Port Harcourt Law School: Oraye St Franklin responds to Paul Alfred publication.
Paul Alfred listed his 10 personal reasons why he thinks Port Harcourt Law School is a waste of Rivers State resources.
Oraye St Franklin responded to the publication one after the other, disagreed with many and agreed in some if his points.
Below is the Alfred publication with Oraye’s response.
POINT BY POINT RESPONSE TO PAUL ALFRED ON HIS PIECE: ‘THE PRODIGAL WASTAGE OF THE RESOURCES OF RIVERS STATE TO BUILD LAW SCHOOL’
1. Law school is owned by the Council of Legal Education which is a federal government agency.
Response: The University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State is also owned by the Federal Government.
2. Employment of law school academic and non-academic staffs will be done in Abuja. Rivers State will not get any preference in the employment. So the law school does not offer any real employment advantage for Rivers people.
Response: Just as it obtains at the University of Port Harcourt, employment of academic and non academic staff will be open to all qualified Nigerians and with respect to non academic staff, preference will be for residents of the State where the institution is sited. No existing model in Nigeria buttresses your point.
3. The Deputy Director General of the PH campus of the law will not even be a Rivers person. DDG will be posted from Abuja.
Response: It doesn’t matter who is DG or DDG of the Law School, no competent Rivers person will be excluded from occupying the office when the opportunity arises. Besides, whoever the DDG is, isn’t as important as him or her working in an Institution named after an eminent Rivers Legal Luminary in the person of Nabo Graham Douglas.
4. Student postings to law school is done in Abuja. The convention is to send southern students to the north and northern students to the south. Thus, northern students will be sent to the PH campus while Rivers students will end up in Kano campus. Just like NYSC, it’s part of national integration policy.
Response: This is not true. Students have the right to choose which Law Schools they wish to attend and based on space get allocated. I had the option too and attended the Yenagoa Campus at my time due to its proximity to Rivers State.
5. So face it! The law school built with Rivers money will not be for Rivers people.
Response: Haba na. It is called the Nigerian Law School. It for all Nigerians. Even the Rivers State University built with Rivers money is not only for Rivers people.
6. The average law school population is around 1500. So 1500 persons coming to PH because of the law school will not add any real economic value to PH.
Response: Just a single person coming into Rivers State to live or do business in it will impact the State’s economy. 1,500 persons on a consistent basis and for as long as that school exists there, will surely impact on the economy of the State starting with its immediate environment.
7. Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor are already overcrowded thus resulting in traffic congestions which flyovers will not solve in the long term. Locating the law school outside PH/ Obio/Akpor, say in Etche or Bori would have been of value in terms of attracting developments.
Response: This is a good point, your best point and I quite agree. But it doesn’t make the school useless or amount to ‘WASTAGE’ of resources. It only deprives other parts of the State development. The school has been built and is built within perimeter walls. Students and lecturers who will all reside therein will concern themselves with having successful Bar Exams and not about the congestion of Obio/ Akpor and Port Harcourt cities.
8. If we look at the big picture, the law school is not of any real developmental value to Rivers people vis-a-vis the billions of Rivers State resources sank into it.
Response: The Big Picture shows Rivers State as having 2 Sea Ports, Two Airports, lush greenery and Pleasure Parks. It’s an Oil and Gas and hospitality hub with luxurious hotels among others. Rivers State has 5 Tertiary institutions with the addition of the new ultra modern Nigerian Law School campus. In terms of marketing the State, it’s not an insignificant point.
9. That money would have been used to establish a Rivers State University of Agriculture which will be under the full management of Rivers State. That would have offered great employment opportunities for Rivers people while at the same time laying the foundation for food security in Rivers State.
Response: Perhaps we can start with ensuring the Agriculture Departments of each of our 5 Tertiary institutions collaborate on schemes that promote food security? We don’t actually need a university for that, do we?
10. For the above reasons, it is my opinion that the law school is an embarrassing waste of the resources of Rivers State. Meanwhile ANDONI LGA IN RIVERS STATE DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE ROAD but the Governor is taking over the responsibility of the federal government. Very unfortunate.
Response: Your opinion is your right but not the facts. However, I will join you to call for development in Andoni upto Oyorokoto based on the massive opportunities that abound there especially for Tourism and Aquaculture. Meanwhile States taking over Federal Government’s responsibilities didn’t begin today. Rivers State has done so for successive governments. It amounts to taking our destiny in our hands.
I salute you my brother.
Written by — Paul Alfred
(Master of Laws in Energy and Environmental Law, University of Aberdeen; Holder of Certificate of Achievement in Energy Transition (Innovation towards a Low-Carbon Future), IFP School, France.
Responded to by — Oraye St. Franklyn, a bloody retired Partisan enjoying his peace of mind. The basis for my response is that I called for this development. I will defend it.