All around the country, prospective barristers from the Nigerian Law School (NLS) Bar II, today, begin the traditional and compulsory 12-week Court and Chamber apprenticeship, a requirement second only to the almighty ‘Bar Finals’ in the order of importance to qualify to the bar.
They insist on styling it by the name “externship”. If you’ve done some kind of internship before your final year, or even an extended apprenticeship (as an nwa boy or something), don’t let them make you feel they are doing anything extraordinarily superior.
Maybe not superior, but our soon-to-be barristers’ externships are a real big deal. If we are ever going to get it right as a country, we are going to need something as basic as a functional and reliable legal system.
In a video interview posted on Sunday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo discussed the matter of the critical state of Nigeria’s judiciary. Being a Senior Advocate and the former prosecutor for the Lagos State Government, he would know. The Government, with its unenviable record of lost on anti-corruption cases, has found it uneasy to lay down a marker on what the thieves in high places should expect as reward for their crimes. It has been a shame to see senior members of the legal profession dragged through mud in humiliating and unnecessary DSS bravado shows, but can anyone really write a convincing brief in their defense?
We want to turn, in hope, to our leaders of today. Stuffed with intense classes and voluminous texts from the six campuses of the Nigerian law school over the past 6 months, we want to wish they can relate them to the practical cases they find in the courts and chambers. Some will, obviously, find more exposure than others, depending on the extent to which the rule of law has taken root in their assigned juridical divisions.
Not all will eventually go into legal practice, yes. Some probably have their sights set on following in the footsteps of persons like costume connoisseur Tara Fela-Durotoye, defining pop culture like Falz the Bahd Guy, creating a gripping documentary series like Kemi Adetiba’s King Women, or replacing Ebuka as the host of the next Big Brother Naija show.
But to those who already have drafts of their opening statements to defend Audi Maikori if he becomes arraigned, for the good of the future of Nigeria, we are cheering you LOUDLY!