Why I went back to school to study law – Amaechi

Former Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi has explained why he went back to school to study law at Baze University in Abuja.

Amaechi said he went back to school to study law just to fulfill his father’s wish to be a lawyer as he had no intention of practicing the profession.

He revealed he will be going to law school to be admitted to the bar and has started a masters in corporate and corporate law at Kings College London.

Speaking with Vanguard, Amaechi said it was normal for him to go back to law school at the age of 57, saying he had simply achieved what he had wanted for a long time.

The former Rivers State governor said he actually worked hard to get the law degree certificate contrary to some claims he bought it.

He said: “Going back to get a law degree at 57 is normal. I should have graduated a long time ago. When I hear people say I bought a degree, I laugh. I laugh because until I started campaigning for the presidency, I never missed a class. So for three years and six months, I never missed a class. And I came before all the teachers and I came before all the students.

“The school gave me an award for my attendance and punctuality. I never failed any class. But that’s not important, what’s important is that I wrote all my coursework in person so they can’t say the professors passed me by.

“And at the University of Baze, we don’t write down our registration numbers or our names, they give you a barcode that you put on the answer sheet. So when the teachers mark, they write down what it’s called blind marking and they can’t take it home. They mark it there at school, if they can’t finish they leave it there and come back the next day. When they come the next day they keep going and while they’re marking they’re marking with a barcode so they don’t know the person’s name or the registration number and I don’t think they’re experts in writing.

“Let me give you an example. I got 69% in Jurisprudence which was a B grade. The person who taught me Jurisprudence was my supervisor in my long essay, I’m sure if he had known it was me he would m would have added a percent to make it 70. The whole faculty was like “oh, no, he should have added you a percent to make it 70.”

Asked about his inspiration to continue the course, Chef Rotimi Amaechi explained, “First and foremost, it was to fulfill my father’s wish that I read Law. At least I granted his wish and he would have been happy if he was alive.

“He was in love with the work of Chief Rotimi Williams, who was then one of the best lawyers and thought I should be like him.

“When I was admitted, I started to wonder how I was going to manage my work. I went to school as early as 8 a.m. and reported to work at 6 p.m. I worked from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and sometimes 11:30 p.m. and then I would go home. I did it on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wednesdays were cabinet meetings. I worked Wednesdays and Fridays.”

When asked if he would go to law school, he replied, “Yeah, I think so. I can go to law school. I am already doing a Masters in Corporate and Company Law at Kings College London. I hope to combine it with law school.

“I don’t intend to practice but to have the knowledge of law and the certificate.

“It’s to help me not make mistakes. There’s no excuse in law. So those are things you can’t know unless you read Law.
Amaechi, while admitting that he refused to fund the establishment of a law school in the state when he wielded influence as governor, blamed his successor for committing the money from the state in the project which he described as the responsibility of the federal government.

“Yeah that’s right. I asked them when they came up with the proposal, I asked them if the feds would fund it and they said no. I’m not a Santa Claus. I said elementary schools of Rivers State don’t work and the high schools don’t work and I would go and build a law school for a government as big as the federal government I told them I had land and here is the field and they said no. So I don’t know why that’s a feat for a man whose primary and secondary schools aren’t functioning and whose teachers aren’t being paid.

“At the time I did an education audit in Rivers State, we had trained 90,000 teachers and I was employing 13,200. So that money he used to build a law school would have been used to employ more teachers.

“It is a responsibility of the federal government. I told them that I was not interested but that I would give them the land. So the money spent there could have been used to build more schools, employ more teachers and train them. As out of the 13,200 teachers we employed, only 3,000 were teachers, the other 10,000 were people who were just looking for a job and we employed them and took them to Rivers State University of Education to train them for six months.

“So this money that you put into a big federal government project, you should have used it to employ more teachers, build more schools, and create more jobs for our people. Rivers State has the highest number of unemployed,” he added.

Denise W. Whigham