Members of the high table, members of the Law Society, guests and students distinguished ladies and gentlemen. It is an honour to be here today to give this short talk. I will start by stating a quote from Marcus Garvey as follows-
“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and eternity our measurement.” MARCUS GARVEY
I pondered for hours about what should be the topic for tonight. I wanted a topic different and relevant to our discipline and our beloved Sierra Leone. I have thus decided on talking about the role of members of the law society in promoting progress peace and security in Sierra Leone.
The first issue I have must deal with is your role as students to work hard and ensure that you make the required grades. In this regard, honesty, hard work and perseverance should be your watch words. The performance of all students cannot be the same as your brains are all different; however, if you persevere and be fair to all, you will surely survive in your academic pursuits. The work of a lawyer is built on confidentiality and trust. Therefore, it is at this stage that you must nurture the right attitude to handle and advise clients. Whatever attitude you nurture in university you will take down to the professional world.
I was a member of the investigative committee set up by the University last year to look into the increase in the spate of violence in our Universities. I make bold to say the Committee was shocked to realise the depth that the so called black and white clan movement has imbedded itself in our universities in particular Fourah Bay College. I make bold to say it is a shame that university students should allow themselves to be labelled black and white in a world where such words used together particularly in the context of division brings to mind bad memories of slavery segregation etc. The said investigative committee found that segregation and violence in particular Fourah Bah College is fuelled by the black and white clan. In this regard, I appeal to all not to get carried away so that you do not stray from the fact that as students your primary objective is to study and pass your exams. It is good to mix with other students because you cannot determine who you will end up working with when you finish University. What will you do when you find yourself in chambers with someone from another camp whom you had segregated in college?
Voltaire has this to say on tolerance-
“What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly-That is the 1st law of nature”.
Bear in mind that everyone here can contribute negatively or positively to our country. Therefore as budding lawyers you must strive to do your best and excel.
Our 1991 Constitution though it will soon undergo a review is clear in section 13 that as citizens we must do the best to promote and protect our country. In particular, section 13 (g) states that;
“Every citizen shall work conscientiously in a lawful and chosen occupation and abstain from any activity detrimental to the general welfare of others”
I am sure members of this noble law society aspire to take their rightful place in the legal arena and as quoted above you must strive to do your work in a lawful manner so that others are not affected negatively by your action.
Speaking of the Constitution brings to mind the current issue of constitutional review. What is the law Society doing to ensure that it contribute to the constitutional review process? Needless to say, as students you are deemed to be excellent researchers who can guide society through the process whilst at the same time learning your given career.
This is why the committee that I referred to earlier which was set up to investigate the increase in violence in our universities has as one of its recommendation that the student body be set up as a charitable company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. Students can start practising to be responsible citizens in college if their energy is channelled towards constructive programs that can go hand in hand with study.
Sometimes being a law student gets boring and tedious. There are times you want to give up, feel defeated. There are days after lecture that you feel down because you did not grasp the essence of the lecture.
I say to you always remember do not give up. Continue relentlessly and maintain proper planning and preparation in your course work.
I will leave you tonight with the words of John W Davies a US Solicitor who said
“It is a noble profession that you have chosen. True we build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see, but we smooth out difficulties, we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; We take up other man’s burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.” .
I therefore say tonight do not give up work hard be honest and success will surely knock at your door and stay forever.
Thursday June 12, 2014