#MyBarFinalsTestimony is brought to you by the MCQ APP in conjunction with Ekaete Hunter.
Name: Madubuobu Promise Adaobi
Campus: Yola Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students; Overall 2nd best in Corporate Law Practice
University: Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Awka, Anambra), Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2.1)
About: Madubuobu Promise Adaobi is an NYSC Associate at Templars. She is working on a self-help book with some colleagues. She is interested in law,politics and human development. It is her goal to build a platform that will nurture, project, and celebrate talents. She believes that anyone can be great.It is a choice to be made. She also believes in grace,it is available for all. Get in touch with her on facebook, Adaobi Madubuobu, or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would briefly talk about my family and educational background and then a summary of my stay in law school.
I am the first out of the five of us. My father is a retired teacher and my mum is a public servant. Growing up as the first child and a girl too, at a very young age I was made to take up responsibilities. At all times, I had tasks at hand which include looking out for my younger ones. Sometimes I get punished for what they do just for the reason that I should have stopped them. When you have a teacher as your father, everyone will expect a high level of discipline from you after all you are nwa onyenkuzi (the daughter of a teacher). It is also a Christian family. All these played roles in making me who I am today.
As a child, people around could probably say, this girl is smart. Unfortunately or fortunately, my results sometimes say otherwise. This was especially the case in my junior secondary school days. There was this teacher of mine that won’t let me have my peace. She kept on reflecting this in my result, reporting me to my parents every visiting day she had the opportunity to see them. Seriously, I was not happy with her then. But interestingly, today I see her as of those that forced out the giant in me. While I was somewhere living beyond what God has given to me, she saw it and she insisted that I man up to be who I am made to be. God bless her for me. During my senior secondary days, I experienced a radical change in my performance. It was awesome and I realised then that I could act, I could speak before people and all that. It was this moment of coming to the limelight…yea, it was. I thank God for that.
At Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State
In the university, it was my goal to graduate with a first class. Fortunately, I didn’t graduate with a first class. Well, it was depressing, so painful for me then and was almost unbearable. With time, I got over it and got back to my feet. The bitter lesson that this taught me was to value opportunities. In all, being part of many moot and mock teams, visiting schools, acting in church, being part of tutorials teams (CLASFON) and so many things were worth it. I have few regrets.
At the Nigerian Law School, Yola Campus
Getting into the law school, I knew I wanted something extraordinary. Besides graduating as the Best Student in my set in secondary school, there was this craving for the best within me. I am extraordinary, I believe this! When God creates you, you have to know that you are not ordinary. Before my posting came out, I really prayed to God for His Will to be done. So when I saw Yola, I was excited despite the fact that my mum was crying. I only got to have cold feet when we got to Adamawa state because that was my first time in the North and North- East for that matter. The media was not fair to the residents of those states. When you see these things on the media, you get so scared and you think that everywhere on the streets people are being killed. It was not as I thought. It was such a regimented life in there-you have your activities lined up with no time for “fun”. This time around, as regimented as it was, human relationship was at the forefront of my agenda. I didn’t want to regret anything so, anytime I had the opportunity, I had to gist, relate with people well. The bond was firm and it was so reassuring to find out how so many persons are looking out for you. God bless Yola campus.
Until you are tested
I went through hell in order to raise my law school fees. A week to resumption, there was no dime. My mum lost her job so there was nothing in the house. I had to beg, cry, move around and mum borrowed some money too. As at the time I was travelling to Yola, I had nothing, except my transport fare and two thousand naira in my account. I told myself, ‘come on, you didn’t come here like every other person. You are a special candidate, so work differently.’ Bearing this in mind, waste of any opportunity had nothing to do with me. I read like there was no God and I prayed like there was no studying. I challenged myself to make my notes before the classes. I hate to make notes.
One feat that eluded me in the university was having a complete and comprehensive note. So, you can imagine how tough it was for me. There were countless late nights, and even developed backache as a result of constant sitting. Thank God I didn’t give up. It was GRACE. God sustained me. I have never had that feeling before. I don’t know how to explain it. There was this deep conviction, there was this resolution within, and I wasn’t ready to trade words with anybody on whether I was going to make a first class. I never settled for less. The invisible, the within was already determined to get there, and I think the outside, the visible part of me had no option but to agree with the within.
We faith it!
I disagreed with anybody that said anything contrary to my goal even my lecturers, though not to their face. Sometimes you hear them say, ‘first class is difficult in law school, it is not easy to get forty out of eighty’, and here is my reply, ”listen, this is not for me”. There was a day I sorted out some issues on property law drafts with my lecturer and after that he said ‘this is beautiful, you are a 2.1 student.’ I immediately rejected that. The one I had in the University is enough for me.
The teachable me
I was open to discussions, they helped me a lot. When I didn’t understand something in class, and someone else explained it better, I would go to the person for more clarifications. I made friends with serious-minded people within my campus and other campuses. We kept in touch via calls, chats and all that. I didn’t leave any class without being cleared. If it would be very controversial, I will wait till after class to sort things out. I was vibrant in class. Initially, I wanted to buy into the popular view that very brilliant people hardly talk in class; it is the”empty” ones that make most noise. This theory failed me, so, I became myself by airing my views in class. Just be yourself! I also knew the importance of humility, I embraced that virtue too, and I was not an overlord about my views. I allowed myself to be open to ideas. That was more than helpful.
Externship at Lagos Campus
For my externship, I knew that home would not be a good idea. I opted to be in a school environment, and I chose Lagos Campus. With prayers, externship was quite smooth for me. I had time for my personal studies (personal studies is the life wire for success in bar final exams). I was posted to a law firm within the Law school neighbourhood. With transportation burden taken care of, I was faced with feeding and studying, then church activities and some social activities. There were days we had something to eat and there were days the table was empty. As empty as it was, it lacked the ability to get me off my reading schedules.
Hell no to pressure!!!
I kept on moving, praying and trusting God. I also had to look out for a discussion group in Lagos Campus and I still had with my colleagues from Yola who were in Lagos too. God bless these ones for me. They are great people. It was tough, inundating and consuming. Some days you would attempt some questions and become discouraged at your performance. Some persons were so sound that I was literally dumb when they air their views. In all, I knew that it is never over until we drop our pen. So, rather than being intimidated, I stoop so low at their feet, listened intently and learnt sufficiently. And for pressure, I shut my mind against it. If that guy gets grip of your pysche, you will miss it. So, be calm and be steady, it will all turn out well.
There were moments of depression and confusion. My solution was found in God. I was exhausted at some point. I felt myself giving my all to a particular goal. People’s perception about my campus and its records couldn’t stop me, rather, I was compelled to pray for a change of story. Even when I was still in Lagos Campus, the last day I spent with CLASFON family, I testified that I made a first class in Law School. I didn’t know where the conviction came from. The level of faith was radical.
Bar final examination
Exams came. I never discussed any of the questions. I never checked or cross checked any of the answers until the results came out. I think it was two days before the results came out that I went through the Criminal Litigation and Corporate practice. I was really scared but I didn’t discuss it with anybody. I refused to discuss it with anybody. I didn’t want anything that would affect my faith. So I just closed my eyes to the questions and focused on what God has to say. People prayed for me. Yola was a place where people would see you and pray for you. People encouraged me, there was nobody who discouraged me.
Result and post-law school period
In all, Law school experience is indescribable. It was wholesome, it was perfect. It was a life changing experience, it was a blessing, it has been a blessing to my life and it will continue to be a blessing to my life. I also want to use this medium to say that no matter the task you have at hand, the only person that can stop you is yourself. Once you have made up your mind to get there, you will get there. If eventually you miss it, then there is something bigger in the future. Don’t give up. Run this race and claim your laurels. Shun negativity and pessimism. Finally results came out, I was so scared. My friend checked for me, we were in the faculty in UNIZIK, and it was a first class. It was a moment of joy. I felt fulfilled that this quest has come to an end. I felt like God had honoured your word. I understood God is faithful, who said He is not. I knew God is real, more than real. Calls were coming in, people were congratulating me. I am so proud of God.
Different faces of the same crown
If you ask those that made a first class, you will realise that everybody had their own formula and their own way. This solidifies my belief about the complex nature of life. It is not a one way thing. There is no single formula for everything. Regardless of our different stories, there are common basics – hard work, determination and perseverance. There are those who made 2.1 that are perfect first class candidates. For me, being among the twenty-four was grace in action.
I didn’t do some pre-class activities, and it was very detrimental. Please, every Law School student must do his/her pre-class activities. Do not lag behind in anything.
I had always wanted to be a lawyer, although I had a very shallow understanding of what it means to be a lawyer then. Today, I am a lawyer, and I am still in the process of finding myself. You know, life is a bit complex. You make it simple by living out what God plans for you. I pray to be distinguished in this career, but I will so excited to be part of many people’s success stories. This brings me to another part of me…yes, this is the me that is moved to see that others live beyond their expectations. It is the me that is so interested in everyone who is trying so hard to find him or herself, the me that celebrates those who have found themselves and the me that insists that once there is life, failure is nothing but a very instructive teacher. It prepares and does not deter us.
So I love to see people grow, excel, be who they are created to be. I like to see people add value to the society. I love to see people being happy at what they do. I love to motivate people. I also love the law.
I also want to use this opportunity to congratulate Kadiri Ayodele Ashiata*. It was awesome sitting near you. She is our star and I am so proud of her. She represents the blessings that come with hardwork. When I see the rewarding moments of someone’s life I am always happy. Success comes to anyone who is hell-bent on being successful. We all can be successful in our various calling.
For those who didn’t make it, I have confidence in you guys. Come July this year, I am sure of your celebration. Nothing can stop you without your consent.
You just have to smile
I also want to use this medium to encourage anybody who is going through tough times be it financially, emotionally, socially or spiritually, these things spice up life. They are there to propel you and not the other way round. Haven’t you wondered why success had to wait till it has becomes almost unbearable? Success does not come to anybody; you must assure this guy that you value it.
I am still a lawyer, an associate with Templars. We just started learning the ropes of legal practice and I am certain that we are made for the top. I enjoy discussions on any legal issue, but talk more about tax, arbitration and sports law when you are with me. I love teachers and what they do!
We are moving forward
Thank you so much. God bless you all.
*Kadiri Ayodele Ashiata will also be sharing her story as part of the #MyBarFinalsTestimony series