Tit Bits from Prof Akin Oyebode: A Lawyer Who had no Wig and Gown

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    Tit Bits from Prof. Akin Oyebode: Teaching; A Vocation not an Occupation
    Prof Akin Oyebode

    Prof never saw the need to even as little have his own wig and gown. His was a path clearly defined and ordained.

    The thing is that I was not attuned with the practice of law, even though I was called to bar 26 years ago, I lost 16 years of seniority and up till now, I don’t have a wig or gown. I borrowed my sister’s wig and gown for my call to bar. We are 9 ½ lawyers in our family but I am, may be one of the relatively junior because I did not go to law school and my younger siblings became my senior at the bar.

    Having said that, I think our parts are cut from one another. If you want to go to practice to succeed and make a lot of money and then attain the zenith, you would need what I call the highest accolade of ‘Senior Advocate’ which is just like the British QC. In a place like Canada, academics were invited because it is honorific. One thing I detest so much about the whole rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria here is that you have to apply in other to be recognized and you pay about N600,000 to buy the form. It is ridiculous. In the universities we do not purchase honour. And even when a professor retires and he merits it, he would further be invited to come and become a Professor Emeritus. The first Professor Emeritus of Law we have is Professor Ijalaye. He is still there conferring legitimacy on proceedings. 

    The thing is that I was not attuned with the practice of law, even though I was called to bar 26 years ago, I lost 16 years of seniority and up till now, I don’t have a wig or gown. I borrowed my sister’s wig and gown for my call to bar.

    I think you can be a successful academic and you do not need to be looking for extra income in practice. You should be consulted because you are an expert. The highest accolade I have had in this job was when the African Union commissioned me to draft a treaty on Trans-border Cooperation in Africa. I had to shuttle between Addis Ababa and Lagos. The treaty has not been signed but it is a thing of pride that it is a Nigerian lawyer who drafted the treaty for the whole of the African Continent. That is something money cannot buy. So a Jurist Consult, at best Of Counsel is the type of things I can do. In fact, right now a new policy has just been introduced that as a professor of 15 years and above, you can retire with your salary for life. Luckily, I became a professor in 1991 which means I am going to earn my salary for life by the grace of God. So we need not bother about what to eat or what to wear like Jesus assured his followers and for me, I have little responsibility now, my children are grown and my needs have become minimal. I am comfortable and contented. I do not need any more stress.

    Full interview here

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