Daniel Adedigba is an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University and a former President at Law Students’ Society, Obafemi Awolowo University. He was awarded the Most Outstanding Faculty President In Obafemi Awolowo University by the HOT_Inc, OAU Awards in August 2018. He was also the recipient of the twin-award of the Most Influential Male as well as the Award of the Political Icon of the Class in the IFELAW Class Of 2018. He was once a guest on Channels TV Law weekly. InterviewStories got in touch with Daniel through ‘The Edge’, a career refinery startup that helps students and young professionals define their career goals and connect them to viable career development opportunities. Here is the conversation we had with Daniel also known as Cortez.
Can we meet you?
My name is Daniel Adedigba, I am a student of the Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa Campus.
Why study law?
My decision to study was extremely uneventful. The decision was made after a failed attempt at studying English at my first trial immediately after secondary school. I had to stay a year at home engaging in skills that build beyond the classroom. At the next attempt at Jamb, I decided to opt for Law and I realized that was the best decision, in retrospect.
Do you think it could have been an added advantage to you if you had studied English before studying law? What made you put in for English initially?
No, I was truthfully clueless. I only wanted to be admitted to the University but you see, God, who knows the end from the very beginning knew I was about to commence a journey that is not mine hence the denial of admission in the middle of what was a high grade at both Jamb and Post UTME.
It was during my period of stay at home that there was an intentional repositioning. I never thought of having any discipline in trial or a boost to eventually studying law. There’s no time to be studying A before B.
Your leadership style was recognized while as a student leader at Obafemi Awolowo University. What made you want to serve as President at Law Students’ Society? How did your tenure make members have more interest in law during your tenure?
My approach to leadership is distinct. Leadership is my lifestyle. I have perpetually rebuked persons who take pride in sitting under mango trees doing meetings with mosquitoes and flies while criticizing leadership around them.
So rather than join in the circle of criticism, I rise to responsibility. One of my electioneering mantras then was that ”Every man is a catalyst of change, but be the change you desire to see”. I held offices right from my 200 Level to 500 Level. From being the Principal Liaison Officer of the Law Students’ Society in year 2, to being the Public Relations Officers of the Christian Law Students’ Fellowship of Nigeria in my 3rd year, an office I was reappointed to serve in 400 Level. Holding these offices are without prejudice to being a key member of other statutory committees within the Faculty among other leadership responsibilities in the University and my church. I can say all those indeed gave me all the requisite skills, expertise and readiness needed to be the Number 1 Law student in my 500 Level.
My administration was people-oriented. I consciously invested in Human Capital Development and ensured much more premium was placed in developing hands and minds while bringing the future realities of the Legal Profession to all members of the society.
Your opinion on leaders who do not trust key members of their administration?
Trust is a vital element of leadership and politics. It behooves however on individual-leaders to know exactly when and where to draw the line. I join the league of leaders who believe too much trust is disastrous and calamitous.
In leadership, it is of great benefit to choose your circle wisely and trust strategically.
What is the added advantage of attending law school for students of law who has a degree in law?
The rationale can never be undervalued. Law school is the icing on the cake for every law student. It is the Qualifying Certificate of the Nigerian Law School that makes a Law Student qualified to be called to the Nigerian Bar and it is the Call to Bar certificate that makes one qualified to be Enrolled as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. So you see, it is a chain. Without enrollment, a lawyer cannot be heard in any court of law in Nigeria.
So a law student without law school can only be, in my view, a lawyer by title. Such an individual is professionally impotent to do anything that accrues to the operation of a legal practitioner. The least of such is signing and endorsing an instrument/agreement. So why study law if you know you want to eventually be a teacher of Government in a Nigerian Secondary School. This is not to say there are no further opportunities but the primary undertakings of a Legal Practitioner cannot be engaged in by a graduate of Law without the Nigerian Law School.
Can you tell us your experience at the Channels TV’s law weekly?
Yes, that was September 2018, I was invited by my Boss, Milliscent Nnwoka to come and shed light on the Nigerian Legal Education generally as well as opportunities that abound for Law Students beyond the classroom. I was indeed able to channel recommendations on the subject as it was and is still one of great concern to me personally. I granted the interview alongside two of my favourite colleagues, Uzogor Clementina and Abejide Tosin, they also shared the same passion as I do and were able to dissect the topic accordingly.
How will current happenings affect litigations in the future?
It is simple. It is a course that follows an event. Actions of state governments are resultant effect of a notorious virus that is lashing the Nigerian space and the entire world. The closure of borders by State Government is a step in the right direction which I support passionately. Had foreseeable measures been taken before this time, perhaps, we would not suffer the number of cases of the positivity of the virus as we suffer at this moment. So border closure is an active step irrespective of any moral judgment to the contrary.
As it relates to Legal Issues, it is an obvious malady that the entire country is almost on lockdown as it should be. Before the closure of borders, the Chief Justice of Nigeria had announced the closure of courts and the same had been adopted by the Chief Judges of various states. Law firms have also adopted the “Work-from-home” principle which is extremely commendable. So, it is an aftermath of an event which we pray will be a thing of historical reference at a soon date. In the interim, legal issues are silenced for the sake of national safety. When we are off this hook, activities will resume fully, there will be no justification for closure of borders and further no justification for closure of courts. The direct effect eventually will be that courts will resume to many cases to settle because of the seemingly unforeseen break as well as settlement of issues on breach of contract will were occasioned by the lockdown. Some have failed to perform their parts of obligation relying on the “force majeure” contractual principle. When we are off this global – clog pandemic, courts would certainly entertain more disputes and determine whether this pandemic constitutes force majeure and whether it is enough to allow a party to escape liability for non – performance. This is among the long list of questions that will be begging answers from my lords after the pandemic. May God Heal our Land.
Analyse or debunk a myth about law or lawyers based on personal experience?
It’s a long list but you know being integrated with the knowledge of the profession has made me understand that it is indeed nothing but a myth.
Chief among these is that successful lawyers are occultist and in my indigenous parlance, belong to “Egbe Ogboni” (I wish I can express laughter in words). It is not unimaginable to visit some of my relatives and then be greeted with “D’Law, be careful oO, don’t join them oO” 😂
It is sincerely laughable, perhaps ridiculous and unfounded but fun anyways because I have heard this from persons that are even intellectually respected.
It is nothing but a myth, the measure of the success of a lawyer is largely based on his dedication to the profession and hard work.
Are there lawyers who are in secret groups, maybe yes. Are there non-lawyers in same? Perhaps in the affirmative as well. So it is indeed extremely laughable that successful lawyers belong to cults.
Another of same is that Lawyers are liars. All these are meted out on the platter of gross ignorance of the underpinnings of the Legal Profession as well as the duty of lawyers to his client.
This question is enough an interview topic on its own and I will like to talk about them later.
How can people who can’t afford services of lawyers get access to legal advice?
There is a statutorily recognized Council of Legal Aid geared with the overriding responsibilities of producing free legal services to indigent accused. Persons who cannot afford legal services can make applications to the Council however there are terms and conditions applicable as a precedent to granting such application among which is a proof of genuine indigence which is measured by earning below the Minimum Wage among others as recognized by extant laws.
Some lawyers engage in free professional services legally known as “Pro bono services”. The Nigerian Bar Association supports such free professional services and it is, in fact, one of the criteria for the conferment of the elevated rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
An indigent litigant can explore any of the options.
What advice do you have for the general public?
My advice to Nigerians at this critical time in our National calendar is that we should indeed help ourselves to help our Nation. Since the onset of the Corona Virus Pandemic, I have been a very ardent advocate of the “Stay at Home” campaign. How that is hard to do still baffles me particularly to the fact that those that are still roaming about wandering like a lost spirit are not doing so in pursuance of survival but for unnecessary “Meet and Greet”. An action that is potent enough to cause more doom to our Nation and the World. Corona Virus is outside on its own, it does not come to meet one but some people will still go out to meet and then start sharing it ignorantly. We can only help ourselves to help ourselves. Let everyone stay indoors at this time. The government should also employ much more stringent measures to ensure compliance. If we will not comply by the directives, let them use FORCE!! My sincerest prayer at this time is that God indeed Heal our Land and save the world.
Who does the constitution say should pay tax? How is the tax meant to be calculated?
The development of any nation depends on the amount of revenue generated by the government for the provision of infrastructural facilities. Taxation is the key to unlocking the resources required for public investment and infrastructure growth.
Companies in Nigeria are required by law under the Companies Income Tax Act to pay Tax. Similarly, Petroleum Product Taxes are to be paid by any person or company producing Petroleum or exploring the same in Nigeria. There’s Value Added Tax which is payable by any person or organization that consumes taxable products or services.
Capital Gains Tax is paid by companies registered in Nigeria which earns any capital gain. There are also the Educational Tax and Withholding Tax.
How can people get across to you?
I am directly reachable on 08108019481, Email @email@example.com, Daniel ADEDIGBA on LinkedIn, daniel_adedigba on Twitter and daniel_adedigba on Instagram.
It was nice interviewing you Daniel
My pleasure. Thank you for reaching out. It is my pleasure, once again.