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A culture of excellence is no longer a choice, it is a necessity — Adeoti, Uniben Law best graduating student

With a CGPA of 4.70 out of a possible 5.00, Emmanuella Adeoti recently graduated as the best student of the faculty of law, University of Benin.
Emmanuella Adeoti
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Emmanuella Adeoti is the best graduating student of the faculty of law, University of Benin (Uniben) with a cumulative grade point average of 4.70/5.00. She speaks with Edugist on her future plans and challenges facing the legal profession today. Excerpts: 

Share with Edugist, a little about yourself and your background.

My name is Emmanuella Adeoti. I live in Lagos with my family, and I recently graduated from the University of Benin, Faculty of Law as the Best Graduating Student with a CGPA of 4.70/5.00. I’m from a family of seven children.  

Congratulations on your achievement! How did you feel when you found out you’d be graduating with a first class degree?

In a word, ecstatic. I think I realised that when I saw my 400 level results, but that never made me rest on my laurels, rather I became determined to not just see it through but to get above a 4.50. Still I was never sure of anything, hence when I saw my finals results, I was very happy. Every sacrifice, every action led to it, and I was so glad it worked out. I felt proud of my accomplishment. I still do.

What do you enjoy most about your education? What aspects of law intrigued you the most and why?

Well, what I loved about it was how it disciplined me and challenged me. I constantly had to evaluate what I thought I knew. I always had to do more. Then I felt fulfilled afterwards.

What were your biggest challenges on campus? 

They were mostly financial. Also, choosing the right friends, because I knew that they would definitely affect me.  

Emmanuella Adeoti      

Have you had any challenges with a lecturer in the past? How did you deal with it?

I’ve honestly never had any challenge with any lecturer. I tend to take and appreciate lecturers as they come, so I’ve never had issues relating with any. 

Do you have any role models you look up to in the legal profession?

Well, that is definitely Destiny Ogedegbe, because of his consistent investment into developing himself and building his brand, as well as his intellectual prowess which goes without saying.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the legal profession today, and how do you think it can be addressed?

Delay in the courts: this is due to the fact that most courts have not adopted technology. This makes filing processes and hearing and deciding cases time consuming. 

I think it is important to adopt technology in the court processes to accelerate the hearing of cases and filing of important processes. I also encourage more virtual trials.

How do you stay up to date on changes and developments in the legal field?

I do personal research. I read articles on LinkedIn and follow pages that give updates on topics that are important to me. My friends and I have a group chat where we discuss recent topics in the profession, and share ideas on diverse areas of law. 

What areas of law are you most interested in practising?

One area I love is technology law because it is constantly evolving and how I learn something new almost everyday. It also allows me to do a lot of research, which is something I love. I also love Corporate and Commercial practice.

In the course of my internship with Banwo and Ighodalo, I am currently learning more about private equity, which basically has to do with institutional investments and acquisition of interests in private entities in order to enhance the target company’s growth potential and to gain profit. 

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Emmanuella Adeoti

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their legal education and hoping to achieve academic success like you did?

Start early, start right, start with the right frame of mind. From my second university year, I prepared for tests and assignments as though they were exams. I never took tests less seriously, because I realised that a little drop makes an ocean. You must know what you want early on and work for it. If you wait till exams are around the corner or till your third year, it just may be too late and it becomes so difficult. Build your grades early on. Have a very good strategy for reading, for understanding and for passing exams and tests. With no foundation, or with a shaky foundation, it will be difficult to achieve your goals.

Also, know yourself. Honestly evaluate your strengths and your weaknesses. Everyone’s approach differs, do not copy your friends. And most importantly, God is the most important  being with whom you want to embark on this journey. 

Share your thoughts about the culture of excellence, or the lack thereof, among Nigerian graduates.

I feel that our society is steeped in mediocrity, partly because the government has shown that it is possible to get ahead without excellence, and young people appear to have bought this idea. The society is teeming with thousands of university graduates who cannot function effectively in today’s competitive global space because they found a way to beat the university system. I believe this unfortunate situation can be rectified in different ways, including, being determined to excel, raising your standards higher, taking advantage of the benefits of mentorship and constantly evaluating yourself. 

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Emmanuella Adeoti

Imbibing a culture of excellence during your undergraduate years and beyond, is important as this will make you more competitive in the global space. We need to realise that there are people willing to put in the work to achieve their goals, and those are the people you will compete with on the global stage. A culture of excellence is no longer a choice, it is a necessity. 

This is not to say that there are no undergraduates who go the extra mile, like some of my junior colleagues who are at the Philip Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition representing Nigeria at the moment. That took a lot of dedication and the desire to be excellent, and it truly warms my heart.

Have you been a recipient of any scholarship? Kindly run through the application process?

Yes, I was a recipient of the Chevron Scholarship. The application process includes visiting the NNPC/Chevron Scholarship official application portal, creating an account and proceeding to your email box to activate your account, then log in. Enter your personal, additional educational, and other information, then upload the required scanned documents and submit your application after checking for errors. You will receive an email that confirms your application was successful and be required to write a CBT at a set date, time and location.

After your bachelor’s degree, what next?

Well, Law school. I plan to work for a couple of years to determine what area of law truly interests me before getting a master’s degree in that area.

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