Wiw. It’s the final day of my second term in the Nigerian Law School!
I woke up this morning smiling – legit. Too much has happened since January and it’s unbelievable that I’m still in one piece. I have learned sooo much in the past four months and from so many people. And I know it sounds cliché, but I am truly honored to have been posted to Yola Campus.
This article is about one of my most interesting experiences here: sitting under the teachings of my Corporate Law Lecturer, Mr. Nelson Ogbuanya. His classes are part-motivation, part-teaching (and at the same time full-motivation, full-teaching). I really don’t know how he does it, but he takes technical corporate law and makes it look like an uncircumcised Philistine – very conquerable. It suffices to say that he’s a great teacher.
He also has a Pete Edochie flavor with the way he drops deep lines and proverbs in the middle of teaching Corporate Law Practice (and Professional Ethics and Skills). He basically teaches life from his experiences.
I scribbled down some of his sayings in my notes as he taught, and now I have enough to make an article.
“You cannot win a drunkard in a drinking competition when you can only drink one bottle”
This was one of his best sayings. With this, he’d tell us how when you’re filled with knowledge of your trade, you can beat anyone at any argument, presentation and even the practice of your trade. And he’d also use it to warn us to be wise in picking our battles.
“Law is your hunchback; you have to carry it everywhere you go”
This was basically his way of saying that you don’t drop certain knowledge. He’d say that no matter how much sophisticated knowledge you acquire, you must never get tired of carrying the foundational and elementary understanding of said subject matter. It was also his way of telling us to see everything from the legal perspective.
“When you get tired of living; think of internal/external restructuring options, and not winding up”
This is a company crisis management joke, which isn’t really a joke when we look at the fact that he was addressing the serious issue of suicide. His advice was apt! He told us that if there was anyone who would have been tempted to commit suicide (‘winding up”) due to challenges in life, it was him, but instead of entertaining such thoughts, he’d figure out a way out of the situation; he’d be patient; he’d sit through the process and learn. That was apt!
“You cannot threaten a grandmother with pregnancy”
Oh well, this is assuming the grandmother is way past menopause. But anyway, this was his way of telling us that life is in stages. For instance, he could never be scared of Bar Finals Examination anymore, because he’s done with that stage of life.
“Diversify. Monotony is an aspect of monopoly. And monopoly kills its own self’
This perspective on monotony struck me straight into my heart. While I tilt towards the school of thought that says focusing on one thing and being best at it is the best way to succeed, I also align myself with his views on stark monotony. Well-roundedness is not necessarily a poison to specializing/mastering, you know. Monopoly is a death to itself because once something affects the power on which a monopoly is built, it dies a death so great and mighty.
“Discover what God has given you and be best at it”
Yeah, almost the opposite of the above, but still very apt.
“Men see marriage as an acquisition while women see it as a merger. And this is the irony of life; that women who canvass for early marriage are the ones who suffer for it”
He said it all
“It’s a dog eat dog world; you must bring a bigger dog to the table”
Here, he refers to competition. While I share an opposing view on the idea that competition in life is an ‘always’ and a ‘must-have’, I understand also that packaging, presentation and charisma help to set people at a (rebuttable) height over others.
“The way to slap your enemy is to laugh in his face”
“A person who will survive tomorrow’s Nigeria is a person who is 100% in everything he does”
I almost stood up to clap at this. THE PRINCIPLE OF EXCELLENCE CANNOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED.
“Look at Garri sellers in the market. Some come early, some come late. But the buyer does not care, he only wants good garri”
Another one deserving of a standing ovation. Quality matters so much more than ‘I’ve been doing this for 500 years’. While time might be a factor in helping you get better at stuff, better quality trumps the Time advantage almost every time.
“Life is like driving in Lagos traffic. When you join the road, you’ll think you’re the last, but after a while, you look back and see that you’re ahead of some”
Every journey has a beginning. Every person at the head of a queue was once the last person on that queue! Patience, young one…
“It is in the interest of the Nanny that the baby stays alive”
I’m not even so sure how I can apply this to my life, but I like this saying. No matter how witchy a person is, she can’t purposefully bewitch to her disadvantage.
“Respect is income”
Sounds A LOT like something we say on the streets (*straight face*). But basically, he talked about being a respectable person. It, in itself, is a valuable means of survival.
“ It is not every money in your daddy’s account that belongs to him”
LOL! I don’t even know why I wrote this down, but I really liked it!
“This is my own South Africa! Find yours”
Haha! My seat mate and I love this particular one because he says it when he tells the story of his life without fear or favour. We don’t even know what it really means, but we say it to each other when we have a ‘So what? Deal with it!’ situation.
I have not only picked an understanding of Corporate Law Practice from Mr. Nelson’s brain, I have picked up beautiful gems for life from him!