Law Student of the Month — Sina Akinmusire
Law students are the bedrock of future legal scholarship. So, it comes as no surprise that the top echelon of Nigerian lawyers has developed initiatives to instill excellent values in the brightest of law students in the country. Sina Akinmusire, our interviewee on January’s edition of the Law Student of the Month is a recent recipient of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) Scholarship Award. He walks us through his achievements and motivation as a law student. Follow through for an inspiring read and a personal expose into Sina’s experience as a law student.
Hello Sina. Can the Legal Pages audience meet you? When the name “Sina Akinmusire” goes out, what do you think you represent?
Hi. I am Sina Akinmusire, a final year student of law at Lagos State University (LASU). I double as the Head of Chamber of the Lord Denning Chamber, LASU, and the Director of Research of the Tax Club, LASU.
I like to think that I represent an ambitious, goal-driven young man whose efforts are being complemented by God’s grace. I represent a person whose constant and relentless passion for learning has numbed his fear of losing.
For a law student, you’ve been able to achieve a lot within a short period. What’s your greatest achievement to date and what has been your biggest motivation?
By the grace of God, I have had several wins as a budding lawyer. I would say my greatest achievement is being a Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) Scholar. Asides from the prestige of being recognized by a body of the highest-ranked lawyers in Nigeria, the fact that the scholarship process required me to compete with other first-class law students across the nation makes the win more thrilling.
What keeps me going is my desire to legitimately reach the top at the quickest pace possible. The legal profession is a knowledge market, you are expected to have harnessed some vital skills to be able to provide invaluable legal services. I believe my involvement in these co-curricular activities has helped me to harness these skills.
You are a Senior Advocate of your University’s Law Student’ Body. Many other Universities are in this practice. From your experience, what have been the benefits of creating a microcosm of the larger legal practice structure at the university level?
The most outstanding benefit of this practice is that it affords interested students the platform to handle real-life disputes. By this, students can have a practical understanding of the theories and principles of law they have learnt within the four walls of the classroom.
It’s almost impossible to not notice how much of a balance you seem to have as a student. What’s your approach to combining multiple activities and excelling at all?
Participating in multiple activities is one thing and excelling in them is another. For the former, I have been able to understand my capacity and it has helped me to know how many activities I can take on at a time. On the other hand, I do not have any approach to excelling in multiple activities, it has been God.
Putting yourself in the shoes of a policymaker, what major changes would you make, if given the chance to legal education at the undergraduate level?
I would like to introduce practical phases to some of our compulsory courses. For instance, contract drafting and review could be entrenched into the curriculum for the Law of Contract and Commercial law. Also, I will like to introduce the teaching of courses on emerging areas of law. It’s sad that as invaluable as Intellectual Property is in this age, some faculties of law still do not offer it as a course. This has to change as soon as possible.
What are your practice interests and why are you gravitating towards those areas of law? Also, any role models?
I’m keenly interested in Intellectual Property and Dispute Resolution. My interest in Intellectual Property is rooted in one of its core objectives which is to ensure that creative works accrue the economic benefits to their owners. Also, being an active member of a students’ chambers has exposed me to the workings of Court proceedings and I will like to practice that beyond the four walls of the University. Most importantly, my options are very much open, my answer to this question might change tomorrow if I find another practice area more fascinating.
Sometime in December 2021, the President withheld assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. What do you make of the president’s actions from legal and political perspectives?
Practically every election in Nigeria is deemed to be “free and fair” because there is no evidence powerful enough to debunk that claim, the electoral bill looks to amend this issue, and refusing to sign it into law is a very suspect move. The president has however made it abundantly clear that he will assent to the bill if it is amended, and Mr Speaker’s most recent statement seems to purport that the legislature is considering the president’s stance.
Legally speaking, all parties are in order, and the house of assembly has mentioned going over the bill again and possibly vetoing it after their recess.
From a political angle though, it seems to me that all parties involved are protecting their interest. Disapproving governors are skeptical about their reelection chances, if the primaries become direct, as direct primaries mean the voting population no longer have to make do with what they are given or support an incompetent candidate based on their party’s grace.
But then again, direct primaries would mean greater expenses and logistical difficulties, and I’m not very sure Nigeria in her current state can handle it.
If the president once again withholds his assent, then I believe that the best move the legislature can make is to initiate the constitutional process of overriding the president’s assent or lack thereof.
Any final words for Law students across Nigeria?
Have an idea of what you want, put in the work, and trust the process. It’s perfect if you are not certain about what you want yet. You can get clarity by speaking to senior colleagues and interning at law firms or companies.