashing Was Really Something,

To Take Home As Subject Of Deep Thinking.

They Were Thrashed Four To Nill.

Then In The Second Round, Of Sixteen,

Pharmacy Was Next In Line,

They Proved A Little Less Benign.

But We Trounced Them All The Same.

The Druggists’ Drug For Victory Seemed Inadequate.

Two-Nill Was The Scoreline.

In No Time, We Reached The Quarter Final.

None But The Electricians Were Our Rival.

With A Spanking Of Five To One.

It Was Held In The Legal Action.

That The Rule Of Law.

Is Stronger Than All Electric Force.

The Game Was Getting Tougher.

The Ambience, A Little Bit Tenser.

Muhammad Ali Boasted About It.

But Only We Could Achieve It.

‘Medicine’ Was Truly Made Sick.

When MBBS Lost To Us In A Penalty.

The Score Line Was Five To Three.

To The Final We Finally Reached.

Pitted With A Huge Team On A Huge Pitch.

After Some Dribbling And Mingling,

Some Kicking, Hailing And Jaw-Breaking,

With A 2-1, We Outdid Agric. Engineering.

Establishing Our Relevance In The Soccer Discipline.

All Hail Ministers In The Temple Of Justice!

WHY LAW ?

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WHY I CHOSE TO STUDY LAW.

My decision to study law was not haphazard, but as a result of a number of factors. These factors are what I plan to tersely discuss in this article. The decision is one I’ve made while I was more or less still an abecedarian: during my primary school days. At the time, I understood the significance of choosing ones career at an early stage to give room for the development of passion and adequate preparation. In short, I did not want to be labelled an NFA, id est., someone with No Future Ambition.
Whether, my parents coerced me into it, whether I envisioned it in a dream or whether making this very fundamental choice naturally follows from my zodiac sign being ‘Libra’ – you’ll soon get to know.
The will-soon-be-mentioned points are the reasons for my choosing to be a lawyer, but some of them may equally be considered as reasons anyone should choose law as a profession. The reasons I made the decision, stood by it and never once faltered in my determination to be learned person, thus include:

PROMINENCE OF LAW
No doubt, Law is one of the most renowned and widely recognised professions. Whenever and wherever, good careers are mentioned, law is always among – and then, perhaps, Medicine, Engineering and Accounting. Hence, this was one of the factors that contributed to my decision, as well as the decisions of numerous other children.
Again, Lawyers enjoy a great amount of veneration from others. Anyone tagged as “D-LAW”, is always seen as a reservoir of knowledge and an insightful personalty. Even as a law student, I enjoy this show of respect from people on sundry occasions. And it not only endeared me to the profession, but also re-assures me from time to time that there’s no other course I’d rather take.
UNIQUENESS OF LAW
Apart from the prominence law enjoys as a profession, it is also a quite unique career, most distinct from others. It is mainly because of this peculiarity that non-lawyers express envy towards us, especially in the university environment.
One, law is the most conservative profession. The up-till-today use of wig, gown, latin and archaic expressions attest to this fact.
Secondly, law students are the only set of university students that use clothes of uniform colours: id est., black and white attires. White represents deep wisdom, purity and innocence, while black represents power, authority, as well as blindness i.e fairness and justice.
And lastly, law is the only course in which a department, prima facie, constitutes a whole faculty. All other faculties [and colleges] are split into several departments.
ADVOCACY LAWYERING
A lawyer is either in the profession by accident/coercion, or for the fame and fortune he might get. If not, then he is in it to get and advocate justice, either for himself or for others who have been wronged. No law student would tell you that his own objective for studying law is to defend the wrong-doer against the wronged, or to protect the oppressor from the oppressed. All would-be legal practitioners desire to be advocates of justice, paladins of freedom and heralds of equity. I am no exception.
I have said it before and I will herewith reiterate it: The greatest problem the society, the nation and the world at large is facing is not malaria, neither is it bad roads. Our greatest problem, incontrovertibly, is corruption.
The question now is, which professionals or practitioners are in the best position to tackle this problem? It is definitely not doctors; they only treat those who are the major source of this problem when they’re ill, and then abandon the victims of the corrupt circumstance we find ourselves. It is definitely not journalists; they can only bark, they possess not the necessary canines to bite. It is not engineers. Neither is it accountants. I am of the strong belief that it is none other than lawyers. It is they that have the essential weapon to bring corruptionists to book and prosecute all who involve themselves in unwholesome conducts.
So, just as we have advocacy journalists, there are also advocacy lawyers. These are lawyers that believe in a cause, and utilise their profession in the fight for that cause. Persons like Gani Fawehinmi, who loudly spoke against bad leadership and Nelson Mandela, who publicly condemned apartheid and gave legal aids to blacks who needed them, are perfect examples.
HISTORICAL IMPACT
Law is a profession that has produced many leaders and influential personages who have left indelible trails in the sands of time. They succeeded both in legal practice and extra-legal practice, most of them being renowned politicians, activists and orators.
Paragons of this instance include Abraham Lincoln, the man who greatly promoted the abolition of slave trade and prevented the disintegration of the American union; Nelson Mandela, the first black President of South Africa who played a key role in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa; Mahatma Gandhi, a non-violent revolutionary that successfully clamoured for India’s independence from Britain. Another good example is John Grisham, a world best-selling writer of fictions. And in Nigeria here we have the likes of Patrick Obahiagbon, a controversial orator, political-activist and well-recognised grammarian, and a host of others making names for themselves in the the entertainment, most especially, movie industry.
INDISPENSABILITY
It is worth mentioning that law is also a quite essential and indispensable profession. Most, if not all, institutions can do without medical doctors and engineers, but tell me a company that can live long without prompt and periodic legal succour. In fact, most gatherings require the presence of a lawyer to guide them through their proceedings, and put them to order whenever they dabble into illicitness.
Nations like Russia and France, have in time past, banned the operation of lawyers. But later on, despite the antipathy they harboured against them, they had to rescind the ban, after realising the “indispensability” of law, and by extension lawyers.
LUCRATIVENESS, BROAD RANGE OF OPPORTUNITIES
In time past, Law was a very unrewarding profession. Orators in ancient Athens, Greece, who could be referred to as the first lawyers were required by law not to request for payments for their rendered services. It was like helping out a friend in difficulty. In early ancient Rome too, precisely 204 BC, there was a law banning advocates from taking fees [but the law was widely ignored]. Emperor Claudius later abolished the ban and legalised the legal profession, but he also imposed a fee ceiling of 10,000 sesterces for anyone willing to work as a lawyer.
Nowadays, the tide has turned. Lawyers, are today, one of the most paid professionals. A lawyer who knows his onions well could get paid in millions for a single case, with no stress. The best part is that there abounds a wide range of opportunities for anyone who has been called to bar or who has formal knowledge of legal practice. Such a person could become an advocate, a solicitor, a legal adviser to corporate bodies or to the government, an arbitrator, a lecturer. He can as well successfully seek jobs in fields such as politics, journalism, entrepreneurship and so on, if the competition in legal practice proves too fierce for him.
NATURAL POLEMIC DEXTERITY
Well, I wouldn’t say I was much of a debater, even up till this moment. However, I was a lot better than most of my mates. I was naturally daring, audacious and may be stubborn at times. Recently, perhaps a couple of months back, I found out from my mom that this attitude was inherent in me since I was young, that I even showed it to her apprentices.
I can recall many occasions that I challenged my primary school teachers, secondary school teachers and even university lecturers – and on those occasions, I often got penalised. Even my family, most especially my mom, complain about my habit challenging their dispositions. As a result, one of my brothers always suggested that I train myself professionally as lawyer.
If there is any activity I had interest in and loved doing, it is debating. But please, do not at all confuse debating with public speaking – that I developed just recently. About two years back, I was a poor public speaker, I was very apprehensive of facing a crowd and if at all I did face a crowd, I was always trembling. But gradually, I have been able to improve in that aspect as well.
MY SIBLINGS
YES! Without doubt, this also contributed to my choice of career. It is not the case that all my siblings, or should I say brothers, were lawyers or would-be lawyers. Rather, it is quite the opposite. The three of them chose to go to the science department while in senior high. My eldest brother, now a graduate and bonafide member of the Nigerian labour force, studied computer science while in school. The ‘second in command’ is currently ‘reading’ Estate management in a federal university of technology. And my immediate elder brother is studying pure chemistry at present.
It is a source of pride for me, actually, to be the only ‘black sheep’, the only art student, the only historian, the only literary expert, the only political analyst and, most importantly, the only learned child of the four of us.
“THE INCORRUPTIBLE JUDGE”
“The incorruptible Judge”. This is a book I read in my early childhood. It is authored by Olu D. Olagoke. The theme of this book centre on a judge who is morally upright, who is incorruptible. Then a matter got to his court involving, if I remember corectly, his friend and a rich personality. He was presurised and offered a bribe. However, he would not budge. He stood his ground, and repeatedly asserted that he will only judge based on the pieces of evidence adduced before him in the court. And eventually, he did convict the accused person for he was glaringly guilty.
His attitude is analogous to that of Justice Sowemimo, who told Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1963, when the latter appeared before him for a 3-count charge of conspiracy and treasonable felony, that,”Here we have one of the first premiers of the autonomous region standing trial. If you were the only one before me, I would have felt that it was enough for you to have undergone the strain of the trial. I would have asked you to go. But I am sorry. I cannot do so now because my hands are tied.”
In a nutshell, I desired to be like this judge. I wanted to be a principled man, who has clearly defined his values, and then would stop at nothing to defend those values. A man who would not compromise his integrity because of familiarity or mere gratification.
CONCLUSION
Well, there you have it. This is the synopsis of the major factors that culminated into my choice of law as a career. I might decide to add some more later on. I did not see my future in a trance, I’m not a gifted dreamer. I was not coerced into the decision, my parents gave me absolute freedom in the aspect. And neither is it because my zodiac sign is libra, in actualty, by bbirthday falls in that of virgo. It is my eldest brother is a libra, and he is not a lawyer.
I want to believe you’ve been exposed to some new facts, as a result of your reading this article. If my guess is right, then I’m glad my effort is not wasted.
Now all want to ask you is, after reading this, if you desire to choose a career for yourself, or perhaps your advice is sought regarding career choice, WHY NOT LAW?