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    I didn’t moot while in year one. For a reason I can’t really remember, I neglected the act. But I was happy my class created a landmark. A course mate of mine had emerged best advocate for the Moot competition organized by the Moot and Mock Trial Committee, organized that year. That move gave me confidence for the task ahead. I was sure of being a part of the system the next competition-year.
    Soon, a World Human Rights Competition hosted by the Centre for Human Rights had begun. It was a world class competition where schools all over the world battle out for a place in the world stage. Each continent was expected to organize its own continental phase selection, through which the best team for each continent will meet at the world stage. International Human Rights was a course for the five hundred level students of our Faculty, so I had every reason to refuse it. But I had to test my hand on something challenging. So I didn’t care about the fact before me. Myself and one Leonard Epidi, a one hundred level student by then were settled to be part of the contest. We were the youngest in levels. This was not the only disadvantage, we had not mooted before. That was something enough to drive us out. But no, we didn’t relent. We had every reason to be skeptical but we had to fight the fight, it was a necessary one. 

    Stephen Agbada was our mentor. We had heard much of his mooting successes. Of how he represented NDU and indeed Team Nigeria at Washington DC, USA at the Philip Jess Up Moot Court Competition. He had also been to South Africa; hence we were sure we were dealing with an experienced mooter. We got all the necessary lectures we needed but I was kind of shaky; it was my first experience so I had every reason to. 

    I made a lot of mistakes when rehearsing and those who watched us speak were not sure I will do well, including myself. We were about three to four contestants that were to do it for the first time. It was indeed a tight trial because only two were to make it to South Africa eventually. 

    I did the best of the research work I could do. I had to read articles, Charters of all kinds and of course, cases. I practiced hard, waiting for the next step. And so it came; it was already the day. We all sat down looking at the one judge that was to assess us. We were about seven in numbers ready for the task. Hope Ogunka Azinuchi had backed out for a reason I don’t know, but I knew she prepared for it. 

    Soon it was time and they needed the first person that would be bold enough to come out and speak. I was sitting at the front roll waiting for a signal. I never wanted to be the first to speak, but I was called, and so I had no choice than to present myself. The last time I had similar experience was in the Secondary School during the debate competitions, but this one was different. I was faced with one Judge who interrupted me when I spoke. Questions were coming in as I moved like a swift wind. My movement was fast, I was arguing with so much speed. I was just talking all that I knew. The Judge watched me steadily as I argued. I flowed beautifully until I paused a while after I lost a point. The situation caused a little hiatus in the atmosphere. I was a little unstable at the pause but God willing; I picked up myself and continued. After a while I was down and sat down. Others took their turn one after the other until it was time for the results. 

    We all patiently waited to know the two folks that will win the ticket to South Africa. My heart was beating fast as the judge started giving his comments while announcing the results. Somehow, he chose to start from the least on the log to the first. He started with the last to the second to the last and on and on until we were four left. Myself,  Eniye Igbanibo, one Sheila and Leornard Epidi. Two just had to win. Who could the two be? I thought. Apart from Eniye, the remaining three was having their first mooting ever. I believed none of us could beat Eniye because she had all the experience, and indeed she was a good advocate with a sound understanding of the law. I believed that maybe one of the novices will make it with her. 

    “Eniye Igbanibo” he called.  That was his pertain. If he calls your name it means you are already out of the contest. He affirmed she was good but she was too fast and hardly was she heard. The excuse doesn’t really make sense to us, no, not to all those who knew about her ability. But there was nothing anyone could do. I had made it to the last three, at last. One of us must leave for two to remain. Who could that one be? Could I be among the two or the one to be defeated?


    Leonard Epidi is currently a graduate of the Niger Delta University. A Bayelsan based in Lagos State, Epidi is one of the best mooters I have ever known. He is not just good in advocacy, he is smart. The first time I met him, a friend of mine Elvis Otiti, threatened him that he was a gay, and would have a taste of him in no time. He was a bit naïve, but got to understand it was a joke. Epidi has a fine eloquence in that he can hardly make a “Humm” in oratory. He is sure one of Bayelsa State’s best. He is not a shot one shouldn’t joke with. Though, he always put on the unserious look, he remains one to beat all the time.] 

    [Suspense- in next episode, readers will get to know if I qualified for the Regional Stage]


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