On this edition of Law Student of the Week, Legal Pages feature a leader and politically active student in one of Nigeria’s foremost Law faculties. He speaks to Legal Pages about his experiences as a student leader and his hopes for leadership on a larger scale in the future.
Hello, can we meet you?
I’m Victor Ezesinachi Okoli, a 500 level law student of the University Of Nigeria, Nsukka.
You’ve held a number of leadership roles so far as a law student. Briefly tell us more about this and how it has shaped your person.
Over the years, I have been privileged to serve in different Leadership positions and it has shaped me in no little way! For example, in my first year I was CLASFON First Year Coordinator and organized the CLASFON First Year night; that was the beginning of my Leadership journey in UNN. In my second year, I was the Clerk of the SUG High Court of UNN and that administration produced the first ever Cicero Brief which was a Judicial magazine. In my 3rd year, I became a Senator representing the Faculty of Law at the SUG Senate and I can vividly recall that during the campaign I promised Lawsites that if elected I will add Beauty to the Faculty and I fulfilled that promise. As a Senator, I constructed a Quadrangle and made it a beautiful sit-out in my Faculty and also donated 8 fans to the first year class who hitherto had no fans in their class amongst other things I did.
I also served as the General Secretary of CLASFON in my 4th year and currently I serve as the South-East Zonal Director of Policies, Programs and Projects, Law Student’s Association Of Nigeria.
However my most defining moment in Leadership came when I founded MOGA which was on the 8th of December 2018. MOGA is a community-based Foundation and 7 weeks after it was established we hosted a Reading Competition for indigenes of Orumba in Anambra State and gave out ₦200,000 as cash prizes alongside a career summit with over 1200 youths in attendance; the impact was so remarkable that we made it to over 5 national dailies and mind you,) the Foundation was just 7 weeks old when this great feat was attained!
That experience made me understand that if you set out your heart to genuinely add VALUE and colour lives, there will be nothing that will be impossible for you to create and make happen!
Today, I’m a very optimistic and enthusiastic Leader because I have come to know that everything is possible!
How well are you able to meet the time demands of student politics without neglecting your primary commitments as a student of Law?
Truth be told, it’s been tasking. Joggling Leadership and my Academics hasn’t been easy but I have been faring well. None of them is suffering, I guess what’s suffering is my “Social life” because I have no time for Parties, Hangouts, Tennis (I’m a huge fan of Tennis) and frivolities.
Most times, I read on the road because I’m always traveling. I miss lectures when necessary but I don’t fail to take note of what was taught in class and I have a formidable reading group!
For example, this year when LAWSAN was invited to the State House in Abia, I had a quiz that day and I missed my quiz because we needed to see the Governor and other top Government functionaries that day and see how we could strike strategic partnerships for the good of Lawsanites.
This has happened a good number of times and I’m glad that I have over the years built the stamina and requisite discipline to read anywhere, anytime and anyday!
If not Law, what else?
For me, it’s either Law or Law. I couldn’t have studied anything else because Law is the door to where I’m going.
Recently, law students seem to have their area of interest mapped out early. Do you hold the same notion? What area of law interests you the most?
That’s actually beautiful. There is a popular saying, “if you don’t know where you are going, everywhere will look like it.” Some persons are of the opinion that from first year you should start mapping out your area of interest, although it’s not bad but I didn’t do that. I feel during your undergraduate days you should test the waters well before choosing an area of interest. Rushing to choose one may deny you of the blessings or knowledge of other areas. Even when you choose one, ensure to have a thriving mentor in that field.
At present, I have interest in a couple of areas such as Tax, Oil and Gas, Maritime and FinTech amongst others but that doesn’t stop me from testing the waters in other areas! I see undergraduate days as experimental days!
Do you see yourself making an entry into Nigerian politics in the nearest future?
Hahahahahahaha. The future is pregnant and if Value-oriented leaders don’t go into politics then we are heading for catastrophe as a generation and a Nation. I always say that I have a political ambition with a Leadership intention. So let’s see how it goes.
Kindly run us through your experience as the South-East Zonal Director of Policies, Programs and Projects of the Law Students’ Association of Nigeria. Any major challenge or breakthrough so far?
First things first, I want to thank the National President of LAWSAN, Sen. Emmanuel Eze Nwobodo for his exemplary Leadership and My National Director, Umoh Edet for leading the Directorate in such a Terrific manner!
I had never envisaged serving under LAWSAN; it wasn’t in my agenda at all. So when was I called upon to serve, I made it my administrative resolve to encrust in Gold the societal image of our dear Association and become a leading voice for Transformation and Value addition!
It’s been a great experience for me, 22 days into office, we hosted the largest Student outreach by any student government in Nigeria’s history tagged “LAWSAN Goes To School”, a project that had over 500 volunteers and over 16,000 secondary students were reached in a day across the 5 South-Eastern states and the Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo lauded the project and at present, we are planning the maiden edition of the South-East Zonal Conference!
We have recorded incredible success so far because my team have been all-time supportive and I dedicate all we have done to them!
One of our challenges has been funding, this is a challenge faced by most student bodies but I’m not uncertain that we will yet again overcome it!
If there’s anything you’d like to do better as a person, what would that be?
Leveraging on every given opportunity to do more and be more! Mensa Otabil will always say, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity”.
Final words for law students reading this?
My fellow student lawyers, our society is crying and looking for a specie of Leaders!
These Leaders are who I call Value Captains/Value Lawyers!
A life of value is one which understands quality. This includes quality relationships, conversations, networking, ventures and the likes. It also extends to the ability to impart these values on others; the ability to make sacrifices for nation building, societal development, child welfare and other progressive and purposeful initiatives.
A Value Lawyer does not ask, what do I stand to gain? Rather, he asks, how can I be of gain to humanity? This is because he understands that in the long run, he would have his wholesome gain while impacting lives.
And the earlier you realize that anyone can be a lawyer but not everyone can be a Value lawyer, the better. Choose to add value today!
Thank you for your time, Mr. Okoli.