Several arrests and false accusations compelled me to study law
I am known for my activism. However, I realised at some point that having a sound understanding of the law is a necessary tool for social engineering. As you may know, I am the convener of Concerned Nigerians, a pan-African platform for the protection of human rights and the rule of law. The knowledge of the law has aided me greatly in running the organisation in fighting for the oppressed. Not many people knew I was studying law. I kept it that way to avoid distractions.
I got admission to study Mass Communication in the year 2000, which I started at Bayero University, Kano, and I was in my final year when I was politically persecuted and prosecuted for my activism as a students’ union leader, wherein I was later charged with an offence I knew nothing about. However, the court saw through the trumped-up charge and acquitted me. But I have now also commenced the process of completing my outstanding semester in the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano. I have also undergone several certificate courses in the United Kingdom.
I was initially scheduled to begin the programme in early 2018. However, due to several arrests and persecution by the government, I missed many classes and I had to delay my full resumption till 2019. Baze University runs a trimester system. There is hardly any break. My priority was finishing with a first class. I had to put other things aside. Even the running of my businesses and Concerned Nigerians was temporarily delegated to others.
I stayed off campus mostly and went to school from my house or office daily, as classes were between 9 am to 6 pm daily.
I have been a victim of several trumped-up criminal charges and civil lawsuits. In the course of going in and out of court, it occurred to me that I need a basic understanding of the law to better appreciate the issues and put up my defence. This was my initial motivation to study law. My numerous sojourns in prison exposed me to several persecutions suffered by Nigerians. This was further motivation to study law and fight these atrocities. In recent years, I have witnessed people living below the poverty line and state actors using instruments of the state to oppress innocent citizens. I, therefore, made a decision to study law to enable me to defend these innocent citizens and fight for the rule of law.
Baze University runs two semesters a year with an optional choice of the summer one for interested students. So if you want to do an extra semester in a year, the option is available. This means when other students are on break in most universities in the country, some students are still actively running the optional semester in Baze. For this reason, students are able to graduate faster than other students in Nigeria.
This is akin to the system obtainable in the United Kingdom where an undergraduate degree is mainly three years. This may be the reason notable figures are attracted to the school. Secondly, Baze University has a very strong academic background. For example, in the Faculty of Law, we have renowned lecturers like Prof. Ernest Ojukwu. Other lecturers like Prof. Chris Ohorougu and Prof. Alubo have taught at the faculty at one point in time. I can assure you that you will not graduate from the Faculty of Law, Baze University if you are a lazy student. There is nothing like a waiver. You will sit all your carryovers, irrespective of whether you are the president or governor.
I had a great and humbling experience at the University. Wearing a regulation dress (i.e. black and white) for about four years was not easy. I had students as young as 17 in my class. It was not exactly easy being in the same class with them. As an older and popular person, they were always looking up to me. I had a duty not to fail them. Thank God I did not. However, it is ironic that most of the younger students were not serious, as many of them failed in their academic work. This was very sad, considering the millions of naira their parents paid as school fees. For me, studying was not just about academics alone. For every lecturer and student I met, my goal was to leave an everlasting impact on them.
I am yet to get into law school because Baze is a relatively new tertiary institution. Our quota for law school is still low. We still have some backlog. As soon as it gets to our set, I will pack my bag and head to law school.
Once I complete school, I plan to practise law and change the face of human rights in Nigeria. I intend to make more impact than the like of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, and my mentors, Chief Femi Falana, Chief Ozekome and Chief Paul Ogbole.
I am already pursuing an LLM in law at the prestigious Baze University. I plan to pursue a PhD after my LLM. I am an academic person. I love to read, but my quest for knowledge is not only for the classroom. It is primarily geared towards improving the country’s legal jurisprudence, as well as the protection of human rights and the rule of law.
In an ideal situation, I will say we do not even have enough lawyers. Do you know that we presently have less than 150,000 lawyers for over 200 million citizens? However, in recent times, it will appear that the profession is not doing enough to challenge the ills in society. Those who should ensure that laws are obeyed are the first to disregard the laws. I hope to change all these through my organisation, Concerned Nigerians.
My love for politics has nothing to do with money as I did not make my money from politics. I have never held any public office, either elected or appointed by any government in Nigeria. So, how could I have made my money from politics? I challenge anyone with a claim to provide proof. I have a chain of businesses that I own and other businesses that I have invested in. I manage these businesses and follow up on my investments.
I inherited a petrol station from my late father and I am an entrepreneur. That is my day job. I invest in a lot of businesses. Dividends and profits from these businesses have been keeping me afloat. My goal is to ensure that Nigerians are treated well by security agencies, with their rights respected. This is what I intend to dedicate my entire life to.