Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for making the time to join us at the 16th NBA-SBL Annual International Business Law conference.

I appreciate the presence of our distinguished speakers and participants at this year’s conference.

A few things about this year’s conference:

1) As a central theme, we thought we should have conversations pertaining to recent developments in the business environment. A lot has been happening in the lawyering landscape that is worth talking about – from new legislations, to new trends, to recent law firm management successions, and several other topics worth talking about.

2) 2022 annual conference is SBL’s first physical annual conference since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thought to choose a venue capable of accommodating the number of people itching to attend a physical SBL Conference. Abuja seemed a natural choice for reasons of access and infrastructure. As expected, we had a surge of prospective attendees and had to close registration at 850 physical persons in attendance.

3) Last year we had our first female keynote speaker in the person of Wendy Okolo – Wendy Okolo is a Nigerian-American aerospace research engineer in the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center. She is the first Black woman to obtain a Ph. D. degree in aerospace engineering from University of Texas at Arlington. She has also been the youngest Keynote speaker at an SBL Conference at the age of 32. This year we have decided to field yet another young and dynamic female keynote speaker in the person of Kosi Yankey Ayeh who is currently the Chief Executive Office Ghana Enterprise Agency. A full introduction will be made before she comes on stage shortly. I am not sure if our keynote speaker for today is younger than Wendy Okolo (but we cannot ask a woman how old she is, so I will leave you guessing when she comes up). In any case, we thought Kosi was a great choice as we would benefit from her experience working with small businesses both as an entrepreneur and a regulator in Ghana.

I will want to give special thanks to every single member of the Conference Planning Committee ahead for the wonderful experience at this year’s conference as we all look forward to the curated learning sessions and programs.

I must specifically mention:

1. CPC Chairman: Mr Chike Obianwu,
2. CPC Vice-Chair: Ayoyinka Olajide-Awosedo
3. Fundraising Co-Chairs: Folasade Alli, Sola Dosunmu and Mofesomo Tayo-Oyetibo, Osahon Uhuangho
4. Programs & Content Chairperson and Vice-Chairman: Bukola Bankole & Chudi Ofili
5. Technology Co-Chairmen: Rotimi Ogunyemi, Moses Faya
6. Venue and Accommodation Chairman: Perenami Momodu
7. Sponsorship Benefits Chairperson: Christine Sijuwade
8. Chair, Media & Publicity Chairmen: Theodora Kio-Lawson
9. Local Organizing Committee Chairmen: Marx Ikongbeh & Chinenye Uwanaka

For me in particular, this year’s conference is my last conference as SBL Chairman and the last Conference for SBL Council 2020 to 2022. That said, I will like to seize this opportunity to salute those former SBL Chairmen who have held the helm in the past in the sequence – George Etomi, Mfon Usoro, Gbenga Oyebode, Asue Ighodalo, Olumide Akpata and Seni Adio SAN. The NBA SBL in line with its tradition of a seamless transition will be holding elections in August 2022 and changing guards on the 25th of August 2022.

I use this time to wish the incoming brigade (Council 2022-2024) the best of luck and greased elbows. Before I close, I would like to leave them and the entire SBL community with this quote by Albert Einstein: ‘’Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving’’.

SBL has kept moving from inception and needs to just keep moving.

Once again thank you all for listening to my rants and for coming to dine with us today. I wish us all a productive 2 days.

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