…urges Nigerian Lawyers to Retool, Domesticate Foreign Anti-Corruption Laws
The 2021 Bar Week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Uyo Branch has been flagged-off in Uyo, with a call on the Akwa Ibom business community to think out of the box and embrace time-tested principles of hard work, diligence, integrity and adaptability, in order to conquer the economic downturns of the moment and position their businesses for long-term global competitiveness.
The immediate past Executive Vice Chairman of ExxonMobil Subsidiary Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Udom Inoyo made this known in his keynote address during the opening ceremony of the 2021 Bar Week, kicked-off by the Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Godwin Abraham.
Mr. Inoyo, who is a member of the Akwa Ibom State Economic Advisory Committee, commended the ongoing transformation cum industrialization drive of Governor Udom Emmanuel-led administration, but charged the Akwa Ibom business community to ensure businesses and industries currently sprouting up in the state do not fail in the nearest future.
“I am appreciative of the ongoing transformation from a predominantly subsistent agro/artisanal state towards a semi-industrial economy with the ambition of becoming industrialised soon. Governor Udom Emmanuel’s focus on infrastructure (including port development), tourism and entertainment (including aviation), agro-allied businesses, information technology, education, health services, and the promotion of Small, Medium Enterprises (SME’s), etc must be appreciated for the significant transformations these would bring to the state.
“I have often wondered if anyone gives a hoot about why we missed the boat in the past. Take the economy for example, do we ask questions about why almost all businesses in our society fail? How many people recall that there was thriving marine transportation between Calabar and Oron in the 1970’s, a distance of about 21 kilometres? Such services are littered all over Europe and most have been operating for decades. What happened to our Qua Steel Company, including the Federal Government Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), the Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company – Oku Iboku, Qua River Hotel – Eket, Biscuit factory and Sunshine Battery in Ikot Ekpene, Quality Ceramics in Itu, Palmil Industries in Abak, Ebughu Fishing Terminal in Mbo, etc? Can you imagine where the state’s economy would be today if all these businesses were thriving?
“For those of you who are keen watchers of the Cable Network News (CNN), I am sure you have come across The 100 Club, celebrating businesses that have survived a century. I enjoy watching this program because it reinforces a commonsense approach to personal and organisational success, irrespective of geographical location or race. These are grounded on hard work, diligence, the ability to change and adapt to contemporary realities, and of course, integrity”.
He told his audience at the event that if current and future businesses and industries in Akwa Ibom State must join the list of global firms still standing hundred years from now, operators of those businesses and industries must always find ways of evolving to beat the changing peculiarities of the spaces they operate in and must remain resolute in upholding the principles of hard work, diligence and integrity, no matter the pressure to do otherwise from a plurality of influences.
Addressing the lawyers on the theme of the 2021 Bar Week “Legal Profession and the Emerging Global Economy”, Mr. Inoyo said, “Make no mistake, the economy of the 21st century has already been defined largely by technological advancement and only those who adapt quickly to this reality will have a place at the table. We need to adjust to the new global trends across all sectors, failing which we would be left behind.”
Udom Inoyo,FCIPM, who is a former National President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) in Nigeria and currently serves as Advisor, Inoyo Toro Foundation, charged lawyers in Nigeria, nay Akwa Ibom State, to begin the process of retooling and reskilling for the opportunities the emerging global economy presents. He encouraged the lawyers to expand their knowledge to embrace learnings which are highly looked-for by a modern economy and cited some of such areas to include contracting, legal consulting, business applications of technical laws, relationship management, etc.
Inoyo, himself a trained lawyer, also enjoined Nigerian lawyers to urgently address a preponderance of corporate governance issues in the country and work towards domesticating useful anti-corruption laws such as the US’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK’s Anti-Bribery Act, as they affect operations of businesses in Nigeria.
He announced his readiness to partner with the Bar in areas such as Capacity Building, synergy for Sustainable Legal Practice, Structured In-Chambers Experience, Opportunities in MDAs, Enrolment in Federal Public Service, as well as contributions towards Judiciary Reforms. In the area of capacity building, for instance, he noted that he had discussed with some colleagues in the legal profession who are interested in rolling out learning opportunities in diverse areas of law and economy such as Project Finance; Concepts of Arbitration in Construction Contracts; The Place of the Judiciary in Infrastructure Development; Energy Regulation; Ethics in Legal Practice; Aviation Law; Arbitration; Establishing and Running a Legal Practice as a Successful and Sustainable Business; Analogue to Digital: The Making of a 21st Century Lawyer in Akwa Ibom State; Opportunities for Lawyers in Sports; Professional Ethics in Legal Practice; Tax Practice: Unveiling the Opportunities, the Challenges and Approach; Advocacy in Legal Practice; as well as Opportunities in the Oil/Gas and Energy Space.
Earlier at the ceremony, the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Uyo Branch, Aniema Etuk, had commended his colleagues for summounting the COVID 19 troubles and appealed to them to brace up for other challenges ahead, in elevating the status of the legal profession.
Barr. Aniema Etuk noted that the choice of the theme of the 2021 Bar Week was inspired by the necessity to better position practitioners of law in the state for the new realities of the emerging global business space.