Name: Saheed Adekunle Abiola Esq.
Campus: Lagos Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students.
University: Kogi State University Anyigba, Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2.1), Second Best Student in the Faculty of Law
About: Saheed Adekunle Abiola Esq. is from Osun state. He is the first student from his university to make a first class from the Nigerian Law School. He won several awards from the pre-bar NLS, Lagos – Best in Civil Litigation, 2nd Best in Property Law Practice and Third Overall Best student. His outstanding performance made the Director of Civil Litigation NLS Lagos, Mrs Fashakin Odukoya buy him a wig and gown. While at the NLS, he participated in different activities such as the Annual Property Law Practice Debate of the NLS where he came 2nd best and NLS Lagos mock trial where he was a principal counsel representing the state and he secured a death sentence. He has addressed, oriented and tutored hundreds of students in seminars, conferences and public lectures where he has been invited to speak as a guest speaker. He currently serves as the NYSC Legal Officer at Kings University, Ode-Omu Osun state. He is also known as TEAM among his friends – Tutor, Editor, Author and Manager. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Experience in the NLS
I have been asked severally by law students from various Universities across the Country on how I made it at the Nigerian Law School and got the DG’s award for the first class students. I have gathered frequently asked questions and have used my experience to provide the answers:
- How did you make a first class in the Nigerian Law School?
My response has always been my 5 (five) guiding principles which are:
- Be focused and determined: It is often said that with determination one can go to any length in his academic life – “where ever determination exists with great objectivity failure can never dismantle the glamorous flag of success.” Therefore, it can be said without mincing words that your mind is your limitation.
- Perfect understanding of yourself: Please understand yourself and do not follow friends. If you are the type that learns all alone by yourself , don’t follow any study-mate but if you know you learn better with friends, get people better off, to enrich your life. If you cannot read more than 2 hours a day do not emulate that student who reads for 2 straight days. My colleagues-in-equity, death is real.
- Hard Work: NLS as many will describe it, is a home of stress, where a number will fall sick, maybe, because they don’t have a perfect understanding of themselves. Even some applicants to the bar will end up not writing the exam they have prepared for as a result of unnecessary belaboring of themselves.
- Be prayerful: Prayer they say is the key to success though with hard work as they both work together. There is nothing God cannot do but there are many things He can do but will not do. Prayer without work is tantamount to nothing as the Holy books (Qur’an and Bible) will say. In fact as one of my Lecturers in NLS will say pray as if you have never read and read as if you have never prayed for you to succeed in the Bar finals examination.
- Follow NLS rules: Do everything they ask you to do and don’t do anything they ask you not to do.
- Did you find law school interesting?
Of course! Yes, law school is just like a normal school the only difference is that it is professional in nature and without much ado it can be simplified with your mind. No one, like I normally say, is destined to fail, you can change what you think is your destiny because your mind is your limitation. As long as you are determined and you stay focused I believe you will make your desired grade.
Though, the fact that you are determined to make a particular grade in the law school does not mean you should read like you want to die and pray and fast like Bar final is a do or die affair.
- How did you read in the NLS?
Those that know me they will say I am a book-worm but that is not correct. The fact is I have a target or task to carry out on daily basis and if that task or target is not completed or met, I would not sleep. This is because I must read and make note before the class, during the class and after the class.
- Did you attend group meetings?
Group meetings, to many, is a waste of time but to me I gained a lot. Though, I was not a group leader but my active contribution in the group meetings made the group to appoint me as a sub-group leader for the whole session. I can say technically that I did not miss any group meeting as a law school student because I always want to listen to people, make contribution and in fact get knowledgeable gist from my group mentor (Sylvester Udemezue Esq) whose talks are gold.
- How did you study in NLS?
Back then in my University Kogi State University, Anyigba I was “one man mopol” – I studied alone, no study-mate, no group discussion and not even tutorials from anyone. But on getting to the NLS, I found out that I needed study-mates with whom I studied together. I met G.C Adonu* (First Class Babcock University, First Class NLS, Best male student NLS and 2nd Best graduating Student NLS) and Ramadan Alege (Second class upper Uthman Danfodio University and Second Class Upper NLS) whose contributions in my life can never be quantified. Though, the three of us never studied together, I studied with G.C Adonu Esq early on Saturday mornings at the foyer of NLS Lagos, I studied with Ramadan Alege Esq every night in the mosque of NLS Lagos Hostel and I studied alone in the afternoon.
- When Can I start reading in the NLS for Bar finals?
No time is too late, but the earlier the better. I have seen some students who started serious reading for the Bar finals a month to the exams and made a first class but your story may be different therefore it is better to start early to avoid frustrations. If you start late the volume of work before you may frustrate you. My candid advice is that you start reading from your first week of resumption and if you have not started at all you can still start now it is not too late please!
- I made a 2:2 in the University can i make a first in the NLS?
I have always said it that NLS result is not determined by your university result, the fact that you made a first class in the University does not mean that you will also make a first in the NLS but your hard work, prayer and determination will go a long way to assist you. Frankly speaking, I have seen a 2:2 student who made a first class from the NLS**.
- Did you face any challenge as a NLS student?
The major challenge I faced while in the NLS is that I could not sleep well. Most of the time I had a sleepless night not because I was reading all time but because I was trying to complete my task for the day. Before my program in the NLS I sleep not later than 9pm. Though, the major challenge many will expect is the lengthy lecture hours and the reading period, I did not see that as a challenge maybe because I got used to that right from my university.
- Do I need to study throughout the night?
This is serious, gentlemen you need your sleep. I slept well while in the Law School though I didn’t sleep very early because I had to sleep after my task or target for the day is completed or met. I study according to my planned personal time-table, so, I don’t study throughout the night. Try to understand yourself so that you will not read beyond your health limit.
- Did you partake in any activity while in the Law School?
I partook in everything designed for students in the NLS right from the Induction period – group meetings, Moot and mock trials, MSSN (Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria) programs. I still remember the symposium we organized where we had Muiz Banire SAN, Babalakin SAN among others in attendance. In fact, participating in the NLS activities would definitely assist you. For instance I mastered most of my case laws in criminal litigation in the Moots and Mock trials organized by the NLS.
- Of what benefit is NLS SNAP TEST?
This is common to Law School Lagos and this is why I am always proud of NLS, Lagos. Students who participate in all the Snap tests conducted by the School cannot fail in the Bar finals. The reason is simple – the Snap tests are set like standard Bar finals exams. I was among the Best in the first Snap test, also in the second Snap and in the third Snap test result which was announced in the last Cocktail and Award Night, I bagged 3 awards – Best in Civil Litigation, Second Best in Property Law Practice and Third Overall Best Student and in the Bar finals I still bagged the DG’s prize for the First class Students. In fact, my Bar finals were like snap tests to me.
In conclusion, there is no impossibility. My experience in the NLS suggests to you that you can also make a first class; you can gather as many awards as possible. If it was possible for me, then it can also be possible for you. Do not allow anyone to deceive you. NLS is the only institution where you get exactly what you deserve.
I wish you all best!!!
* Geoffery C. Adonu will be sharing his story later as the series progress.
**Oyeleke Oyeniran Esq made a 2.2 in OOU and finished from the Kano Campus with a first class. Read his story here.