Peter Michael Davis is a student of Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He is the President of Legal Bridge Initiative, an organization behind the ongoing Mock and Moot Competition tagged Kunle Rasheed Adegoke (K-RAD) Court Room Gladiators for Nigerian Law students. He spoke with Abito Citta on the competition which has drawn participants from the 6 geo-political zones of the country. Here are the excerpts….
AC: Could you tell us about yourself and the LBI competition?
PMD: Okay, I am Peter Michael Davis, the President of Legal Bridge Initiative. I’m a Law Student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. K-RAD Court Room Gladiators is a Mock and Moot competition aimed at bringing in live courtroom experience to law students in Nigeria. It is also geared towards bridging the gap between law students and legal practitioners by creating a platform where the talents and advocacy skills of law students could be well nurtured and nourished.
AC: Please, tell us more about the competition. How does the competition run?
PMD: This competition is in three (3) levels -High Court level; Court of Appeal Level and the Supreme Court Level. The High Court level would be presided over by Student Justices and participants would appear before the Students’ High Courts at different universities (that are participating in the competition) except for those with special challenges which we have made provision for virtual court sittings for such teams. Each team is made up of at least 4 members made up of students from either 100, 200, 300 or 400 level excluding 500 level. At the Court Of Appeal level, only twelve teams who win overall at the High Court level would compete at the Court Of Appeal Level which is the second stage of the competition. This level would hold at a central location within each of the 2 regions (North and South) in Nigeria which will enable participants to have an opportunity for physical interaction and network building. Also, Magistrates would be the presiding Justices at this level. At the Supreme Court stage, only six (6) teams would participate. A quota system will be adopted to select the best teams that will be qualified for the Supreme Court level based on the number of teams we have in each region. The location for this final stage would be at Abuja somewhere central enough. There shall be five High Court Judges as the presiding Justices in this final stage. As at now, we have released the fact for the first phase of the competition to the gladiators and we will be starting the High Court competition soon.
AC: So, what is the spread of the participants and which stage of the competition are we now?
PMD: Okay, we have participants across the 6 geopolitical zones in Nigeria. We have 13 Universities participating in the competition. 15 teams from the Southern region and 9 teams from the Northern region making 24 teams altogether.
AC: What made you tag the competition KRAD Court Room Gladiators?
K-RAD is the name we call our Honouree. It is translated to Kunle Rasheed Adegoke, SAN in whose name the competition is tagged. He is our sponsor, mentor and role model. In our understanding, the business of court is not a child’s play. It’s for serious minded people with dedication, passion, purpose, commitment, vigour, rigour, intellectualism, great advocacy and research skills. The fight for justice is like a gladiator who fights to survive. I have been opportune to witness lawyers cross words in Court to defend the interest of their clients and it’s kind of similar to gladiators fighting at the arena. A gladiator fights to stand out among others that is why we are creating a platform for law students to cross words in court and stand out among others too. It is in a metaphoric sense that we are creating it to picture that instead of using knives, swords, shields, and helmets to fight a war of bloodshed like the gladiators, we can train ourselves and improve on our advocacy and research skills as well as logic to fight for justice.
AC: Can you tell us more about the Legal Bridge Initiative?
PMD: Legal Bridge Initiative (LBI) is a budding non-profit legal initiative that is focused on improving students’ legal knowledge and enabling better understanding of the legal profession by creating a strong synergy between Law students, legal practitioners and society. We have clear cut roles. They are four which was tailored with the sole aim of strengthening the socio-legal bond. There are to wit: We reach out to law students in areas affecting them and handling socio-legal issues, through the provision of opportunities for self-improvement of law students in Nigeria and beyond. We host career counselling, mentorship series, webinars and many more. LBI celebrates and promotes intellectualism and creativity through competition, awards and recognition. We foster radio programs in English and in different indigenous languages that will enlighten the public on legal related issues. Our vision is to become a centre of opportunity creation and connection for both stakeholders in the legal profession and the society. Our mission is to serve as a link between the legal body and the society at large by reaching out to law students in the areas affecting them and handling socio-legal issues. Our purpose as a budding legal initiative, headquartered at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with branches across over twenty universities in Nigeria, is to improve the academic lives of over two thousand students per year through meaningful deliberations. As a non-monetary initiative, we hope to be the best organization to work for people who share our passion; promoting personal development and diversity. Together, we shall deliver phenomenal legal knowledge to students with the hope of becoming a centre of opportunity creation and connection for both stakeholders in the legal profession and the society at large.