LAW PERSONALITY INTERVIEW:
Why did you decide to go into lecturing when you retired from the Bench? How do feel at the level of your students at the highest echelon of the judiciary?
It is said that when one retires and go to sleep the brain goes to sleep and one dies. It is recommended that on retirement one engages with something to keep up the pace of work he was used to even if on a milder tone. Section 6 (3), (4) and (5) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 (as amended) stipulate thus “(3) A judicial officer who has retired shall not practice as an advocate in any court of law or judicial tribunal in Nigeria. (4) A judicial officer who has retired shall not sign pleading in any court (5) A judicial officer who has retired may continue to use the word “Justice” aspart of his name.” The provisions are clear. In the area of law practice a retired judge may set up only a consultancy on legal matters and his name would not appear in any of the work he does. I applied to the Faculty of Law University of Nigeria at Enugu Campus, my alma mater, for a space to assist in lecturing at the Law Faculty. That move was warmly received and it was a pleasant surprise to me when I received a contract appointment from University appointing me a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law. I resumed work on the 27/3/2019. I was posted to the Department of Private Law. My Head of Department posted me to teach Legal Clinic and Moot Practice. I have specifically taken up the now rechristened “Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners 2007 reflected through case law” which I discuss the 56 Sections therein. What I do is that I search for case law which have treated the 56 sections of Rules spread in A,B,C,D,E,F,G chapters. I give credit to my LawPavilion Prime App which allow me to work and search out the matching legal authorities. My Head of Department hopes that the lessons notes should be put in a print form. I have so far taught 2 classes in 2 semesters. We stopped in February 2020 when ASUU strike erupted again. Thereafter Covid-19 lock down took over and nine months since we have been at home. The students are well behaved. My first lecture on Legal Ethics was at the Justice Mary Peter Odili Auditorium at UNEC at which many classes were allowed to attend. Over 250 students were seated. On that day, in my one-hour lecture there was pin drop silence. That impressed me a great deal. I would say that the serenity of a court room is one of the aspects of my work in the Judiciary that I miss. I must confess that when I began to take single classes after that first lecture the classroom noises and murmurs returned and these could be distracting. Again in that I have quickly adjusted. The pole position of a judge nay Chief Judge is gone. This is a citadel of learning, all things should be clearly explained and understood. The real aspect is that as a teacher it is your duty to make yourself understood. Albert Einstein said that “if you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough” In the Department of Private law, we have also improved on our capacity to teach moot court practice by assembling the needed books and materials. Many other staff have been engaged in that respect. Recently our students attended the L’ avocat 3.0. Brief Writing and Mooting Competition 2019 organized by Kayode Eso Chambers, University of Lagos. The University of Nigeria, clinched TWO of the available THREE prizes. Kudos to our Head of Department and Director of UNN Law Clinic, Dr. T.O. Umahi. I have also been nominated as a member of the Board of Editorial Advisers of the Faculty of Law of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu.