Guest post! This will be more interesting to those who want to go to the Nigerian Law School, particularly those that studied in Nigerian universities. This is an account from my friend The Legal Hermit. He also has a blog which you can read here. His law school experience will be posted in segments.
This first segment is about the period leading up to his arrival at the Law School including the long journey he took to Abuja.
My Law School Experience
Going to the Nigerian Law School is a condition a person aspiring to be a practicing lawyer in Nigeria must fulfil, even those who have no intention of practicing the law they spent numerous years to study know the importance of attending the law school.
The Nigerian law school is an experience, and my experience is what I want to talk about. I will try as much as possible to talk about it objectively and fairly, however I will not give any personal information as to myself or those who attended the same campus as I did and those that went to the other campuses I may talk about are free to join issues with me in the comment section. ‘Tenks’.
THE ONLINE AND OFFLINE REGISTRATION
I was interning at a law firm in Lagos after I graduated from my University and like every other student who attended a Nigerian University, I was anxious to attend the Nigerian law school. Between late July and early August, 2013, the law school application form was released, and like every other person I walked into the nearest Zenith bank PLC, to pay for my application form.
The application form I paid for is not actually a physical form. What I paid for was some digits which I was expected to use in order to fill the Application forms online. This registration thing does not stop there, one will still have to print out these forms and submit some to the Dean of the Faculty of Law who will then forward the application forms along with students’ results to the Nigerian Law School.
I thought this application hurdle would end there, but no, every applicant to the Nigerian Law School must also do some medical tests and swear to some oaths and sign some other very serious things. All in all the application process was not a walk in the park.
By the way, the Application process was during my final exams, so it was kind of a morale boost that I would be going to the law school in less than a month and half time.
I wrote my final exams along with the other students and fortunately or unfortunately it was during the ASUU strike. Fortunately for us ASUU couldn’t hold us back. After the exam I was basically just happy. I mean I was going to be a lawyer soon, but by late September even the Law School had not released the admissions list for each of the Nigerian schools. A lot of students were worried about whether they were actually going to go the law school that year because there is always a law school October Session, which is the Primary session of the Nigerian Law school.
By the second week of October 2013, the Law School admission list came out, and luckily for me, I was posted to my first choice campus, the Bwari Campus, Abuja. Immediately I saw the name on the admissions list, I immediately went to pay the fees which by last 2013, was still two hundred and ninety-five thousand Naira (#295,000). How I was carrying the money and running around Maryland, Lagos in fear and in search of a Zenith Bank to pay my fees to is another story entirely.
So I paid the week prior to the week session which was going to start on a Friday. All of the lawyers in the law firm I was interning at were quite glad and were wishing me all the best.
THE TRIP TO ABUJA
The Nigerian Law School 2013/2014 session started on the 21st of October 2013, but by the 21st I was still in Lagos going around Eko Market shopping for white shirts, black pants/trousers, tie, suit, shoes, etc. It was a big deal, going to the law school, and I wanted to look presentable. Not handsome, just presentable. Also the reason why I didn’t go to Abuja on the 20th or 21st of October 2013 was that I had been previously warned by my friends who went to the Abuja campus not to go on the first and second day, I was advised to go on the 23rd of October, 2013.
So on Wednesday the 23rd of October 2013, I took my first road trip out of Lagos State, And God knows I had fun going to Abuja.
The bus I took to Abuja was The Young Shall Grow, but not the Luxurious buses; it was one of those mini buses. I got the bus at their park in Jibowu. I remember vividly that day, I got to the park by 5:45am in the morning and the bus was not even yet half full. I was a little pissed and also worried. I was pissed because the day before, I went to get my ticket so I would be able to get a good seat and was told by the driver that the bus would leave by 6am. I told the man that I had no problem with that since I normally love being punctual. So when I got there and the bus was not even half full I was just irritated and pissed but I kept my cool.
By 7am the bus was still not yet full, so I was worried about getting into Abuja at 12AM. I had never been to Abuja before so it would have been a real bother for me if we should get to Abuja very late.
We left the Jibowu park by 7:30am, and I still remember the driver was always being called ‘alhaji’ which made everyone in the bus laugh because this man is a Christian. I never got the chance to ask him why.
Interestingly he had a good sense of humour, and was an experienced driver too. By the time we got into Ibadan, and left Oyo state, I had lost track of time, but from the look of the weather it was not yet or even close to afternoon. We left Oyo State and entered Osun State where we were greeted by the big bill board poster of the Governor Aregbesola asking for the people to vote for him in the 2009/2010 election year. Osun state has one of the long roads we encountered when I was going up north. The land mass is so big and the land is so green. It felt as if we were going through a State with no one living in it. Well, I guess one will still have to leave the high way before one will probably run into any town or city.
Then we were stopped at some few road blocks where the passengers and the drivers buy different things from hawkers who hang around the high way to sell things ranging from food, fruits bread, etc. I am not sure, but I think we spent almost 1 to 2 hours deiving through Osun State.
We then entered Ondo State and good lord when we entered it was like we were never going to exit that state.
When we got to Ondo State, I saw a lot of development, I guess it was because we were relatively passing through the inland state roads that like the Owo road, Akungba road, Akure, etc., Those are the ones I can easily remember but the Owo road seems to be the longest in Ondo State from my own observation and unlike in Osun State, I didn’t see vast expanse of green land. There are forests flanking the highway so Ondo State too cannot exactly boast of that much development, but compared to Osun, the people are moving out of their villages to live in Ondo City.
We spent approximately 2 – 3 hours in Ondo State.
After the State of Ondo, still moving up north, we encountered Edo State. We were not greeted by anything. Honestly, I didn’t even notice that we had already entered Edo State. It was like entering a place without being aware of whether anything has changed or not.
The scenery was still the same, but a little adjustment on the many of the kind of houses, like in Edo States, there were so many hut or mud houses flanking the highway. We didn’t spend much time in Edo State; it was like the road cutting through Edo State was not a long one.
Then we crossed into Kogi State. *sigh*.
Kogi State is like the largest state I encountered on my journey to Abuja. We got into Kogi State at about 4:30pm. The driver of the bus was not yet in a hurry to stop. He was in a lot of hurry to get to Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State.
Apparently crossing this state was the longest part of the journey we embarked upon. Kogi is huge! We got to Lokoja around 5:30pm. The driver stopped for everyone to grab something to eat, pee and use the ‘john’. He was not going to stop again till we had successfully crossed into Abuja which was still hours away.
Everyone ate and refreshed at the Lokoja stop, it was also a kind of relief that we stopped because we had not stretched our legs for more than 3-4 hours in the bus. I got some fruits and some of the other passengers got food, Kilishi etc. I was too scared of what was being sold on the highway because the safety of a lot of these foods cannot be vouched for so I decided not to put myself on such risk.
The bus eventually left Lokoja and the driver was stepping on the gas like his life depended on it. Even he wanted to get to his bus park in Abuja so badly before nightfall than we wanted to get into Abuja. Our priorities differed, obviously. We crossed into the Abuja territory when we passed this long Military Road Block. We were finally in Abuja. The bus driver was driving like he was racing on NASCAR along with Lewis Hamilton.The driver took the passengers on a semi-tour of Abuja and he wasn’t aware.
I could not tell where we were unlike in Lagos. Abuja is large with good roads and impressive street lamps. I will say the roads are beautiful, but more could still be done to make it safer.
As the driver was giving me, the newcomer to this Federal Capital Territory a tour, the rest of the passengers were giving the driver a hard time about how he should drive them directly to the front of their bedroom so they’d just have to saunter into their beds. The driver had other plans. The passengers screamed, shouted, snapped but the driver could care less. His mission was “Get to the park”. I don’t believe any CIA agent could execute a better mission.
We got to the park around 9 o’clock PM and of course it was really dark. It felt like I was in a strange land I wanted to know and explore, but unfortunately, I came to the law school and not for the exploration of Abuja.
On my long trip to Abuja, my parent kept in touch with me throughout till I got to the park. I kept being told the bus park is at a particular place, and every time I was told I thought to myself “How I am supposed to know exactly where that is when this is my first day of being in this strange man’s land.” I cannot even remember what the name of the park is but I know it is near a place called ‘Berger’ in Abuja, and mind you Abuja has too many Areas, ranging from Area 1 – 10, and they all look alike to me so I didn’t bother to try and distinguish them.
I saw my parent and we went home o. The next day, Thursday 24th 2013, I visited the Nigerian Law School for the first time in my life.
That is the end of the first segment. The second will be posted tomorrow.