‘I Plan To Be A Prof, SAN’ – Mission Daniel, Esq.

‘I Plan To Be A Prof, SAN’ – Mission Daniel, Esq.

Kaduna State-born Mission Daniel’s mind was made up: he was going to become a sports analyst. He scaled the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) exams, scoring an impressive 266 points to gain admission to study Mass Communication. But fate had another mission for him. Daniel, the Best Graduating Student of his 2020/2021 Law Class set, tells how he found his true calling and became the first lawyer in his village.

My name is Mission Peter Daniel (M.P Daniel). I am a legal practitioner undergoing my National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme at Olaniwun Ajayi LP. I am from Jaba Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State.

Cleric’s son

I come from a family of four: my father, Daniel Gandu Oho; mother, Beatrice Daniel Oho; I and my younger sister. My parents are alive and bouncing joyfully in the Lord. Same can be said of my younger sister. My father is a seasoned Pastor and General Overseer of Fruits of God Ministry, Keffi, Nasarawa State. Further to this, my father is a professional teacher with ECWA High School, Keffi; he holds a master’s degree in religious studies from Freedom University and Theological Seminary, Pottstown, USA-Africa. My mother is a staff of the Nasarawa State judiciary.

Memorable school experiences

I attended both secondary and primary schools at Keffi. For my primary education, I attended City Nursery and Primary School and for my secondary education I attended ECWA High School. I cannot move quickly from this without sharing my thoughtful and life-inspiring experience that became the turning point in my life. After my Junior Secondary School III (JSS III), I was ready to begin another phase of my Senior Secondary education. I was required to – after Senior Secondary School (SSS I) – decide my preference and career path in one of Sciences, Arts or Social Sciences. This was not as easy as it sounds because I had distinctions in all subjects associated with these classes. In SSS I, we were obligated to take all subjects combined before we were allowed to cherry pick our preference. I was convinced to go to the Arts class because I saw it as my career path. But my teachers objected saying I was the best match for the Sciences class as they saw me having a future in it. Against all odds, I declined and followed my mind. I am glad I made this choice. I have never regretted and will never regret that decision. It is my destiny, and I am living it to the brim.

First lawyer in the village

As shocking as this sounds, the honest truth is that none of my parents is a lawyer. Further to this, as it stands except it changes in the near future, I am the only indigenous lawyer from my village. However, it will interest you to know that my mom worked in a law firm in Keffi as Secretary/Human Resource from 1998-2010 before she left for the Nasarawa State Judiciary as a Clerical Staff. It will necessarily follow to state that I had the opportunity to learn basic things about law at the time, on her account.

Love for sports analysis

Many may find this uncomfortable, but it is the reality: I cannot point to a thing or person which or who I can boldly mention to say that he or she inspired me to study Law. I never had the passion to study Law; it was never cultured in my mind. I took my first Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board/Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (JAMB/UTME) in 2014 and I applied for Mass Communication as it was my dream course because of the love I had for it. Perhaps I loved it at the time because of my love for sports analysis as I would stay glued to my television and radio sets to listen to veteran football analysts and experts analyse football effortlessly. It was a joy to watch and listen to them perform the art. The passion grew copiously, not parsimoniously. Sadly, I could not secure admission the first year, so I took JAMB/UTME the second time (this was in 2015) and I applied for Mass Communication again. The result was finally released and I scored a whopping 266 points. Everyone who got to know of my score congratulated and rejoiced with me. But whenever they asked what I applied for and I said Mass Communication, the response I got afterwards would be discouraging. The question that would follow would be, ‘why not Law? Why Mass Communication? ‘Think again.’ This question was always the same and I was getting uncomfortable with it. I was belaboured with this question to the extent I had to withdraw from the public to give it a thought. Thankfully, I considered the option of studying Law and I secured admission with the provided JAMB/UTME points. The rest is now history as I am now a lawyer. I was called to the largest Bar in Africa in December 2022.

Overcoming challenges studying Law

I attended Nasarawa State University, Keffi between 2015-2021. I must reiterate that studying Law came with a lot of challenges, especially in my first year at the university. To begin with, the course appeared so strange to me as I would struggle to understand some complex topics, for example in Logic and Legal Reasoning (a course taught in first year), as well as Legal Methods. My pain was doubled when I would hear my colleagues debate complex legal issues in class or even engage lecturers in interesting debates, but I would have nothing to contribute as I was usually lost in it. However, I never got whittled down by this, as God helped me to rise to the occasion; I proved a point by leaving a landmark in the Faculty of Law, Nasarawa State University that, today, speaks volume. To mention a few, I was the best graduating student of my class (Class of 2020/2021). I missed making First Class by only a few marginal points. Further to this, I held several remarkable tutorial sessions for my junior colleagues as well as my colleagues which many students till date remember me for, as they tremendously changed their academic life and circle. To seal this, in 2020 I was awarded the Best Law Tutoring Student. Indeed, ‘better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.’

Formula for Law School success

Law School is not a difficult programme, but I must be quick to state that it is complex in a number of things, perhaps because of the way the programme is designed. I have always imagined even before getting into Law School that it would be complex and demanding, so I prepared mentally and physically for it. I think I like the manner in which this question was framed, this is because Law School does not have a formula of general application. One has to develop a formula that works fine for him or her in order to avoid disappointments. My formula at the Law School, as simple as it sounds, was this: reading/studying with the desire to know the subject matter as if I was going to teach the topic (I did teach my colleagues several times just to test and gauge my understanding of the subject matter); having at least two hours of sleep every day after class; praying and dedicating my time and service to God in the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria, Nigerian Law School branch and eating well.

I had time for recreational activities too. Most times I had the opportunity to watch live football matches because I was an ardent supporter and follower of Manchester United. At some point I had to take a walk alone or with a friend.

Awards galore

I won awards at the university. I got an award in 2021 as best graduating student. I got an award also in 2020 as best tutoring student. I got an award of academic excellence in 2019 from the National Association of Muslim Law Students, Nasarawa State University chapter. I came 2nd in the Nasarawa State Students’ Association (National Body) Essay Competition done in honour of His Excellency the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule, among others which are in the bag.

Memorable call to bar

Call to the Bar? Wow, it was a memorable moment. My parents were so happy and proud to have a son who just crossed the hurdle. My grandma, uncles and aunties were present to grace the occasion as they joined to celebrate with me. It was such a joy to feel loved. Sadly, I did not have an after party because I was in a hurry to beat traffic so I could get enrolled at the Supreme Court the same day I was called. Notwithstanding, I cannot ask any less of what I got from my family and friends.

Problem with Law School grading system

I do not think the grading system works for the programme as it is merely a vocational training of barely nine months. I advocate that what is obtainable in Medical Sciences should be imbibed; it is either a Pass or a Fail. This is how it should be. The Law School grading system as it stands makes people who are not part of the legal profession or those who have not gone through the system to have the perception that a lawyer who makes a pass from the Law School is not as smart or intelligent as the lawyer who makes a First Class, but this is not true. Imagine someone having to make a Pass from Law School because he made 4 As and a C in the Bar Final Examination. This is not fair.

I would change the grading system if I could. I would honestly do so if I could.

Why wig, gown should be scrapped

The wig and gown should be scrapped. For God’s sake, the same people who invented or from whom we copied it have long scrapped it as it does not meet the current trend. More so that most of our courts in Nigeria are left in a laughable condition. Imagine lawyers having to be in the regalia under terrible weather conditions just for some tradition that we are refusing to let go. To refuse to match the current trend on this in the legal profession in Nigeria is unthinkable. The wig and gown should only be employed for ceremonial purposes and functions.

Marrying a lawyer?

I do not have a problem getting married to a lawyer and I would not mind either if I do not get to marry one. I am only interested in marrying God’s will for me.

SAN, Professor or Judge

I strongly desire to be a Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria. A double will not be bad.

Second chance at a career

I would study Law over and over again. No regrets and no disrespect to other disciplines.

The future

I am working on building my career in legal practice as well as in the academia. I admire both.



Culled from THE NATION

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