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Name: Ijiomah Amadi Chiemeziem
Campus: Abuja Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students; Dr. Mudiaga Odje S.A.N., Prize for the Third Best Student in Criminal Law Practice.
University: University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Second Class Upper Division)
About: Chiemeziem Ijiomah Amadi hails from Abia State. He is an alumnus of Britarch Secondary School in Umuhia where he finished as the Best Graduating and Best Behaved Student. He is a self-motivated, IT Proficient multitasker with interests in corporate practice and environmental protection issues, particularly waste management and control. He loves reading, playing football and listening to people. He can be reached at Meziemijiomah@gmail.com.
Law wasn’t my first choice course because I never thought of studying law. From secondary school, engineering has always been my passion. I always wanted to study Engineering. I had this fascination about machines. I love machines. But then I ended up with law somehow, probably fate or something. It’s been fun. Now, I am a Barrister.
2nd of November, 2015 that was when I saw my posting. I was posted to NLS Abuja. I was happy because I always wanted to go to Abuja law school. Probably because I heard they were two in a room and I heard they finished lectures around one in the afternoon. I was looking forward to that – the free time. On the 3rd of November 2015 I left home for law school. I got to Law School that day and I started my registration. I did not know that it would be the last day I would see someone very dear to me. Such is life. Anyways, everything went accordingly. I started classes. I never came to law school with the intention of making a first class. As a matter of fact, I didn’t want to stress myself at all. I just wanted to go through Law School and leave the place. I just was like, okay, read and you will definitely pass. I knew there was no way I would do the things I was supposed to do and not pass. So I was just taking it easy, a step at a time. Never tried too hard to impress. But then, everything changed as the session went by. My mum called me on Sunday morning December 6th, and asked me that if I heard my dad had died what will I do? What would be my reaction? I told her that I hope she was joking and she shouldn’t play with stuff like that. From her voice I knew something was wrong. She finally told me she wasn’t being serious but I chose to believe her. On Monday, after lectures, I was going for group meeting when I received a phone call from my younger brother. He was crying. He told me my daddy was dead, that he died on Saturday night at 11.59pm. I just sat down on one of the steps and cried. I didn’t know what to do. I remember the girl that walked up to me and asked me what was wrong. I didn’t say anything. I was crying. I walked from the Seminar hall to my hostel in tears. I wanted to quit life. I wanted to just quit. Just press Delete and then leave Law school, and run away from everything. Go and hide somewhere, maybe one of those island nations or something. Possibly pick my bag, walk from Abuja to Kano and from Kano into Niger Republic and just keep on going. At that point in time, I felt horrible. Such is life.
My dad was buried on the 8th of January, 2016. I didn’t come back early from the Christmas break because I had to stay back at home for a while. All my other siblings had things to do in school, so I stayed back to sort out things. For me, law school changed after my dad died. I wanted to leave. I just wanted to go home. But then I was convinced not to by my mum and my support group. I had people around me that knew what happened and were supportive – my roommate, my neighbours, Kenechukwu Agwu, and her friends, most especially Sopuruchukwu Machiadikwe David and his family. They were very supportive. I came back from the Christmas break different. I was floating through law school, from lecture hall back to hostel, go to eat, then in the evening I will put my ear piece on and just walk around, zone out. I just wanted to be alone. After my dad’s death, I had some issues with money, financial challenges, because we were still trying to process letters of administration. For someone like me that loves food, it was difficult. Without food in my system, studying was difficult.
The week externship started my grandmum was supposed to come from Port Harcourt down to Umuahia to stay with us. The morning she was supposed to come she had a stroke so they brought her down from Port Harcourt to Umuahia and she was admitted. My aunt’s husband also had a stroke so I had different people to take care of. I was the only one at home. My siblings were in school. I had to shuttle between hospital, Chambers and the Court. And there were other things. At a point I got scared. I was frightened, very much scared, that I had to tell my mum. I usually don’t tell people when I am afraid. I had to tell my mum because if I kept it to my self it would have affected me. I just had to tell her that I was afraid of the bar finals. I was afraid that I would not do well, that I would disappoint them. She told me not to be afraid because I wasn’t given the spirit of fear, that God did not bring me this far to disgrace me. So she encouraged me. I just had to double my efforts and not let that fear rule me. I banished the fear. I was like I cannot keep being afraid of something that has not come, something I know that I am more than. I am not saying I am more than the Bar finals, it’s just that I have never been afraid of any examination in my life. I know that God brought me that far, He can’t abandon me. That’s not the way He works. I had that conviction that I am destined for greatness.
So, I went back to school from externship a bit prepared for the bar finals. I kept on doing the things I was doing – watch football when I had to, if it was a game I wanted to watch. I read my books. I used my textbooks in revising. I love my textbooks particularly Efevwerhan and Dadem. I love them a lot. I had my red pens all over them. I don’t think I picked up my notes around the period that I was revising for exams. The only note I was using was my criminal litigation note because I didn’t have a hard copy textbook. I had the soft copy of Bob Osamor which was what I used.
Time passed, exams came, I wrote my papers and came out of the hall hopeful. I won’t say law school is fun. I loved it and hated it. It’s a part of my life I don’t want to remember but It is also a part of my life I don’t want to forget. The thing is people complain that the workload is much. Yes the workload is much. It seems bulky, but if you try as much as possible not to get left behind you would see that it won’t be too difficult for you. You have a purpose for being in law school so why not just achieve it. Get that aim and leave. It is not beyond you.
My law school experience was fun and not fun. I had to stress myself at a point – I had to make sure I tried as much as possible to cover what we had before the next day so that when I go to class it would be more or less like a revision class for me. Time management is essential. Manage your time wisely. Time flies, it waits for no man. If you apportion your time wisely, definitely, everything would work out. You have roommates for a reason. They are law school students like you. It makes it easier for you to discuss with them. You don’t have a roommate just for the purpose of doing tatafo and having fun. Use your roommates – yes, use them– use yourselves as tools to revise. The more you discuss a topic, the easier it becomes for you. No topic is too difficult in law school. It is just that you have not discussed it or opened your mind to assimilate. My roommate kosiemerem Durueke and my neighbours, Segun, Rufus, OJ, Anthony and Tunde Ednut, together we were always discussing at one point or the other. Even if we were talking about girls, definitely we talk about girls, we wouldn’t talk about girls for five to ten minutes without bringing up a topic or something that wasn’t clear to discuss amongst ourselves because there were some things they knew that I didn’t and vice versa. By discussing it and trying to find ways of solving, say a problem, you grab various view points and even go through the textbooks or materials and it helps you remember. Its not all about reading. Discussion is very important. Reading is important, yes. Reading without discussion for some people takes more time for assimilation to occur. But when you discuss, you tend to understand it easier. I believe they have the activity section of lectures for this reason. That way you get to discuss these things among yourselves and retain it. I have to appreciate my friends. They helped me a lot. It wasn’t easy. I know I am a handful but they still cared about me.
Making this grade was never one of the things I was thinking about when I was going to law school. No, it wasn’t. I just wanted to go there, pass out and continue with my life. At a point in time, I got to know that it won’t be bad if I had this because my ambition has always been to work with the United Nations in one capacity or the other. So, with this it is just a stepping stone for other things. I know I cried the day I saw my result. I was just crying. My mum knew why I was crying. I wish he were around. Everything happens for a reason. God knows best. For law school, all I can say is try your possible best to do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do them. You will find out that you will still have time to do those other things that you want to do. Do the things you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do them, it will help you.
I want to appreciate my friends (those I remember and those I don’t) – my roommate Kosiemerem Durueke, my neighbours – Segun, Rufus, OJ Simpson, Tunde Ednut and Anthony, Kenechukwu Agwu and her friends, Sopuruchukwu David Machiadikwe. He is more or less like a brother. I have adopted him as a brother in my head, and Ciara – she was my reading partner. I didn’t really sleep the week before the exams. I kept reading and revising. I slept during the day from 6am to 10am. At every other point, I was either discussing a topic with someone or revising. The mock trial, I was lead counsel for the defense in my group, is not a waste of time. It helped me a lot to revise criminal litigation without opening a textbook. I am not saying you should spend all your time on the mock trial without investing in other things. Just try as much as possible to participate. It will help you in one way or the other. Don’t ‘carry it on your head’ but participate. If you cannot participate, observe. It helps a lot.
Above all things ask for the will of God to be done in your life. You can never go wrong with God on your side.