Facts about the new NBA President, Olumide Akpata

Facts about the new NBA President, Olumide Akpata

Friday, July 31, 2020 5:04 pm

Olumide Akpata

Mr Olumide Akpata is now the new President Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He won the electronic voting which held between 11pm on Wednesday and 11pm on Thursday.

Chief Tawo Tawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the Chairman of the Electoral Committee of the (ECNBA), declared winner. Akpata scored 9,891 votes; Dr Babatunde Ajibade (SAN), 4,328 and Mr Dele Adesina (SAN) 3,982 votes.

The electoral body credited 29,636 lawyers, only 18,256 succeeded in participating.

The Man Olumide Akpata

Akpata was born on 7 October 1972, and had his early education in Warri, Delta State. He thereafter attended King’s College, Lagos from where he proceeded to study Law at the University of Benin (UNIBEN). He graduated from UNIBEN in 1992, and was called to the Nigerian Bar on 15 December 1993.

The new NBA President narrated his own life story, as published by thenigerialawyer.com. It was entitled:

I learnt from (one of) the Best

I served in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), in Kano State, and upon the completion of my service year, I joined the ?rm of Dr. Mudiaga Odje & Co. in Warri, Delta State where I was extremely privileged to cut my teeth in legal practice under the tutelage of the late, great sage: Dr. Mudiaga Odje, SAN, OFR, who was one of the most seasoned Litigators of his time. It was under Dr. Mudiaga Odje, SAN, that I learned the rudiments of litigation and courtroom advocacy.

Templars is Born

In 1996, I relocated to Lagos and teamed up with my cousin, Oghogho Akpata, who had just set up the law farm, Templars, the previous year, after honing his skills in the firm of F. O. Akinrele & Co. under the leadership of the legendary Chief Frank Odunayo Akinrele, SAN.

From 1996 till date, I have worked with Oghogho, and our colleagues at Templars, in building and sustaining a world-class, multi-sectoral and full-service law ?rm which is now in the 25th year of its existence and consists of over 100 fee-earners, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

I am currently Senior Partner and Head of the Corporate & Commercial Practice Group of Templars, which comprises the following practice areas: Mergers & Acquisitions; Capital Markets; Corporate Law; Labour & Employment; Immigration; Telecommunications, Media, Entertainment and Technology; and Regulatory Compliance. However, in my over two decades at Templars, I have practised across the diverse areas in which we operate, and I have been privileged to lead or participate in some of the major groundbreaking transactions that have shaped commercial law practice in Nigeria and indeed the Nigerian economy.

Some of these include: advising the Nigerian Bureau of Public Enterprises on the restructuring and unbundling of the now defunct state-owned power monopoly, National Electric Power Authority, ultimately resulting in the several successor companies to NEPA and the now largely privatised Nigerian power sector; advising on the acquisition of National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria by a group of Nigerian investors in a US$152 million asset purchase transaction under the privatisation programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria; advising General Electric on the strategic acquisition that heralded the establishment of General Electric’s oil and gas operations in Nigeria; advising American Tower Corporation on its US$1.05 billion acquisition of telecommunication towers and passive infrastructure business from Airtel Networks Limited;
advising Azura Power West Africa Limited and its sponsors on the pioneering development and financing of a circa US$1 billion greenfield 459MW independent power plant in Edo State, Nigeria;
advising Google Inc. on the deployment of Google Street View in Nigeria which is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that promote interactive views along many streets in the world; and
advising Diamond Bank on its merger with Access Bank PLC which resulted in the emergence of Africa’s largest retail bank (by customers) and one of the largest lenders in Nigeria.

In addition to my aforementioned roles at Templars, I have over the years also developed and deployed the requisite skills that are a must-have for the management of people and resources in an organisation with a current head-count of over 150 people and which operates out of different locations in Nigeria. In this regard, I have, at different times, superintended the activities of the Operations, Human Resources and Business Development divisions of Templars.

I am deeply gratified that this model, which we at Templars continue to adopt in our approach to legal practice, has paid off handsomely, resulting in our phenomenal growth from a 4-man law practice in 1995-1996 to a tier one full-service law firm today.

Indeed, my experience at Templars, which essentially encompasses the bulk of my career as a lawyer, has afforded me invaluable insight into, and an in-depth understanding of, all aspects of legal practice in Nigeria.

I am a BAR Man

I began participating in the activities of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), as soon as I joined the law firrm of Dr. Mudiaga Odje & Co., as a member of the NBA Warri Branch – as it then was. Upon relocating to Lagos in 1996, I joined the NBA Lagos Branch.

I became more active in Bar activities upon the creation of the NBA Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) in 2004. I am a foundation member of the NBA-SBL and I worked closely with the pioneer Chairman of the Section, Mr. George Etomi, and his team to operationalise the Section after its inauguration in December 2004 by the then President of the NBA, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN. I was also a member of the Planning Committee which organised the very ?rst NBA-SBL Conference that was held in Abuja in March 2006 and which proved to be a transformational conference that set the NBA-SBL on its current trajectory.

My active participation in the NBA-SBL led to my election, in January 2012, as Secretary of the NBA-SBL Council. I was subsequently elected as Vice-Chairman in August 2014 and then as Chairman in August 2016, after which I handed over to the current Chairman, Seni Adio, SAN, in August 2018 albeit I remain a member of the Council.

My two-year tenure as Chairman of the NBA-SBL was eventful and impactful. In keeping with its objectives of engendering the professional development of Nigerian commercial lawyers and raising the level of business law practice in Nigeria, the NBA-SBL, under my leadership and with the immense support of my colleagues in Council, was able to achieve, among other things, the following:

expanding the frontiers of legal practice by creating several additional subject-matter specific committees that were, and remain, actively focused on new areas of legal practice with each committee organising periodic seminars and other capacity building programmes across the country for members, with facilitators drawn from leading international law firms, Nigerian law firms and corporate organisations;
organising two world-class NBA-SBL Conferences (2017 and 2018) at which attendees had incisive and enriching sessions, knowledge exchange and extensive networking opportunities with lawyers, clients and prospective clients;
organising, in partnership with the International Bar Association, a free training seminar for over 100 young lawyers on the fundamentals of International Legal Business Practice;
setting up SBL Clubs in six universities across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria to expand the horizon of law students and enable them, at a foundational level, to develop appropriate interest in contemporary areas of law practice;
establishing a partnership with the National Assembly and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, with support from the UK Department for International Development (UK DFID), to create the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER) as a platform for the legislature and the private sector to engage, deliberate and take action on a framework for improving the Nigerian business environment. That partnership resulted in a comprehensive review of the institutional,
regulatory, legislative and associated instruments affecting businesses in Nigeria;
collaborating with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council on the ease of doing business in Nigeria which involved the review of extant laws and regulations and the monitoring of the productivity and response time of Ministries, Departments and Agencies including the Corporate Affairs Commission; and
?inaugurating the Corporate Counsel Committee for in-house counsel and setting up a Task Force led by Mr. Ayuli Jemide to determine the scope of legal work that is statutorily prescribed to be the exclusive preserve of Nigerian lawyers and to work out modalities for enforcing such laws.

BARmanship Beyond NBA-SBL…


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