By Kosi Yankey Ayeh, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Enterprise Agency


I stand on all existing protocols

Distinguished Council Members of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL)

Ladies and Gentlemen

Yes there is fire on the mountain! But we are not going to run…,

The theme is so apt… its beyond us. Its about the future of this nation, the youth and your country.

1. Good evening.

2. Before I proceed, I want to make a few promises if you will permit me:

a. I will not crack any boring jokes, a
b. I will not mention anything about jollof rice
c. I wont bore you with many numbers, after all you are lawyers not statisticians


3. First of all let me thank you all for the warm welcome. I must say from the airport to the hotel, to the conference hosts, there has not been a shortage of smiles on the faces of the people.

4. Also I would like to extend my appreciation to the chair, the one and only Ayuli, a good friend of mine.

5. I remember last week I asked Ayuli what he wanted me to say, he said tell them stories. 😊 true stories. So please bear with me cause that’s all I will be doing tonight.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

6. It’s an honour to be with you for the 16th Annual International Business Law Conference of the NBA-SBL under the Theme: “Recent Developments in the Business Law Environment”, and I am particularly delighted to be speaking on the topic: New Trends for enabling business start-ups in Africa.

7. Indeed, being in Nigeria is like being at home. Ghana and Nigeria interestingly do not have a common border but surprisingly, we have a lot of things in common. Yo state the obvious

i. We are both commonwealth countries and English is our official language

ii. all the countries sharing our borders are mainly Francophone.

iii. Our legal systems may differ a little in terms of composition, but it is fair to say the countries’ legal systems are quite similar and comprises of the English law, the common law and the customary law.

iv. Throughout my lifetime, it’s been evident that Ghana and Nigeria are two countries very comfortable with each other. Although we remain distinct in many ways, people travelling between our countries can testify that there is a shared warmth, admiration, welcome and ease of communication that makes our people feel instantly at home with each other.

v. In 2021, for instance, four major FDI projects across Ghana were of Nigerian origin.

vi. More recently, Nigeria also graciously supported Ghana’s Sports industry by granting us a safe passage to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. I think I speak on behalf of all Ghanaian football fans when I say we remain grateful for your Super-Eagles.

8. I am very sure the similarities cut across the entire continent and we relate well with issues pertaining to the business environment.

9. For todays conference I am particularly happy for my participation in this conference for three main reasons:

10. First, the crucial place of law in underpinning innovation and entrepreneurial activities. This is because Business law helps to maintain order, establish a set of generally accepted standards, resolve disputes, and protect liberties as well as rights when it comes to business as well as its relation to its customers, government authorities, and other businesses. This also includes protection of intellectual property rights, which is critical in fostering innovation and investment.

11. Secondly, because the institution I lead, the Ghana Enterprises Agency has a huge responsibility to create jobs for the Teaming youth in Ghana and we’ve made great strides in the past few years although a lot still remains to be done.

12. And thirdly, this conference has come at a time when the Government of Ghana and other African countries have placed emphasis on building an entrepreneurial nation to spark start ups.

13. So indeed this conference and its theme is timely if we hope to spark the change we want to see.And Abuja is the place.


14. When I cast my mind back to when you started this conference I was in my 20s, and my dream then was to continue the career I started on wall street as a banker.

15. Africa and Ghana was not on my mind.

16. A few months later, I visited Ghana and my mind was changed! Africa was on a growth trajectory and I craved to come back and make a change. I am not sure what my parents thought but I did not stop to ask them.
Now let me delve deeper into my story.

17. TORONTO TO GUELPH: Fast forward 6 years later, which was 10 years ago, I was sitting in a bus with a friend from Toronto to Guelph in Canada when I woke my sleeping friend up frantically after I had what I believe was an epiphany. “I have an idea I told her?” I’m going to raise US$ 500 million as a fund to the youth of Africa and grow businesses out of slums and ashes.” She responded: “Great wake me up when you figure out how to raise the funds.” It was at that point that I knew the challenge was on. At that time I was in Canada to design a multi- million dollar project for the youth in cocoa and the funder had accepted the proposal and as we worked on the next phase of the project, I realized I was hungry for more, and that was the US$500 million. That was why I had moved back to Ghana, Africa.

18. MASTERCARD FOUNDATION: The next day I went back to the office of the foundation I had pitched to and the COO walked up to me and said “I see the passion and I would like to support you.” I will work with you to raise the funds but on condition that you go back to school. Not just any school but Harvard!!!

19. DROPPING OUT OF LAW SCHOOL: Why would I want to go back to school. I asked myself, I’m doing just great. Six months after I returned to Ghana, I thought about it and made a decision. The first thing I did which you will all not be proud of me for, was that I withdrew from law school in Ghana much to the distress of my dean and applied to Harvard 24 hours to the deadline of the application.


21. HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: I was very strategic with the courses I wanted to take and the three that are important to discuss are: i) the making of a politician ii) sparking social change iii) from Harvard square to oval office.

To see the change you wanted, you needed to be there to create that change. Women in politics support and finding a seat at the table.

22. POLITICAL VICTORY: A year after, my admission, one of your first Ghanaian speakers became president. On a lighter note, I’m beginning to wonder if this platform creates Ghanaian Presidents. He gave me the opportunity to serve in his administration. Although I hesitated initially I grabbed the bull by the horn and run with it.

23. TRANSFORMATION OF NBSSI TO GEA: I took up the most obscure institution the National Board for Small Scale Industries. Even the President asked if I was sure this was the institution I wanted to run. I was clear in my mind what I could do and what I wanted. For 20 years everyone wanted to change the ACT. Three different documents. What changed? The policy, the bill and the act. We need to create the law and implement it. This was to create the enabling environment. Bring the stakeholders to the table. To enable business startups in Africa and in Ghana something had to be done.

24. This was done at the right time because the world changed a few months after the transformation.


26. Ladies and Gentlemen
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has caused a health emergency around the world, which affected many businesses with some of them completely staying out of business. Trade, investment, growth, and employment are all affected, and the crisis has reversed the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, the Russia-Ukraine war is having an outsized impact on the global supply chain, impeding the flow of goods, fueling dramatic cost increases and product shortages, and creating catastrophic food shortages around the world, leaving little room for countries to maneuver.

27. Ladies and Gentlemen – YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
Now this is where the matter becomes critical. Because before COVID, and before the Russian-Ukraine war, Youth unemployment had been one of the biggest challenges confronting Governments in Africa, where there is little or no economic opportunities for our teeming youth. In 2020, Africa’s population under 35 represented almost a billion people, amounting to 22.7% of the world’s total youth population, the second largest after Asia’s (58.0%), according to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

28. Ladies and Gentlemen – YOUTH GROWTH

29. By the year 2100, it is estimated that Africa’s youth will grow by 181.4%, to twice
Europe’s entire population and almost one half of the world’s youth will be from Africa. By the estimates, by 2030, 30 million young people are expected to enter the African labour market each year. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, while 18 million new formal jobs would be needed annually to absorb new entries into the labour market. Only 3 million are currently being created.

30. The consequences of youth unemployment in Africa are pervasive and severe: unemployment translates to poorer living conditions, fuels migration out of Africa, and contributes to conflict on the continent itself. Above all, youth unemployment constitutes a failure to capitalize on one of the continent’s greatest assets for growth: its large and growing population of talented young people. So obviously we are sitting on a time bomb ready to explode. We really require

31. Fundamentally, the challenges we face today have changed the traditional context for decision-making across our homes, businesses, and governments.

32. Are we prepared?


33. Perhaps the first of the many lessons that the past two years have taught us, particularly those of us in Government, is that our economic prospects hinge on shoring up our enterprise and social support systems.

34. Indeed, for us to build back better in a post-COVID landscape, it has become even more urgent that we create the means for our people to succeed economically and socially.

35. At its core, this will require a renewed emphasis on creating an enabling environment for our enterprise ecosystem (i.e. MSMEs and Startups) to flourish.

36. This focus on fostering enterprise is an informed one. Pre-pandemic, 22% of the working-age population in Africa had set up their own businesses. Here, in Nigeria, an estimated 43.31% of GDP is from MSMEs. Essentially, local businesses employ 87.9% of the labour force.

37. The same rings true in Ghana. Our MSMEs are said to contribute 70% of our GDP. For this reason, one of our most significant concerns was mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods of the millions of our traders and local businesses.

38. I am particularly proud that through initiatives such as the Cap-Buss programme, my institution, the Ghana Enterprises Agency, supported 758,251 MSME jobs and disbursed close to $200 million in emergency relief to small businesses across Ghana.

39. Still, more must be done.

Harnessing the Continent’s Startup potential

40. Undeniably, we must leverage the talents and ingenuity of our young people. I believe that by boosting the entrepreneurial power of young people, we can:

a. Create innovative and modern businesses
b. Increase the capacity for our businesses to compete regionally and globally
c. Attract more FDI
d. Contribute significantly towards job creation and resilient economic growth, and certainly,
e. Accelerate living standards and social progress

41. Undoubtedly, supporting our startups and MSMEs will generate first-rate opportunities for impact and innovation and boost our post-pandemic recovery.

42. As I see it, our primary challenge involves creating a supportive environment for our businesses, especially our startups, to grow.

43. I singled out startups because the African startup scene is booming. And so long as governments fail to provide efficient public service delivery, startups will try and fill those gaps.

44. On the African continent today, Nigeria has become the shining light regarding startups and the development of innovative products to address challenges in the continent.

45. From fintech to educational technology, young innovators are breaking new ground. Just like you have done in the entertainment sector.

46. Unsurprisingly Nigerian startups are attracting more foreign investors. Last year alone, Nigerian tech startups were reported to have attracted over $150 billion in investor interest. Indeed, Nigeria and South Africa accounted for 28% of the total venture capital funding that came into the continent.

47. As I see it, our chance to transform the rest of Africa into a “startup superpower” hinges on making far-reaching progress along several structural trends that have previously inhibited progress.

48. The fact is that sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the lowest-performing regions according to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.

49. Indeed, according to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, an entrepreneur in a low-income economy typically spends around 50% of the country’s per-capita income to launch a company, compared with just 4.2% for an entrepreneur in a high-income economy.

50. New Trends for enabling business start-ups.

51. In that regard, concerted action must be taken to improve the business environment by introducing clear legislation promoting ease of business as well as the start up act bill.

52. I believe that with a supportive business environment, we can then lay out a roadmap toward building thriving, competitive ecosystems that generate world-changing innovations.

53. Indeed, more connected ecosystems through innovations such as cross-border payments systems should make it easier and more affordable for our startups to benefit from networks that connect founders, hubs and government bodies.

54. Such connected networks dovetail finely into the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is a gamechanger for all our MSMEs.

55. A single market of 1.3 billion consumers will allow our firms to diversify, specialize and benefit from economies of scale, making them more productive and competitive.

56. Not to mention, the AfCFTA also has the potential to lift at least 30 million people on our continent out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of an estimated 68 million people that live on less than $5.50 per day.

57. Essentially, our governments must push to implement the AfCFTA fully. At the same time, concerted action is required on infrastructure, skills and even start-up-visa initiatives to retain and attract talent into our local economies.

58. Crucially, we must also ensure that we use the present “momentum for technology” to close funding gaps for startups across the continent.

59. In years to come, we will look back at 2020 as the moment we truly entered the digital era.

60. Undoubtedly, the era of “big-tech” is here to stay. As such, we must leverage digital solutions to accelerate the development of our enterprise ecosystems and remedy long-standing challenges with the perceived riskiness of African businesses.

61. With these concerns applying to domestic and international investors, we must leverage technology to address information deficiencies and work alongside policymakers to develop financing vehicles that reduce risks and unlock capital from corporate and institutional investors.

62. The case for action is clear: our start-ups are undoubtedly a critical lever of economic and social development.

63. From a “Government perspective”, our task will be to implement a coherent economic policy that opens and connect markets and generates opportunities for our burgeoning youth populations.

64. As a former Wall Street analyst, I can tell you that investors are deterred by a lack of reliable information, fluctuating exchange rates, and weak regulatory and legal systems.

65. It is on the subject of weak regulatory and legal systems that I will task this noble association to increase its efforts to enforce the laws pertaining to businesses in this country.

66. This is echoed more succinctly by Albert Einstein when he says and I quote “Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws that are not enforced” set up strong institutions to enforce the laws.

67. When such strong regulatory and legal environment is created viz-a-vis the famed resilient spirit of the Nigerian Entrepreneur, we can only imagine how Nigerian Start-ups will take over the world and create jobs for our teeming youth. Of course Nigeria is already taking over the world with its music why can’t its start-ups?

68. The instruments for creating a strong legal environment are all in this association, lawyers, prosecutors, judges and even some politicians. This is a task no one can do but you as the NBA. This will prepare a favourable landscape for the Nigerian entrepreneur to thrive and reach their full potential

69. If current positive trends are sustained, I believe the private and public sectors can work together to redistribute risk and enhance financing flows to our innovators and entrepreneurs. Our goal must be to encourage enterprise within the context of fairness and social progress.


71. Between 2017 to 2021, GEA, provided various interventions to over 680,000 persons with more than 60% of these beneficiaries being women. The support included business formalization, access to finance, improvement in productivity, and market access among others, and we are doing our bit, preparing businesses to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area by forming partnerships with relevant institutions to provide support to MSMEs in branding and packaging, e-Commerce and product certification through the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).
73. For specifics, allow me to share some of the key highlights of our achievements in some of the projects we have implemented:
75. YAW

79. Ultimately, we should all be proud of the achievements of our startups and MSMEs and be confident that their destination will be one toward success and prosperity so long as we ensure that our regulations and financing vehicles promote the growth of our businesses.

80. With 10 million–12 million African youth entering the workforce each year, we cannot neglect away from our responsibility to ensure that more startups with big dreams emerge in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.



82. Thank you for your attention

To join our Telegram platform, please click here 

COPYRIGHT 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to Join us on Facebook at and on TWITTER at To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.




On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, the NBA, Eket branch held the opening ceremony of its law week with the theme, “Nigerian State and the Crisis of Governance: What Hope for 2023 and Beyond” at Royalty Hotels & Recreation, Eket, Akwa Ibom State.

Devout Bar man, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN was recognized as the keynote speaker of the ceremony. The Chairman of the branch’s 2022 Bar week gave the welcome address and thanked the Learned Silk and other eminent guests present for attending the event. The chairman of of the occasion, Hon. Justice Ifiok Ukana (Rtd) noted that the theme of the event is very apt considering the current situation of things in the country. He also stated that the Learned Silk, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama is best suited to deliver the keynote address on the theme.

Hon. Justice Edem Akpan who represented the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Justice Ekaette F. Obot declared the law week of the branch open. Prior to that, he commended the leadership of the Bar and keyed into the perspective shared by the chairman of the occasion. He further stated that corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society and therefore, impeded the growth of our nation.

“I am here to claim my birthright” the Learned Silk jokingly stated while informing all that he is also a son of Eket. In his usual manner, he rendered justice to the theme. During his keynote address, he enumerated the indices of both good and bad governance. He expressed his displeasure over the level of poverty and insecurity in the country. One major highlight from his keynote address was the fact that he stated that all stakeholders need to discuss on the roadblocks preventing the growth of the nation and the steps to take to advance our nation. This fact was also reiterated by Mr. Uko Essien Udom, SAN, the Attorney-General of the State while addressing the audience.

The opening ceremony of the branch’s law week was indeed indelible as it witnessed the launching of the branch’s Bar journal and an inflow of highly distinguished personalities in the legal profession ranging from present and past Justices of the High Court of the State to Learned Senior Advocates of Nigeria and then to leaders of the Bar and NBA branches in Akwa Ibom State. Some of these personalities include: Hon. Justice Theresa Obot; Hon. Justice Effiong Effiong; Rt. Hon. Chief Nduese Essien; Hon. Justice B.F Etuk; Hon. Justice Pius Idion; Hon. Obong Goddy Umoh; Rt. Hon. Bassey Essien; Hon. Nimi Walson Jack, past Secretary General of NBA; Mr. Kunle Ogunba, SAN; Snr. Magistrate Esther Etuk Udo; Dr. Amanim Akpabio; Mojisola Tijani, chairperson of FIDA, Eket branch; Nsima Nsima,Esq., past chairman of NBA, Eket branch; Essien Essien, Esq., past chairman of NBA, Uyo branch; Mrs. Gloria Etim, Esq., incumbent chairman of NBA, Eket branch; Aniefiok Ekwere, chairman elect, NBA, Eket branch; Ememobong Nicholas, Esq., chairman of NBA, Uyo branch; Mr. Akpadiaha Ebitu, Esq., chairman of the planning committee of the 2022 Bar week of the branch; Mrs. Ekaette Ukpong, Director in the State’s Ministry of Justice and a host of others.

To join our Telegram platform, please click here 

COPYRIGHT 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to Join us on Facebook at and on TWITTER at To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.


World acclaimed quondam Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Lagos, PROFESSOR AKIN OYEBODE warns that Nigeria’s legal profession is at the cross-roads. In this Keynote Address presented at the just concluded Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Law Week, the pre-eminent jurist says lawyers must be ready, willing and able to be at the vanguard of the struggle for a better society


                                                    DEMOCRACY AND THE LEGAL ORDER: Shaping the Future
                                                                                         AKIN OYEBODE
The lesson of inevitability of democratic values within the legal order is not lost on any serious legal practitioner or even casual observer of goings-on in society and indeed the human destiny. Of the multifarious problems afflicting the country currently hardly is anything more benumbing than the crises and contradictions inherent in our practice of democracy vis-à-vis the legal order. The situation would have been laughable if it was not so tragic. That a country so blessed with human talents and incredible natural resources has continued to walk on its head is totally stupefying and inexplicable. However, it is appurtenant to interrogate the historical antecedents of Nigeria in order to lay bare the characteristics of the contemporary legal order and difficulty to grapple with the desiderata of modernity and progress.

The Precursors of the Nigerian State
Nigeria owes its creation to the antics of British imperialism. What is important to bear in mind is that when the British arrived in these parts, they carried along in their knapsacks English law and instrumentalities of conquest and subjugation of the restless natives. Nigeria, being one of the last territories to be colonized by the perfidious Albion, was subjected to the most distasteful aspects of race supremacist ideology of disdain and disrespect for the traditions and mores of the indigenous population. This attitude had been practiced and perfected by the British in relation to the native peoples of America and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, India, etc. This superiority complex among the English was so deeply ingrained in their psyche as the writings of Shakespeare reveal, Tempest and Othello, being notable examples. As recently as 1857, the US Supreme Court in the Dred Scot case still had the temerity to declare that the black man had no rights that the whites needed respect, more so that he was only four-fifths of a man!

Wherever the English went, he could relish in the thought, as Palmerston had intoned, that the long arm of the English law would always protect him. Indeed they refused to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of the native courts which were thought to be infra dignitatem to English law which they had transported to far-flung colonial territories as instruments of colonial hegemony and control. In Nigeria as elsewhere, they had created their own special courts applying English law and rejecting all native laws and customs as being “repugnant to natural law, equity and good conscience”, a code phrase for English law. It took the genius and courage of judges such as J.I.C. Taylor and other like-minded jurists to wean themselves off slavish adherence to English law and practice by striking blows for authenticity and independence of the Nigerian legal order, be it in relation to the rights of children born out of wedlock or the recognition of polygamy and the right to inherit as guaranteed under native law and customs. By the time Nigeria became politically independent, it had become cognizable to enlightened legal opinion that the repugnancy doctrine advocated by the British was indeed repugnant to our sense of values, propriety and cultural wholesomeness.

Democracy, Nigeria Style
It is no exaggeration to aver that in Nigeria, democracy is very much a work in progress. Having endured nearly 400 years of the slave trade and 100 years of British colonial exploitation and oppression, the Nigerian people had not been properly sensitized into the norms and practices of democratic governance. However, this is not totally unexpected of a people reared in unquestioning obedience to the whims and caprices of the traditional rulers, unelected elders and undemocratic belief systems stamped on the consciousness of the people after centuries of social conditioning and cultural manipulation.

Needless to say, the first few years of the practice of majoritarian democracy in Nigeria were marred by different military junta which had hijacked political power and held the country hostage for decades. Since militarism and democracy are odd bed-fellows, it was hardly surprising that the Nigerian militariat succeeded in arresting the country’s progress towards democracy and sought to entrench undemocratic elements within Nigeria’s political firmament. The most galling bequest of the military dictators was Decree No 24 of 1999 which it sought to pass off as the constitution of the country after its departure from the country’s political stage.

Regrettably, rather than jettisoning that evil and unbecoming instrument, the incoming civilian rulers continue to live the lie that Nigeria was operating under an autochthonous fundamental law with fraudulent claims to the effect that it originated and had the consent of the people. The ringing statement by the Patriots that the 1999 Constitution lied against itself is one not to be forgotten in a hurry. Nigerians bought for themselves a pig in poke and for as long as we refuse to consign the despicable instrument to limbo for that long would the legitimacy of the country’s highest law be a rude joke and an unacceptable assault on international best practices.

Nevertheless, the lack of a universally agreed definition of democracy may avail our unrepentant defenders of the status quo in justifying the 1999 Constitution. Yet, truth be told, the illegitimacy of the Constitution puts a big question mark on nearly everything that has happened in this country since the people in agbada replaced those wearing starched khaki uniforms. To borrow the words of Mr Justice Jackson of the US Supreme Court in describing pornography, although we might be unable to define democracy, we all know it when we see it.

Accordingly, the essential ingredients of democracy include supremacy of the law, separation of powers, checks and balances, sanctity of the ballot-box, presumption of innocence, freedom of expression, due process of law, independence of the judiciary, etc. In other words, democracy presupposes the finer elements of western liberal democracy.

So, can we really be said to be practicing democracy? Many have averred that what we actually have is a civilian dispensation while democracy would seem to be a never-never land. Except and only to the extent that we cannot practice democracy without democrats, Nigeria still has a long way to go in order to arrive at the Eldorado of democracy.

The Nature of the Nigerian Legal Order
Undoubtedly, Nigerian law and legal order are yet to shed their British complexion. As I had observed a few years ago the “anglo-Saxons,” to borrow Ayandele’s colorful expression, are in no hurry to do away with their colonial antecedents, white wigs, black gowns, quaint mannerisms, strange forms of address and all in a bid to retain the alien character and appearance of lawyers of a bygone colonial era. Unlike some erstwhile colonial territories such as the United States and Canada which had admitted novelty and reforms into their legal systems, Nigeria has stubbornly refused to alter the modalities of both its law and practice.

Yet, the efficacy of a legal order stems very much from the extent to which it has captured and reflects the mores, values and idiosyncracy of its addressees. So much we have learnt from advocates of the Historical School and lately from Thomas Friedman’s concept of legal culture. As underscored by Omoniyi Adewoye, Nigeria’s leading legal historian, the imposed British colonial law bore all the imprint of alien domination and oppression.

It is for this reason that any discussion of the Nigerian legal order must begin with a recognition of its colonial heritage and continued dependency on an alien power. Whether we speak of the legal system or legal order, we must realize that legalism bereft of a nexus with the thought processes and attitudinal chemistry of the people is of little relevance in coming to grips with the existential reality of a peripheral, dependent capitalist enclave such as ours.

If indeed we go by the dictum of a government of laws and not one of men as propounded by Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v.Madison (1803), it would be straining logic too far to aver that Nigeria’s legal order was indeed one founded on law and due process. In a situation of an illegitimate Constitution, rancorous law-making, conflicting judicial orders, widespread disrespect for law and order, rising incidence of self-help, inability or refusal by the law-enforcement agencies to perform their duties and lack of trust and confidence by sections of the population in the state apparatus, it becomes highly problematic to envisage fidelity to law as an instrument of peace, order and good government.

In view of the foregoing, it would seem apposite to pose the question as to the potential of the legal order to shape and aid the evolution of a true democracy in Nigeria. Law being an instrument of social change, it would simply be futile to contemplate the inter-relationship of democracy and the legal order, more so in a setting as fractious as Nigeria.

The beginning of wisdom about contemporary Nigeria is that we are not yet a democracy but merely a civilian arrangement. Accordingly, we need to embark on a transition from civil rule to a full-fledged democratic society in order to take full advantage of government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is only by so doing that we can conceive an effective role for the legal order. To the extent that a legal order presupposes concomitants of democracy, to that extent would it be illusory to attempt to move Nigeria to another level through the instrumentality of the legal order. The coterminous nature of both democracy and the legal order is such that one cannot be pursued without the other. Legalism unaccompanied by the benefits and allure of democratic values is apt to result in outright fascism and blind adherence to the wiles of dictators and undemocratic forces. Therefore, a way has to be found to convince Nigerians on the desideratum of democracy as an integral part of the quest for an effective legal order.

Pursuant to this, lawyers must be ready, willing and able to be at the vanguard of the struggle for a better society. We should always remember that V. I. Lenin, Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela were lawyers who stood on the barricade of the liberation struggle of their people. Our lawyers should, therefore, make a conscious choice to depart from self-seeking, self-serving and self-conceited motives in favour of ideals that would ensure life more abundant for the preponderant majority of our people. Only thus can the profession attract greater understanding, relevance and empathy among compatriots.

The legal profession is today at a cross-roads. With a multiplicity of problems afflicting law and the legal order, lawyers must rise up to the occasion by bringing to bear their special and unique knowledge of the workings of the legal system on ways and means of restoring hope, trust and confidence among the people generally. Since popular acceptability appears to be the touchstone of democracy and good governance, no effort should be spared toward being harnessed in steering the legal order along the path of consolidating democratic values, otherwise, yearnings for a better society might end up being really little more than a pie in the sky.

Concluding Remarks
We are living in a world earnestly yearning for a better society. How this is to be achieved presents some difficulty. To many, democracy presents a most viable mechanism for attaining this objective. The situation in Nigeria is complicated somewhat by the deformed state of its democracy as well as the overarching colonial coloration of its legal order.
The task of shedding its colonial heritage is no less daunting than that of the legal system as focus for widening the democratic impetus in Nigeria’s trajectory to a higher level of social organization. Since democracy is irretrievably intertwined with a functioning legal order, it stands to reason that creating a viable society is a laudable goal worth pursuing.
It remains for me to express sincere appreciation to the Lagos Branch of the NBA for enabling me to share with you my thoughts on democracy and the legal order and to wish you all a successful annual law week.


Renowned professor of jurisprudence and international law, Professor Akin Oyebode will today deliver the keynote address at the eagerly awaited Opening Ceremony of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Law Week.

The Law Week kicked off last Friday with a jumat service for Muslim faithful as well as a Thanksgiving Service at Good News Baptist Church, Surulere, Lagos, setting the stage for today’s opening ceremony. This year’s Law Week has as its theme, “Democracy and Legal Order: Shaping the Future.”

Speaking at a press conference to herald the Law Week, the Chairman of the Law Week Committee, Mr. Wale Adesokan (SAN) said the programme would explore the need for deliberate action in utilising Nigeria’s democracy and the law in shaping the future that Nigerians desire. He added that the event would emphasize the consequences of inaction in the face of ills plaguing the polity.

His words: “This year’s Lagos Law Week comes against the backdrop of Nigeria’s multifaceted crisis and the resulting mounting pressure that threatens the future of the country. By leading this discourse, NBA Lagos Branch seeks to chart a new course for the redemption of the nation’s legal system and the freedom that citizens should enjoy in a democratic nation.

“It is a chance to listen, contribute, learn, unlearn and relearn, as we all work towards building a working system and a free world, in the most relaxing and comfortable environments.”

Speaking on the eight plenary sessions slated for the Law Week, the Branch Chairman, Mr. Ikechukwu Uwanna said: “To set the tone for the most important event of our legal year is the unveiling of our plenary sessions. Spread out over a period of two days, March 21 and 22, our plenary sessions will explore the role of good governance and legal order in curbing societal ills that threaten to define and shape the future of our country, explore the role of the private sector in ensuring accountability in governance and contributing to good governance, touch on the adequacy of the current fiscal arrangement within Nigeria and examine impediments to the actualisation of Nigeria’s full potential as an investment destination.

“It would also examine the introduction of more practical aspects to the study of Law in tertiary institutions, discuss the alternative business rescue options introduced by the 2020 CAMA and the challenges being faced in implementing them; explore the leveraging of technology to increase efficiency in case scheduling and management; and most importantly, the role of the judiciary, legislature, and the executive in the forthcoming 2023 elections.”

The plenary session will feature NBA Trustee, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba and the Chief Executive of Financial Derivatives, Mr. Bismarck Rewane. They will speak on the “Role of the Private Sector in National Development.”

CITY LAWYER gathered that Goodwill Messages will be received from the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Sanwo-Olu; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, and the NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata.

Scheduled to run from March 18 to 25, 2022 the Law Week will also witness visits to Ikoyi Correctional Centre and the Macy Children Centre, Lagos where donations would be made to the facilities. A Health Walk is also billed as part of the Law Week.

Before his retirement, Professor Oyebode served as an erudite Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

In 1967, he left Nigeria to study International Law at Kiev State University, Ukraine where he secured an LLB and an LLM with the highest distinction. He returned to Nigeria in 1973 to begin his career as a Graduate Assistant Lecturer at UNILAG. 1n 1975, he obtained another LLM from Harvard Law School, Cambridge.

He subsequently enrolled at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Canada, the largest and leading law school in Canada, earning a Doctor of Jurisprudence (D.Jur.) in 1988, having specialised on the Law of Treaties.

In 1991, Professor Oyebode was appointed Professor of Law and founding Dean of the Faculty of Law of then Ondo State University, a position he held until 1997 when he returned to the University of Lagos.

Two years later, he was invited back to be pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ado-Ekiti. Upon completion of his term in 2004, he once again returned to the University of Lagos, where he occupied the Chair of International Law and Jurisprudence. It was from there that he retired with an unblemished record.

Oyebode has 7 books and over 200 learned papers to his credit. He has been an assessor for professorial appointments and external examiner to many universities at home and abroad. He is a member of numerous notable organisations.

To join our Telegram platform, please click here

Copyright 2022 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to Join us on Facebook at and on TWITTER at To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.


Pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN will today deliver the Keynote Address at the Opening Ceremony of the NBA Ibadan Branch Annual Law Week.

According to a press statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Gadzama, a chartered arbitrator, will speak to the theme of the Law Week, “Unity in diversity and sustainable security in Nigeria: Any role for the law?”

Said the statement: “As part of the activities scheduled for the Law Week, the opening ceremony would commence tomorrow Tuesday, 7th December, 2021. To this end, a son of the soil in person of Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN, has been invited to deliver a keynote address at the event.

“The devout bar man and pioneer Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN has maintained good ties with the people of Ibadan both as lawyer and golfer. Gadzama, who also happens to be a patron of the Ibadan Golf Club, occasionally enjoys the sport with friends and colleagues at the Tiger Golf Club and IITA Golf Club in Ibadan. He has and continues to show his undying loyalty and support to the Ibadan Bar. Little wonder, one of his Partners and Head of Lagos Office, Oluniyi Adediji, Esq., ACTI, hails from Ibadan, Oyo State.”

Meanwhile, the leading litigator was one of the special guests at the 2021 Annual Dinner of the Abuja Branch of Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) hosted in honour of Justice Peter Oyinkenimiemi Affen of the Court of Appeal.

In his goodwill message, Gadzama, a veteran Clasfonite, lauded the leadership of Abuja Branch of CLASFON for the dinner and the “continual succor” given to the Bar in the place of prayer and admonition. He urged the association to “continue in the spirit of commitment and fellowship to pray for the betterment of the legal profession in Nigeria.”

Gadzama emphasized the importance of the independence of the Judiciary and extolled the “dexterity and unwavering sincerity and transparency of Hon. Justice P. O. Affen.” He urged the jurist “to keep up with the good work.”

In a similar vein, Gadzama who is also the Chairman of the Mentorship Committee of the Body of Benchers (BOB), recently hosted NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata and other guests at his residence after his 60th Birthday Thanksgiving service held at the Church of the Brethren Nigeria (EYN).

The event witnessed presentation of birthday gifts to Gadzama by the guests who extolled his good deeds and leadership qualities. These included gifts from the University of Maiduguri Alumni Association led by Mrs. Afiniki Hananiya, the Legal team of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) led by Prof. Joash Amopitan SAN, as well as the staff of J-K Gadzama LLP led by Mohammed Monguno, a former Attorney General of Borno State.

Aside from Akpata, other dignitaries at the barbecue/lunch were Oba A. O. Aladelusi Odundun II, the Deji of Akure and his wife; Alfred Dimas Gadzama, the Garkuwa of Uba Emirates; K. T. Turaki SAN, former federal Minister; Alhaji Garba Gajam, former Nigerian Ambassador to State of Kuwait and Kingdom of Bahrain; Chief Emeka Ngige SAN, Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, and Mr. Mela Nunghe SAN and his wife.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to Join us on Facebook at and on TWITTER at To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.


The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN will deliver the Keynote Address at the reunion and 30th anniversary of the Nigerian Law School Class of 1991.

A press release made available to CITY LAWYER by Mrs. Joyce Oduah, General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Chairlady of the Publicity and Mobilisation Sub-committee, noted that Osinbajo “has confirmed his attendance at the Class of 91 Reunion,” adding that the event will hold on December 10, 2021 at the Nigerian Airforce Mess, Kado District, Abuja.

Below is the full text of the statement.


The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has confirmed his attendance at the Class of 91 Reunion. Prof Osinbajo is to deliver the Keynote Address and declare the 30th Anniversary celebration open.

The event details are as follows;

Date: 10th of December, 2021
Time: 10 am
Venue: Nigerian Airforce Mess, Kado District, Abuja

Joyce Oduah, FICMC
Chairlady Publicity and Mobilisation Subcommittee.

Copyright 2020 CITY LAWYER. Please send emails to Join us on Facebook at and on TWITTER at To ADVERTISE in CITY LAWYER, please email or call 08138380083. All materials available on this Website are protected by copyright, trade mark and other proprietary and intellectual property laws. You may not use any of our intellectual property rights without our express written consent or attribution to However, you are permitted to print or save to your individual PC, tablet or storage extracts from this Website for your own personal non-commercial use.