And their Price went all the way up! We are back with another interview (and bad puns). This time, the Public Relations Officers of the Mooting Society, Zulu Uwolloh and Titilope Adedokun conducted an interview with the six team members of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition 2018. They recently returned from the Africa Regional Rounds of the competition hosted by the University of Johannesburg, South Africa from February 8 – 10. There, they qualified for the international rounds at Oxford University, having competed with several schools across Africa and putting on and we quote, ‘a stunning performance’.
The PROs: Introduce yourselves, please.
Zainab: My name is Zainab Olamide Dunmoye. Year 2 and a member of the Mooting Society.
Semilore: Hi. Semilore Olowokure. Year 2. (Yeah)
Laughter ensues. The interview has just begun, yet one can see, they really are a delightful bunch!
Tobi: Ajayi Tobiloba Precious. Year 3, member of the Mooting Society and Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.
Obinna: Obinna Ike-Amadi. I’m in Year 3.
Timi: Hi, my name is Salu Oluwatimilehin. I am a member of the Mooting Society and I recently joined UNILAG Law Review and it has been a wonderful experience.
Chiamaka: Hi, my name is Chiamaka Okoli, a 500 level student of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.
The PROs: Why Price Media Law Moot?
Zainab: Well, I had not tried out for any moot competition previously and people like Semi here, Daniel Olika, Bolaji and Ilamosi really encouraged me to just try out. So, I said okay, there’s no harm in trying. So, I tried out.
Semilore: This is the second competition I tried out for. I tried out for African Moot, I didn’t get in. There’s no reason I chose Price, it’s not love for media law or anything like that but I just wanted to participate in something and I tried out and I got it.
Tobi: When I joined the Mooting Society, I told myself I was going to try out for everything until I got into a moot. So, I tried out for African Moot, Oxford IP Moot and Price Media. So, Price Media happened and then, I took it. Well, I have a passion for writing and all but that’s not the major thing, I just told myself I was going to try something.
Obinna: I’ve looked at all the competitions that we try out for here, in the Mooting Society and I’ve practically tried out for everything but something just comes in the way and I just don’t get to finish it up. I did Price Media last year, Nuremburg, Space Moot, Nelson Mandela, everything. But, I had a feel for Price ‘cause I got so close to participating last year and I’m very conversant with freedom of expression because I’ve done it before. So, I tried out for Price again this year and thank God it worked out.
Timi: Actually, I did not know about anything about trying out for Price. I didn’t even know what Price Media Law was. The reason I tried out for Price was because, the people that had done it before were seniors way past me; Year 4s and 5s and the fact that I wanted to start doing something. In my Year 2 days, I wanted to start building myself, self-development and that, people I looked up to; Ilamosi and Daniel Olika. The fact that Ilamosi went for a competition in Year 2 and she did something and I wanted to break that record and so, I think I did.
Chiamaka: I tried to get into the Mooting Society twice. And I remembered the first time I tried. My friend, Daniel Jaiyeoba told me to try out for any and every moot competition that came up but the only thing that really resonated with me was Price Media Law Moot so I tried out ‘cause I love media, and growing up, one of my dreams was to be a reporter but I got into law so it seemed like a great way to start bridging the gap of the career as a lawyer and my dreams of being in the media industry.
The PROs: Do you think there’s a future here for media law in Nigeria or generally, Africa?
Zainab: Yes, but then, it will take some time. We have to get our system right first. Like freedom of expression and things like that. Nigeria is not a place where your views are heard and in Nigeria, we joke a lot. You say something on social media and everybody laughs about it, nobody is offended basically. So, it will take sensitization. And we don’t believe in our court system, that’s another thing. It takes letting people know about their rights and getting our system right.
Semilore: I adopt everything she said. Media law is very complicated. We need a system that works, basically. It is not impossible but it is a work in progress.
Tobi: I adopt the comments of my learned colleagues. Then, adding to that, in relation to the case, it was a social media platform and somebody’s saying something that possibly incited violence. So, it would mean that your government is aware first. We have not gotten to that stage. It would mean that your government is keen on everything that is happening. Not like someone would just insult Buhari on Twitter and everyone is laughing about it. We don’t take anything seriously in this country. There should be checks and filters. If we can get to that stage, which I think is a long time to go. It will flourish but then, we are not quite there yet.
Obinna: There are many interpretations to freedom of expression, as a subject matter around the world. Different countries have different interpretations. We are at that point where we are still battling on ‘what you said is wrong or prosecutable in court’. We’ve not gotten to that stage of social media freedom of expression censor. That is a lapse between what we are doing in this moot court scenario and what is obtainable in Nigeria. In Nigeria, we heavily prosecute expression and if you contrast it with what is obtainable in real life, you will find out that you have more freedoms in developed countries than Nigeria. And in light of technological advancement, we still have a long way to go.
Timi: They’ve said it all, actually. But, I would just like to add to it. Getting materials and resources was not easy. We were short of resources. All we had were precedents; what other people have used. It’s not like we had something else that was distinct. No textbooks, our libraries were ill-equipped for this kind of competition. The other teams had resources, laws guiding media law in their country but we do not have that in Nigeria. I think we are still struggling in basic things. So, before we get to that part of media law in Nigeria; I think it is just a mirage.
Chiamaka: Yes, I think there is because we have a large number of Nigerians becoming more internet savvy. We have a lot of popular bloggers and vloggers and these are the sort of things media law covers. We also need more legislations, more decisions, more awareness on how exactly things are done and how to be in tandem with international standards. Also, just make sure that Africa is at par with the other continents. So, yeah, I think there is a future for media law in Nigeria.
The PROs: What was running through your mind the moment you landed in South Africa?
Zainab: There was pressure sort of, because we hadn’t printed our memorials. We were running out of time.
The printing ended up being about #54,000. Shout out to Obinna’s uncle! He paid for all of it.
Semilore: When we landed first, I wasn’t thinking so much about the competition. Surprisingly, I wasn’t tense. I was just like, Oh! South Africa, it looks pretty. I was enjoying myself, enjoying the feeling basically.
Tobi: I was like, Okay! This is finally happening. We are here. After all the visa and ticket issues. Trying to figure out how to leave the airport, print memorials etc. There was a lot of tension, at first.
Obinna: I thought that, as Nigerians, we had a lot to do. Because, the other teams were so confident, in the way they looked, dressed etc. They were giving us this initial vibe of ‘we are here to kill it’. But, I have this principle, that at the end of the day, it will pass. So whether we do good or not, we’ll be alright and we did well.
Timi: Yes, I wanted us to win, yes but that was not it. I wanted us to qualify. We had a lot to prove, being that we were in Year 2. A lot of people told me, Timi, you know you have a lot to prove. There’s like unnecessary pressure on you to perform. I just wanted us to qualify and come back and say we are going for the final rounds.
Shout out to Chiamaka’s dad that helped with the ‘first class’ treatment through the airport.
Also, shout out to Ogaku and the Consulate of Nigeria for the ‘first class’ treatment! To know that Nigeria can have your back was great.
Chiamaka: Am I really here? It was a really daunting journey getting to South Africa. At a point, I actually gave up. I mean, I gave up several times. I had parents who were loving and very worried about me in the process, it was really tiring. But then, I got there and I was like, am I really here? I don’t think it dawned on me, until I got to the University of Johannesburg.
The PROs: What is one thing about you that changed during the process of Price Media Law Moot?
Zainab: For me, I’m a very shy person. I rarely talk in the meetings and stuff. So, trying out was like I went out of my comfort zone. That is the point of the Mooting Society. My mind-set is changed now. Yes, I can be shy but I can still achieve what I want to achieve. I can do something I’m not so comfortable doing. Thanks to Semi, Timi, Daniel, Bolaji and Ilamosi. They kept telling me, you can do this. Another thing is accommodating individual personalities. We had our ups and downs. Everybody is not the same so when you are working in a team, you have to learn to accommodate every person’s individual personality.
Semilore: For me, I underrate myself. I believed that I wanted to face some bad-ass guys that were so good and I was going to do my best but I didn’t know how I was going to beat them. But the first presentation we had against Johannesburg, I was like they are not better than us. We even won. So, that notion changed. The notion that we were from Nigeria, we must have this, we must have that. I just believe that if you do your homework, you do you hard-work, you are going to do well.
Tobi: Nobody is supernatural, like what Semi said. If you put in your hard-work, nobody can be supernatural to you. When we faced the Indian team, yes, this people had fire. But, then, they told us that they had a really hard time with our briefs. So, it means that we brought our A game and we were competition as well. The final decision wasn’t even unanimous and the judges had a hard time deciding. Note that the Indian team consisted of post-graduate students. If you do your homework and you put in the work, it would take you far. If you put unnecessary pressure on yourself, it would do you no good. Just go there and do your best.
Obinna: Two words; have fun. In whatever you are doing. Everyone was taking this Price Media thing seriously and was angry at me at certain times. But, I was just calm. I tried to have fun, interact with the judges and all ‘cause I know what will be will be. I tried to have my fun, I even went out to the club some couple of times.
Timi: Before South Africa, I put too much pressure on myself. It is always like I have a point to prove. But something kept coming to my head; if you are going to prepare well, prepare like you’re going to fail and pray like you are going to fail. One thing I learnt is never to pressure myself because if I prepare well, with God, I will be fine.
Chiamaka: My knowledge about internet intermediaries. Before I started Price Media Law Moot, I didn’t even know that internet companies had liability. And then, I really focused on Scoops. So, I got to read a lot of materials and develop more interest in internet intermediary liabilities and one thing that happened to me while I was in South Africa is I realised that no matter where you go to or no matter how far you stray away from being yourself, you never stop being yourself. The moment you start preparing and you decide, I’m going to be myself, you are going to excel because that is who you are, you can’t be anyone else. My experience made me realise that I had been living in fear saying oh, I can’t do this thing, it’s been forever since I was out to speak publicly and I stood up and I had white judges and there were Indians and it was like, my bones were filled with cement. And I just felt this like this is who I am, this is what I have been doing since I was born, this is who I am and I am always going to be excellent at it. It gave me peace, to know that I was still myself.
The PROs: You guys are much younger than any other team, with half of the team qualifying, when they were literally year one students.
Zainab: For me, it was to prove a point to myself. Like I’ve said, I’m very shy. Very shy. So, I just said that okay, get out of your comfort zone and then, I actually tried out just so I could experience mooting. Daniel would always say that mooting is not hard, just do it. The first day of try-outs, Semi and I were talking and I told her that, ‘I’m just trying out for trying out sake and I don’t care if I don’t qualify’. After the first rounds and I did pretty well for myself, I was proud of myself and I told myself I could do this. I didn’t necessary look at my class. And I had older people to guide me; Ilamosi was always there for me, Daniel, Ibrahim. I don’t think you should use your class or age for anything. I’m actually the youngest here. That almost caused problems in South Africa but for my detailed oriented dad. So, don’t look at age, class, just look at yourself.
Semilore: For me, personally. I don’t think anybody came to tell me that, that I can’t do it. Nobody can tell me with their chest. But I was telling myself. So, I put that pressure on myself to prove to people that you just have to put in the work and then, you are going to be good. And then, I had my tutors behind me; Tobi Olowokure, my brother and Ibrahim Mohammed. They both really helped me. They listened to my arguments even as they are in law school. I sent them vns, they sent feedback and all. It’s really good to have someone to help you, someone more knowledgeable that would correct you. Also, it was more of an advantage as my mind was fresh. I just did my research and I killed it in my own right. Shout out to Bolaji Ogalu, I don’t think we would have gone far without him. He was our overnight daddy.
Tobi: Shout out to Ibrahim! He sent me guides for my brief. I was just done with Year 2, I had only done Constitutional Law and the likes. Even the freedom of expression was like a page or so. I was literally like a blank canvas. At that point, I was like, can you? Amirah would tell me, Tobi, you have to kill it oh. Then, I had some issues too. It was just God all through. I didn’t even think I would get in at first. It was a lot to prove to myself and because I had a lot of people pushing me. Shout out to Olamide! I didn’t have a laptop that time and he gave me his laptop to write my briefs and all.
Obinna: I don’t believe in age or class as a determining factor. Because, personally, when I came into the Mooting Society in Year 1, I didn’t do the competition side but I was running around delivering letters. So, I don’t think there’s anything that can actually hinder you. In year two, I would have gone for competitions but there were merely administrative faults. I qualified for Nuremburg but was deemed too young by the faculty. You can achieve anything at any point in time. But the most important thing is, we may be young and getting it but we shouldn’t let it get into our heads. There is still a lot to do. Shout out to Rahman for encouraging me to try out again! Thank you Dad for encouraging me as well.
Timi: Shout out to Mubarak, first of all. I was a respondent at first and when we were coming for meetings then during the holidays, I would look around and I was the only Year 1 student then. Even despite that, I had the best brief at the first submission. I and Ladking (Mubarak) would exchange briefs. Ladking was the driving force behind this whole Price. He was always challenging me, bringing up something to trash out my arguments. But then, after the try-outs, I qualified and I was moved to the applicant side. I always felt Ladking would have been the best person to do the applicant job so I felt I was going there to represent him. I kept on reading his brief. I just had to go there to represent him. I haven’t told him this yet.
The PROs: For you, Chiamaka, working with younger team members, would you say there were any challenges?
Chiamaka: Well, there were times where I was not very comfortable and being older, I would want to say something but then, I would tell myself, you know what, I am the adult here; they might be younger than me but they are smart, brilliant individuals and they are adults. It helped me to be on my A game because I felt that I had more to lose and I had more to prove ‘cause I had been in the faculty for so long, I’m in my final year. It had this effect; you can’t afford to mess up. You are older, you have gone through this faculty and you came out unscathed. So, that was pretty much it, it was the responsibility to establish myself as a 500 level student.
The PROs: What are you excited about the most, going to Oxford?
Zainab: That we are going to compete in an international competition, that’s the first one. Then, we are having a vacation during school period. That is amazing. Two actually, we went to South Africa and now, we are going to Oxford. I would see some of my family members that are there. So, that would be nice. And just the achievement that we went to do this.
Semilore: I’m excited to compete with different people, networking, meeting different people, different cultures and all that. And I have people to meet so at least, two extra days for fun and all. But, yes, the major reason is not to jaiye but to represent the faculty and make you guys proud. So, I’m excited to add something extra to my CV.
Tobi: First thing, I never go London before so I’m excited about that. (The other team members shout Oxford!) Potatoe, potatoh, same thing. Secondly, the fact that we actually made it there, it just shows that we have a lot of quality and substance and I am really excited. If South Africa is our starting point, then, the possibilities are endless. Just thinking about it is exciting. And the fact that I’m going to see my mum and everybody, it’s amazing. I can’t wait! And with this people, our 3-3-3 gang! (The trio of Tobi, Chiamaka and Zainab. Apparently, they bonded in SA and voila! 3-3-3 gang was born) And I’m happy that I’m going with this amazing set of people.
Obinna: Firstly, I’m very happy because in the words of my father, I have a date with history. Not everyone has this opportunity so I’m very excited. I’m not that excited about the jaiye. For the fact that I am going to Oxford, I am very happy. I am very happy about my team. I learnt tolerance working with them and I’m happy to be with them.
Timi: Everybody knows Oxford is an Ivy League school so getting to go to that school, to me, it’s like a dream come true. Because, by the time they want to rate you and it’s like, where have you been to? I would say I’ve been to Oxford and participated in a competition there. The most amazing thing, the judges would be real life judges and some of the cases you would cite would have been presided over by them. Oby Ezikwesili said something, ‘Your competitors are not members of your school, and they are not even Nigerians’. For you to be fulfilled, you must have gone out.
Chiamaka: The fact that it is an opportunity to set yourself apart, when it comes to like LLM applications and internships because I mean, I’ve been told that you can get internships in internet companies like Facebook, Google etc. If you are starting out like that, the sky is your starting point because these are the biggest internet intermediaries in the world. Also, going to an Ivy League school like Oxford for a competition should be an advantage.
The PROs: What should we expect from you all at Oxford?
Zainab: We are going there to do our best. The aim is to win but if we don’t, we would have tried our best and just making it to the international rounds, for me, is a huge achievement.
Semilore: Expect us to kill it, that’s all.
Tobi: We are going there to bring our fire, we are putting in everything that we have. Whatever happens, we just know that we didn’t go there to be mediocre. We are going there to kill it, whatever happens.
Obinna: Like I always say, we go dey alright.
Chiamaka: I think you can expect me to be myself. The best version of myself possible.
The PROs: Based on the facts, what advice would you give to people, as regards social media and freedom of expression?
Zainab: The basic thing about freedom of expression is that yes, you have the right to lay out your own opinions and all but not at the expense of someone else’s. In saying how you feel, mind how the other person feels and don’t just put out false news.
Semilore: My own is that, in Nigeria, you’ll probably get away with it but one day, one day! Be careful with what you do on social media, don’t be playing with photo-shop anyhow.
Zainab: Like what they are doing on Twitter, putting clothes for people anyhow.
Tobi: I’m an applicant so I believe that you have the right to say whatever you want to say. And I believe that the government should not place restrictions on social media or place liability on anyone. There are restrictions yes, but you should still be able to say what you want to say. Do not think that because there is a limit you will now restrict yourself so much. Just know how to couch your words.
Obinna: We should be careful when posting and making defamatory remarks. For the government, the restriction should be lessened. That’s the balance.
Timi: As an applicant first of all, the right to freedom of expression usually conflicts with the right to privacy. And then, everybody has their right to freedom of expression. Once you start expressing yourself, you bring light to how things are supposed to be done, for instance. So, I feel like right to freedom of expression should be restricted in rare cases and there must be a legal backing for such restriction.
Chiamaka: Read stuff, Article 19 will really help you. They have a website, just Google Article 19. They have a lot of materials and short articles explaining what freedom of expression is, limitations, the things that you can or can’t do. For bloggers and vloggers, you owe a duty to yourself to find out what the law requires of you. You may not be creating content, you may just be disseminating what others have created but you still owe yourself a duty to find out what international standards are and what is okay to put on the internet and what is not.
The PROs: We noticed that some of you met Ebuka at the airport.
Zainab: Yess!! The 3-3-3- gang met Ebuka. This was it; Obviously, he didn’t pay for economy and we were standing on the other line. Then, I literally smelt richness. I turned and it was his side-view so I tapped Chiamaka and Tobi like, is this not Ebuka? We called out to him and he turned and he was holding something. So I said, where is the agbada? And he replied that, it’s not every time he will wear it. He was already going and then we were like, we wanted a picture with him. He was so nice. He was walking slowly so we could catch up and even waited for us. We took the pictures and he was so nice. He looked so good!
Semilore: They disappeared and they met him.
Tobi: Ahhh, yesss. He was so nice. He looked so good and his fashion is on point.
Chiamaka: It was quite interesting because we were already in the lift to board the aircraft and we saw this well-dressed man, with this like brown two-piece and he had a sash and we were like, who is this very fashionable person? He doesn’t look like a South African. This has to be Ebuka! And then, we called out to him and were like, Omg! Hi, good morning. We asked for a picture and he was like sure. He even waited for us to go through the whole checking process and all. And when we took the picture, he was all smiles. He was so humble and nice. I think it was the highlight of my airport experience.
The PROs: Can you summarize your Price experience in one word?
Semilore: The beginning.
Timi: The start.
A special shout out to these people, in no particular order; Ogaku Kanu Agabi, Ogalu Bolaji Jeffrey, Ilamosi Ekenimoh, Olamide Sholabomi, Ipinnu Ade-Ademilua, Daniel Olika, Ibrahim Mohamed, Dammy Wright, Mubarak Agboola Dosunmu, Odongo Brian (our Kenyan husband) , Sisqo Chris (Obinna’s uncle), Habeeb Adeleke, Rahman Apalara, Nigerian Consulate.
Zainab Dunmoye, Semilore Olowokure, Tobi Ajayi, Obinna Ike-Amadi, Timilehin Salu and Chiamaka Okoli are students of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos and members of the Mooting Society. They will represent the university in the international rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition in April, 2018.