The indefinite strike action declared by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria- herein after referred to as JUSUN- has lasted for over eight weeks and it is still counting! The JUSUN had embarked on the strike action to compel financial autonomy of the judiciary on the Governors of States that have not complied with the said autonomy. JUSUN has just few days ago, resolved to call off the strike action by 14th day of June, 2021 (which is also a public holiday on the commemoration of the June 12, Democracy Day by the Federal Government of Nigeria, which in my humble view, means that until then, the strike action is still on and not yet called off!).There are therefore those persons who have supported the strike action and to them, the strike action is impeccable as it is the right action regardless of the consequences (as to them it is a ‘fight to finish’ once and for all battle) while there are others who criticize the strike action for its negative consequences and or impacts on the administration of justice, litigants and lawyers and to these persons, the strike action constitutes impediments to justice and progress of the nation. This paper is of the firm view that the strike action constitutes impediments to the progress of the nation and administration of justice and greatly affects the litigants and litigation lawyers. Nevertheless the impacts especially on litigation lawyers, this paper is of the encouragement and belief that the resumption should be seen and or utilized by litigation lawyers as a time to be better off than the time and or periods before the strike action, hence, this topic.
First and foremost, I must state that the strike action has afforded litigation lawyers (including my humble self as a litigation lawyer) the opportunity to rest and relax for a better professional performance though under duress. Therefore, they can now have a healthy professional performance away from all the acquired stress in the various engagements prior to the strike action.
Also, litigation lawyers can now value their roles and status in litigation for many litigants have suffered because litigation lawyers were not allowed to work by the JUSUN and its declared strike action.
Also, litigation lawyers can now see the importance of courts of law as a tool in their hands as litigation lawyers and activists as without the court of law, litigation lawyers could hardly survive or do anything or business, hence, we (as litigation lawyers) must see the court of law as our office and us as stakeholders in the court system, hence, court of law must not be allowed to be destroyed.
Furthermore, our moneys standing still and or kept on hold by the strike action can now be recovered upon resumption from the strike action. This means that we can now be financially buoyant once again.
Other career opportunities in the legal profession can now be uncovered and utilized along with litigation to aid us to survive in time of famine or time like: the JUSUN’s strike; the Covid-19 pandemic and the #endsars or any other period that we do not ever pray for to occur in future- God forbid bad omen! Investments in real property or other businesses are alternatives to litigation practices and insurance opportunities (such as health insurance, etc.) might also serve in cushioning the financial difficulty likely associated with the litigation practices but quitting litigation for an ambitious litigation lawyer is never an option or an alternative, regardless of the difficulty or challenges! Our prayers to God Almighty are a great tool in defeating all challenges as we work hard to achieve success!
Among litigation lawyers are vicegerent of God Almighty on earth for (especially as sincere and honest activists) because they ensure and promote the rule of law and ensure that justice prevails for mankind and God is always proud of them for their sacrifices! These set of lawyers can be assured of entering the Paradise of God Almighty!
Development of the nation- Nigeria lies on the litigation lawyers as no nation would be able to survive anarchy while litigation lawyers are not allowed to work by shutting courts. This kind of ugly situation where courts are shut completely and indefinitely must definitely not repeat itself in future!
Litigation lawyers can now see that they have the force that if propelled, could input hardship and suffering on the masses and the entire nation. Also, it is true that the litigation lawyers possess some kind of powers that could be used to achieve many desired goals within the ambit of the law.Therefore litigation lawyers possess powers of societal reformation.
Furthermore, there are many career opportunities emanating from litigation practices. For instance, being a Magistrate or Area Court Judge or Customary Court Judge upon call to bar (some States for instance provides for at least 5 years post call as qualification to become a Magistrate, for instance in Lagos State. Also, from 10 years at the bar, appointment as either the attorney-general of the federation or of a State or as a Judge of High Court are possible or becoming a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Furthermore, there are many ways of making money in litigation practices apart from ‘appearance fee’ contrary to some wrong thoughts that litigation practitioners are always concerned about ‘appearance fee’ and as if they would not survive this JUSUN’s strike period without the appearance fee! Appearance fee is just one among other ways of making money in the litigation practices. Also, before 10 years at the bar, being in litigation is profitable if the patience and sacrifices could be maintained! Therefore, litigation lawyers should be enticed by these career opportunities awaiting them in the legal profession and while some of these opportunities could come to them even at the least expected time!
Also, litigation involves rule of law, rule of practice and some conventions of practice. A lawyer who is determined to go into a career in litigation must be determined and not allow anything to distract or deter him! He must be passionate, focused, determined and prayerful to God Almighty! My humble advice to private legal practitioners especially the young lawyers is for them to remain firm with their determination in litigation! Very soon, all shall be well!There are also many riches in the litigation practices just perseverance is required!
In conclusion, I must state that litigation remains my passion and my career in the legal profession through litigation remains a great determination for me! These are my kind advice for young lawyers and private lawyers generally in litigation practices! Therefore, litigation should be seen as a ‘cause’ rather than a ‘curse’ and as we all prepare for the resumption from the JUSUN’s strike action, the resumption from strike action should be seen and used as a time (for us litigation lawyers) to be better off as litigation lawyers (though by all legal means of survival)!