Captivating Valedictory Speech by Atiku M. Jafar, The National President of Law Students’ Association of Nigeria

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Recently, the Law Student Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN) the umbrella body for law students in Nigeria elected new Executives to replace the outgoing ones at the expiration of their tenure. Mr. Emmanuel Nwobodo President and replaces Mr. Atiku M. Jafar.

At the inaugartion of the new executives, the immediate past President Mr. Jafar gave a very captivating valedictory speech.

Read the speech below:

Protocol,

It gives me great pleasure to present this valedictory speech. I specially cherish this moment of relief from a really tasking, but passionate service. The journey has not been easy over the years, but with your constructive support and the unwavering commitment of my ardent members of the National Executive Council, we were able to steer the Law Students’ Association of Nigeria to a level of prominence.

When we assumed office in 2018, LAWSAN, to say the least, was grappling to stand on its toes as a newly established association. But with the guidance of our foresight and the ardent commitment of our team, we have not only created and strengthened a virile institutional framework for law students’ unionism in Nigeria, but have carved a clear roadmap for law students to enrich their career potentials. We have carved a niche for law students in this hallowed confines through a series of interventionist projects targeted at professional growth and capacity building.

I would like to relish this opportunity to place on record the very productive services of my fellow members of the National Executive Council (NEC), the Directorates and my staff and brothers at the National Secretariat and the Office of the President. Your dedication to duty was unparalleled and your belief in selfless public service has always been the fuel that kept us moving.

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I would be remiss if I fail to acknowledge the efforts of distinguished Senators and Chapter Heads who formed an integral part of our project. Despite the daunting  challenges and at grave cost to our academics, we worked as a team and never relented in giving our best in service of our colleagues and the legal profession. The invaluable support of my family as well as the management and staff of the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, which hosted our National Secretariat, cannot be quantified.

It is no doubt tasking to lead a body of over 50,000 intellectually mobile and constantly critical students. But the constructive criticisms of our colleagues had always kept us alive to the responsibilities of our office and the mandate we bear. To this end, I am eternally grateful to all law students throughout the lengths and breadths of Nigeria, for the rare privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President.

Throughout this journey, we’ve had course to share the glory of agreement and have a taste of descent, largely due to divergence of opinion and political intrigues. But we have always been united by our shared visions and the pursuit of our common dreams and the dreams of the founding fathers of LAWSAN.

I am proud, and have no regrets whatsoever, that we have positioned our priorities not on building monuments or flowing landmark projects, but on injecting projects that have the effect of a lifetime. We believe in building our members and equipping them with the requisite skills to attain their best, and this can be gleaned from our disposition throughout our stay in office.

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Locally and internationally, we have networked LAWSAN with the required stakeholders in government, industry, and beyond.

During campaigns and to my Inaugural Address, I pledged to direct the policies of this administration, fundamentally, to pursue three (3) visions in three (3) quarters respectively, to wit; Recognition, Reinvigoration/ Revitalisation and Institution Building. Today, I can say with pride that we have attained the required national recognition and have attained vitality, vigor and strength. Our past months in office have been those of, among other things, creating national awareness, building diplomatic ties with personal industry, government agencies at all levels, Institutions, NGOs, and reaching out to chapters that had not been de facto carried along in the national body.

We attained landmarks in media partnerships geared at bringing law students’ activities to the global limelight. We partnered DNL Legal & Style (a legal news platform), Law Students’ Hub and other print media organisations. The Nigerian Television Authority and Channels TV has also been at the core of our media activities.

We are in partnership Africa Legal (a London-based news and career development organisation), Legal Pages, Juriscuti, etc., all of which benefit LAWSAN by floating career development programmes such as courses and internships exclusively to all Nigerian law students under the instrument of our partnerships.

Recently, we’ve partnered and supported a project to train law students in strategic law faculties in Information Technology Law, Fin Tech, Blockchain and other aspects of Tech Law, and yet another partnership to improve the training of law students in Tax Law.

We supported and are currently reinforcing the operation of clubs established by the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law in the University of Lagos, the Ahmadu Bello University, Baze University and the University of Benin to broaden the teaching and practice of commercial law in law students, and fortunately, LAWSAN and the five clubs have enjoyed free participation in all NBA-SBL Conferences held throughout our stay in office.

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We established the Female Law Students’ Forum to address child labour and domestic violence through the instrumentality of the law, defended the welfare of law students, united them under a single umbrella and in the pursuit of shared visions. In a series of landmark interviews and stakeholder engagements, we campaigned vigorously for reform in legal education. Our goals were simple – to create a LAWSAN that believes in the enormous potentials of law students and strives to bring them to fruition. We recently procured a Grand Patton for the Law Association of Nigeria in the esteemed person on the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and have pressed for legislative intervention to the benefit of law students in Nigeria, which will be shouldered by the Ministry of Justice under the Attorney-General’s Office.

I have no doubt in my mind that our successors, under the leadership of Emmanuel Nwobodo, with whom I worked in the last administration, will leverage on the networks we have set in place and take full advantage of them to build a robust law students’ community in Nigeria.

This service to me is a calling, and In my next endeavours, I will deploy my best time, skills and resources in doing so and in ensuring that LAWSAN attains unprecedented landmarks.

Thank you and God bless the Law Students’ Association of Nigeria.

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