Muniretu Maiza is a 2012 law graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo Universiy (OAU), Ile-Ife Osun State. She was called to the Bar in 2014. She speaks to ADEBISI ONANUGA on why she studied to law and how her family celebrated her graduation
Culled from THE NATION
My name is Muniretu Maiza. I am an indigene of Etsako-West Local Government Area of Edo State. I was born about 28 years ago into the family of Alhaji Maiza Bashiru Momoh and the fifth child of eight children. I am a 2012 graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo Universiy (OAU), Ile-ife, Osun State. I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Bauchi State. For Nigerian Law School, I was posted to Yola Campus and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2014. I am presently the Head of Chambers Associate Counsel of Winners Don’t Quit Chambers, the law firm of Adesina Ogunlana, the incumbent Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) Ikeja Branch.
Only lawyer in the family
My choice of law for a course was inspired my parents as a result of the fact that there was a medical doctor, an engineer, an accountant in the family already. Another inspiration came from late F.R.A Williams and the forthrightness of the late Gani Fawehinmi, Late G.O.K Ajayi who I stumbled upon either on the television or newspapers. My parents are both educationists and am glad to be the only lawyer in my family
Parents name changed to ‘Papa lawyer, Mama lawyer’
It was a celebration of another professional degree in my family as the name of my parents changed to “Papa lawyer and Mama lawyer) as well as mine changed to “ the barrister” in my neighborhood. Members of the family both far and near, friends, neighbors, well-wishers came to celebrate with us.
Then I realized that been called to the Nigerian Bar is an achievement that was going to lead to greater achievement. No other singular event can be said to be my greatest achievement. But as a lawyer, I have the greatest joy when the prison gate is opened giving freedom to a person due to my advocacy. Several times that has happened and I am glad that being a lawyer is finally paying off.
Despite all I have achieved, one of the challenges I have had to face in this legal journey which I hope to overcome soon is my attitude to clients. In as much as I want to be stern and steadfast as it relates to charges, there is this emotive side of me that identifies with the position of some clients, especially the poor and indigent ones which has made me severally to do such cases pro bono. I have also learnt not to listen to the sub-stories of clients.
Relationship with principal
Well I have had just one principal aside from the one where I had my law school externship. The name of my principal is Adesina Ogunlana, the incumbent chairman of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja Branch and of the Winners Don’t Quit Chambers.
Working with him has been very interesting and challenging. A relationship I would always cherish even though it’s being a robust one at that, reason(s) been that you can never please or satisfy him with your work. This has given me a wide range of opportunity to grow and discover myself in this profession.
Law school experience
Law School was indeed a very interesting and engaging phase of my life, akin to the development from a caterpillar to a butterfly. It created an avenue to meet with colleagues who are all doing well across the Nation. It was also a pace to cultivate friendships that will on keep growing forward. The academic aspect of the law school programme was also an interesting one and my quest for knowledge was met by the outstanding lecturers in Yola campus. The relevance of such knowledge is now better appreciated.
Expectations at Law School
When I was posted to Yola Campus of the Nigerian Law School, I really did not have any expectation at first. I had the believe that “with God by my side, everything is possible”. But as time went by, I began to reconcile with the fact that I had to come out with a excellent grade, I mean a first class. But that was not to be. To cut the long story short, when the time for the examination came, I wrote with so much assurance, but then the result didn’t quite reflect my nascent expectation. Yet I was really at peace knowing that my type of excellence cannot truly be measured with a grade.
Law school curriculum
The curriculum of the law school is quite wonderful. I don’t think it needs to be overhauled. The issues that exist are not with the curriculum. I would advise the authorities of the law school to engage more practicing lawyers in the teaching of the course as it will properly prepare the mindset of the students to the future that awaits them.
Marriage to a lawyer
Marrying a lawyer would be an interesting experience, and given the opportunity I will. Let me say that being a lawyer doesn’t make one a better spouse. It only brings out the emotional “law” in you. That is finding comfort in that same person whom you can discuss same thing with all day.
TO BE CONCLUDED…