By: Onifade Bello
Many are cut out for success while others pursue it with fervour. Despite their upbringing, which may not at all be rosy, the latter remain resilient and resolute on their path to greatness, perhaps finding succour in the saying of the American President, Abraham Lincoln, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
In this interview with The Transverse, Faith Oyetola Aboyeji, a Unilorin first class graduate of Law who went on to attain the same feat at the Nigerian Law School, shares her life experience with Onifade Bello. She emphasizes that her interest in Intellectual Property Rights cannot be disconnected from one fact:there is flagrant disregard for the rights of owners of intellectual property in Nigeria and there is no effective framework in place for the protection of these rights. Oyetola is an indigene of Pamo-Isin, Kwara State, and is the first of four children.
TT:How was it like growing up?
Faith: I grew up in Ilorin, Kwara State, with my three siblings and parents. It wasn’t all rosy growing up because my parents were and are still middle class citizens. However, I discovered early that my parents were ready to spend their time, energy and financial resources in helping my siblings and me achieve our life goals and this has made my journey in life easy.
TT:How does it feel graduating with a first class from the University of Ilorin and then attaining the same feat again at the Law School?
Faith: I really can’t describe the feeling but deep within me, it gives an assurance that I can achieve whatever goal I set.
TT:Aside strict academic works, what other activities did you engage in as a student in UNILORIN and even at the Law School?
Faith: As a student in UNILORIN, I engaged in moot court and mock trial activities/competitions. I was at some point involved in the Students’ Union Bar. I was also engaged in Chambers activities and was a member of the prestigious Equity Chambers of the Faculty of Law, UNILORIN. I was elected Registrar of Equity Chambers in 2013 and served in that capacity for a year. I was a full time member of the Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Ilorin where I served as Librarian and Director of Freedom of Information Unit. I was also a member of the Christian Law Students’ Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON), UNILORIN Chapter and was active in the Academic Unit of the fellowship where I was later made the Academic Secretary.
TT:You seem to have keen interest in ‘Intellectual Property Rights,’ why?
Faith: My interest in intellectual property rights is borne out of the need to balance the rights of the owners of intellectual property with the demands of users of intellectual property across the world especially in the light of recent digital realities.
TT: Has Nigeria fared well in terms of protecting the rights of owners of intellectual property?
Faith: No, there is flagrant disregard for the rights of owners of intellectual property in Nigeria and there is no effective framework in place for the protection of these rights.
TT: Beside intellectual property rights, what roles do you envisage for the legal profession in Nigeria?
Faith: I intend to be involved in commercial law practice and dispute resolution. I also envisage taking an active part in the legal education system.
TT: The Federal Government of Nigeria believes corruption is the bane to the nation’s progress, do you share same view?
Faith: We cannot overemphasize the role corruption has played and which it is still playing in the economic development of the nation. So, yes, corruption is a bane to the nation’s progress.
TT:Do you think the Judicial Arm of the nation has been doing well in the fight against corruption?
Faith: The Judiciary has been faring well in its adjudicatory role in the fight against corruption and there is also room for improvement.
TT:Back to personal life, an egghead like you would have been sought after by so many guys on campus, how were you able to manage emotional struggles with academic excellence?
Faith: My emotional struggles on campus were unrelated to being sought after by so many guys, but I was able to manage the sort of emotional struggles I had by constantly reminding myself of the bigger picture –making myself proud at the end of my academic sojourn on campus.
TT: Where do you see yourself five years to this time?
Faith: In five years, I see myself faring excellently well in the various niches I intend carving for myself in the legal profession.
TT: As a Nigerian, what advice have you for the government of the day?
Faith: My advice for the government of the day is to make the welfare of the people supreme.
TT: Many Nigerian youth are wowed with your academic feat, as evident in the encomiums poured on you by students of your alma mater as well as friends and family. What advice do you have for youth and students in higher institutions in Nigeria?
Faith: I will advise youth and students in higher institutions in Nigeria to think highly of themselves when setting any academic goal and stay focused and committed to set goals. Determination, consistency and hard work are also key in achieving such feat.
TT: Thank you for your time.