Thursday, 15 October 2020

Law Study at the National Open University of Nigeria Is a Quick-Fix Misadventure; A Temptation That Must Be Avoided (By Ola Olanipekun, SAN)

Award of Law Degrees by the National Open University of Nigeria Is a Quick-Fix Misadventure That Must Be Avoided   



Ola Olanipekun, SAN

 

Honestly speaking, law is never, and should never be, a part-time or correspondence or monograph-tutored course. University of Lagos (UNILAG) which started the Open university programme model in Nigeria, by its Correspondence and Open Studies Unit (COSU), as it was then named, had exempted Law, Medicine, Engineering and other professional courses, for obvious reasons of adequate training.

 

When the pressure of number of applicants became unbearable, UNILAG responded by introducing the Evening Law Programme/classes, a program spread over five (5) years, instead of the regular three (3). The reasoning of the University of Lagos, at that time, still remains valid today. Never mind that the standard of training in the universities has fallen but, with due respect, same would not justify award of law degree by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). It was a misadventure, ab initio, especially as the program had no accreditation of the Council of Legal Education, at its inception. The argument that graduates of the Open university did well in a moot Court trial performance is of no moment. It remains what it's called: a moot session.

 

The Legal Profession is a way of life. You listen to the Queen's English and diction of Prof. Adeogun; you are awed by the charisma of Prof. Omotola; you watch Prof Abiola Ojo lecture and pontificate on constitutional law without any note; you get enthralled by Prof. Oyebode's lectures on Marxism, Law and Revolution, etc.  and remain affixed to your seat well after he had departed the lecture theatre. Prof. S. A. Adesanya would take his time to extinguish his cigar before very aristocratically facing the class, to speak Evidence. What of Prof. Uvieaghara and his Commercial Law? What of Prof. Akanki? What of Prof. Adigun? The list is endless.

 

When I speak today, as a lawyer, all these eminent lawyers, whose erudition, confidence, candour and panache I observed at close quarters, are speaking through me. I'm not a distant-course lawyer who only read legal maxims and terminologies, and never heard their lecturers pronounce them in a formal classroom setting.

 

I urge whoever wants to read law and be called to the Bar, to avoid the temptation of an Open University quick-fix; please, take the cold shower of a formal Law Faculty and hopefully emerge fully baked. In my 1985 graduating UNILAG class were accomplished mature students such as Gen. David Jemibewon, who was Governor of  the Western Region when I was in the early secondary school years; Alhaji Lai Mohammed, now Nigeria`s Hon Minister of Information, and who was staff member of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), on study leave; Compol Folorunsho Shado, then of the Lagos Police Command; and  my friend, Gbenga Olaseinde; among many others. Mr. Ayo Opadokun of NADECO (National Democratic Coalition) was in the 1986 UNILAG class. Adult applicants should follow their eminent footsteps. Forget the idea of a NOUN Law Program!

 

In view of the above, please, I do not support any idea of an Open University Law Program for practitioners. Let's figure out how to cope with the low standard which we are currently contending with. Thanks

 

Ola Olanipekun, SAN, is the Principal Partner of Ola Olanipekun & Co (Prime Chambers), Abuja


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Ola Olanipekun has not spoken law & yet woefully failed to convincingly justify why NOUN law program should not be accredited or her law products called to Bar when baked; but rather by privilege successfully advertised & sold UNILAG's Law program & it's Lecturers. Nothing more. So, Olanipekun is therefore seen as argumentatively shallow & unreasonably mischievous. My view.

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  4. ... unreasonably mischievous about NOUN Law activities...

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  5. To me, his argument amounts to malice. According to him, "the argument that graduates of open university did well in smooth court trial performance is of no moment. It remains what it's called a moot session. What the purpose of moot court as recommend for all law students?
    Moot court helps students (law) learn to analyze legal issues, it's larger purpose is to teach students the practical side of practicing law.
    What is moot court?
    It is a method of teaching law and legal skills that students (law) to analyze and argue both sides of a hypothetical legal issue using procedure modeled after those employed in state and federal appellate courts. Before you can go or appear before moot court(which includes judges,), you must prepare very well like a lawyer who wants to argue his case in court. Moot court include drafting of papers and oral arguments, the same thing as lawyer. Why arguing against the law students of open university? You can't gain anything if NLS denied them admission. It cannot add anything to your wealth.so, your argument lacks merits.

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  6. This argument, to say the least, is shallow minded and a reflection of a corrupt system that produces half baked SANs in Nigeria. He is so blinded and one sided that he does not acknowledge the fact that among the ranks of the full-time law products, we also have some who struggle with their vocabularies. There are many others who can hardly articulate a sound and flawless argument as can be evidence in the present case. That he hastily generalizes about all NOUN law products on the basis of a few he has encountered is also evidence that he did not do well in his research methodology. Faulty systems that produce defective lawyers also produce defective SANs and if you observe closely, the defective products tend to be the ones that make the loudest noise. You cannot cover up your unreasonable, inarticulate argument with erudition and confidence. My submission.

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    1. A redundant SAN, begging for some cheap attention. Your woeful outcry is belated as latches and acquiescence have caught up with you Sir

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  7. When he(SAN) said Noun did well in moot court, can he please explain how a player will be good in training and not be good in real match. This country is just too funny in every aspect.. If law is a way of life, then why will a citizen of a country be telling another citizen that he/she doesn't know d culture. I think the one side view over this issue should end. Let assume Covid19 continue and we all have to fall back on online classes won't there be law graduate in any of the institutions again? This are questions I will like our Able SAN to answer.

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  8. Is he really a SAN? His aguement prowess is so poor and archaic, I really discountenance his qualification, he's still leaving in the 19th century, a typical Nigerian, always resistant to change and new ideas, what is he listing lecturers and the tutor for, is that the means to measure sound teaching and academic excellence, I guest this so called SAN is suffering from dementia, mediocres everywhere

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  9. Is he really a SAN? His aguement prowess is so poor and archaic, I really discountenance his qualification, he's still leaving in the 19th century, a typical Nigerian, always resistant to change and new ideas, what is he listing lecturers and the tutor for, is that the means to measure sound teaching and academic excellence, I guest this so called SAN is suffering from dementia, mediocres everywhere

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  10. Good opinion from Olanipekun (SAN), howbeit so embarrassing to Nigeria and it's evolving educational policies and systems.

    NOUN ACT 2018 have given these lads opportunity. Olanipekun SAN and the NLS needs to prove NASS and the Presidency wrong (misadventure) by admitting these NOUN graduates. Thereby giving them equal opportunity with UNILAG products. So that their woeful failures in the face of UNILAG PRODUCTS' excellent results in same class, will speak for itself and not be influenced by personal opinions.

    Personal opinions are not facts. Opinions can be biased. You must also allow the "audi alteram" principle of justice to speak for itself in this matter.

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  11. With all due respect, Olanipekun SAN has ended up not saying anything. He seems more interested in mentioning names of his colleagues and law teachers in Unilag than giving cogent and logical reasons to justify his position. The comment that the excellent performance of the NOUN students in a moot Court competition is of no moment is terribly disappointing, coming from a SAN who ought to know the essence of mooting by law students.

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  12. Olanipekun does not keep himself abrest with legal precedents nor with prevailing facts,neither does he understand equity and good concience,else he would have known that law school for noun law students is backed by Law

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  13. Under the freedom of expression enshrined and protected by section 39(1) Nigeria constitution,
    Sir, Ola Olanikpekun SAN
    You only aid your view.

    My humble self regard your speech and reasoning as outdated, unethical in the 21st century, self centered, inhuman feeling and degrading to natural justice

    Quote me wrong and I will prove my point.

    Let no one be discourage for in every race near to victory there will surely be mere distractions seeking recognition.

    My regard Sir.

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  14. Olanipekun SAN has justified his name in Yoruba language. His name literally translated to mean end of wealth. In that sense he wouldn't know that there is still more ahead in wealth creation. His experience is limited to Unilag law class. He never experienced Ben Nwabueze and Afe Babalola. He never visit Unilorin to hear legal experts from that side of the country. His wealth is limited. I will rather go ahead and discuss with Olaonipekun, wealth without end.

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  15. Nonsense talk from an analogue lawyer in the 21st century, your comment about NOUN law shows though you are a learned lawyer you are not educated and not in tune with the happenings in the Technological world, the reality is starring at us now that COVID-19 has changed the narrative, Nigeria must face the reality, on ground that education is no longer limited to the four wall of the class room.Let Olanipekun tell his children to teach him how to zoom and tell us the difference.UK, Indian, US, Europe, SA, all have Open University, today there is what is call Telemedicine, other countries world over keep doing business via virtual, the world over is moving forward, Nigeria remain behind because of people like Olanipekun who believe the status quo must remain.

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  16. "Prof. S. A. Adesanya would take his time to extinguish his cigar before very aristocratically facing the class, to speak Evidence" that was in 1985. We are now in 2020.

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    Replies
    1. Smoking in public places is now banned in Nigeria. Section 9 of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Act 2015 stipulates that offenders, once convicted, are liable to a fine of not less than N50,000 or not less than six months' imprisonment, or both

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