Stella Dimoko Doctor Freaks Journal - Travails Of A 'Baby Lawyer'


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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Doctor Freaks Journal - Travails Of A 'Baby Lawyer'

"When you’re young everything feels like the end of the world, but its not; its just the beginning.”- Zac Efron

 Fela sang: "...nothing good for me to sing (write) about, everything wey e dey e no dey good." (The lines have been slightly tweaked by writer to suit his purpose).

Olakunle had just been called to the Nigerian Bar at the time but was keeping his eye on the goal.

I was in paid employment but I wasn't too proud to have a "side hustle" since my take-home pay could barely take me home. I reconnected with an old friend who had a great interest in real estate and was willing to "show me the way". Good memories from my second home- Benin-City flooding back now, "...follow who know road no be curse!"

Our first project had to do with a notable family in some parts of Nigeria. The family's right of occupancy in respect of a large expanse of land had been revoked by the Governor for overriding public interest as far back as 1970s and as a result of privatisation processes same had been transferred to private investors who had converted the land to private estates, so the family was contemplating a legal action on the ground that the interest of the beneficiary (the Governor's) had come to an end and that their reversionary interest had arisen. Dont mind the legal jargon, just follow the story, "e go soon make sense hun?"

I agreed to accept the brief because Land Law was one of my favourite courses way back and I was willing to explore. Thanks to my lecturer, Prof EC. We finally decided to have our maiden meeting at the family house and we had over 15 attendees in attendance. The venue appeared relaxed until a very young but mighty family member appeared. The older ones looked pleasant but there was something unusual about this youngest dude and he didn't disappoint me. 

The meeting was declared open by my friend in his capacity as the go-between, by inviting members to introduce themselves. Omo! The introduction was interesting, see as parties were dropping their titles and names, some were pastors, some were heads of OPC, one was a BaalΔ™ and so on. By the time it got to my turn I didn't know what came over me, I elected to mention only my surname and I noticed that some of them gave me a kind of familiar look.

 Unknown to them, that name was merely inherited, and not earned. "Wetin me I sabi?" It was a potpourri of sort as all the dominant religions were fully represented and I did(do) not have any issues with that.

Boom! Few minutes into the meeting, my young friend but mighty friend dipped his two hands inside his bogus "şokoto" (trousers) and brought out two items, namely a local short gun and another, a bottle containing a liquid substance. I still did not have issues with that until he mandated all of us to drink the substance and take some form of oaths before the commencement of the meeting. At this point, I had to make some quick decisions and ask myself some pertinent questions, such as are you a member of this family? No. What is your interest in this whole thing, money right? Yes.

 Do you even know the composition of that substance this weird looking dude is holding in his hands? No. Are you ready to even go this far in your quest for money and career? No.

 At that point, I tapped my friend on the shoulder and told him I would love to take my leave. I think they quickly made some consultations and agreed to exempt me but I pleaded with them to excuse me and thank God no disclosure had been made thus far. I exchanged a handshake with them and took my leave honourably. 

No disclosure made, no oath taken. In the local parlance, we say "nothing loss".

Years down the line, I came to appreciate the essence of the whole drama from a legal perspective. In our basic Law of Contract, we are familiar with the concept of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) which parties prepare and wherein they make undertakings not to disclose the contents of the contract to third parties right? What those clients-I-never-had attempted to drag me into was actually an African NDA, just that the consequences are more dire and in no way "carnal" unlike the English NDAs. Everything about Africa is not bad after all, but some are not for the lily-livered.

"Wetin Baby Lawyer eye no go see for practice?"

To God ALONE be all the glory and adoration. By power shall no man prevail. It's not might, but by the grace of God.

stay safe...

Its Kunle!


  1. An interesting read.Thanks for this Kunle

  2. Sooooo I guess the reason behind the oath taking was for non disclosure to anyone outside of the group? Sis you get a share of the land sale at the end of it all?

  3. It is the Baby lawyer for me

  4. Interesting reading this.

  5. Nice write up πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  6. Abi na stylish initiation? No be only no disclosure. All these small small fraternities springing up here and there think they can lure people to join. NDA ni, army barracks ko.

    My brother, thank God for you.

  7. Interesting read as always. I've come to the conclusion that many Nigerian lawyers are excellent writers and story tellers. Why more of them don't write novels is beyond me. Maybe they just don't have the time.


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