Law Is A Learned Profession: A Snap Rejoinder To Professor Farooq Kperogi

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By Musbahu Yahaya Rabiu

My attention has been drawn to what you confidently wrote and entitled Law Is Not The Only Learned Profession, from Madrid city by two paragraphs written by one of my friends, Rabiu Inuwa Gama, a teeming follower of your columns, summing up the story of the column. That friend of mine has been following you for a very long time not because of anything but your bombastic style of writing. So I rushed to read the complete column on your page.


Until when I reached a paragraph, in which you talked about undergraduate law students, as if there is any undergraduate who is not a student, studying law in Nigerian universities in relation to all the points you have gone around the bush, I didn’t find a scintilla of reason to react on your column. And I believe no learned silk can waste his/her precious time to respond to your unattractive column which is full of envy and loathing. However, they may read it when it reaches their holy table as reading is one of the constituents that make them learned persons.

To begin with, Dr. Raji Bello’s perception of mistake, upon which the entire column has been built, is narrow and shortsighted. Mistake, not only procedural or elementary type as he put it, is inevitable in every aspect of human life. That’s why it has no sanction whatsoever legally and to some extent socially. But, negligence has. You may know about the doctors who left scalpel in their patients’ wombs after operation!

Dr. Raji Bello has been carried away by the few cases struck out by courts for irregularities and, therefore, he didn’t see millions of cases passed and won on merit. Asking whether or not lawyers have eyes to see when not to litigate, as good surgeons know when not to operate, is ridiculous. How many people died after calculated operations have been executed? Knowing when to litigate is quite different from knowing the outcome of the litigation. I know a lot of people who died after being operated by good surgeons within and outside Nigeria. To add to Dr. Raji Bello’s knowledge, lawyers have ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) mechanism as an option not to go for litigation. And I want you to ask Dr. Raji Bello, where did he find it that what is in one profession has to be found in another for that profession to stand?

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If not for the sake of argument and the possibility of bribe and corruption, if your remaining hours will be spent on finding out a single lawyer who claims that legal profession is the “only learned profession” you’ll die getting none. There is a world of difference between “learned profession” and the “only learned profession”. Find out, please! In the four learned professions you’ve mentioned in the column, law forms part of them, then what is wrong if lawyers claim what they are entitled to? Does their claim to be learned persons exclude others from being professionals? Your logical spirit answers with capital No! Then what exactly do you want pointed out apart from covetousness here?

In the four historic professions you’ve mentioned, which legal profession is a pillar, and the modern English usage that makes almost everyone who has undergone an extensive training to be addressed as professional or learned professional such as an auditor or an accountant, where, for goodness sake, a lawyer can’t stand tall? And the fact that others, doctors inclusive, are fearful to call themselves learned professional doesn’t necessarily mean lawyers must stop addressing themselves as learned persons.

I could remember reading your book entitled Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World, where you discussed why lawyers and judges retained some English terms and expressions that are not obtainable, in modern English anywhere, except legal profession. So it can obviously be deduced from your very conclusion in that book that old things are always new in legal profession. That’s why, as you acknowledged it, not only lawyers claim their entitlement when it comes to professionalism but also law undergraduates who are potentially becoming lawyers.

Lastly, with regard to the points of modern and old English expressions “learned friend” and “distinguished”, as in addressing a senator, that you’ve touched and torched in the column, we’re not in conflict with all that you said because you have just said what and how the things are. Nothing more. In fact it’s you that believed that we don’t know them as you portrayed them, as if you knew all that is in our brain. So be it!



Musbahu Yahaya Rabiu

A level VI law student

Bayero University Kano


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