Olu Akpata making a thank-you speech after receiving his own award as the best business lawyer of the year.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) GCON was conspicuously absent in this year’s ESQ Nigerian legal awards which took place at the prestigious Land Mark Event Centre, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, over the weekend. He was billed to be the special guest of honour and an awardee in the Special Award category for 2019.
He was recognised for his invaluable contribution to the development of business law in Nigeria especially through his landmark contribution towards the attainment of the milestone of Ease of Doing Business, the promotion of transparency, ethics and good governance in Africa’s biggest economy.
According to the ESQ Nigerian legal awards committee, Prof. Osinbajo has contributed immensely to the development of law in Nigeria both at the international level as an academic, democrat, legal practitioner, and the Vice President of Nigeria.
His contribution towards reshaping the lives of young Nigerian lawyers, according to the group, was well recognised and the award well packaged and sent to him.
But the Vice President’s absence did not affect the evening negatively as many other awardees and dignitaries turned up in huge numbers to grace the occasion.
Among the personalities who were present at the event were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Edo State, Professor Yinka Omorowe, the chairman of the awards committee, Dr. Olusegun Akin- Olugbade, the World Bank Vice President, Dr Stanley Okoro (ably represented) and a former chairman of the Section on Business Law of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA/SBL), Mr. Olu Akpata who also was awarded the best business lawyer of the year.
Welcoming guests at the event, the convener and chief host of ESQ Nigerian Legal Awards, Mr. Lere Fashola had this to say: ” When we envisioned the idea of an awards ceremony, we did not fully appreciate the gravity of the undertaking. However, through the years and after many different experiences that we have learnt from, we have made considerable progress.
“What we see tonight is a culmination of ten years of consistent and dedicated efforts. Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the Nigerian Legal Awards.
“We stand for excellence, we believe in excellence and we reward excellence. Hence, we considered it imperative to recognise the excellent and important contributions to the legal profession. Tonight, we shall be celebrating the biggest and the best players in the legal profession; the law firms, the leaders and the icons. We also acknowledge that our future is already being shaped by extraordinary young persons. These are the people that will dictate the future prosperity of the legal profession. Tonight, we shall be honouring 40 under 40 lawyers. If there was any decision most herculean for the Judges to reach, it was coming up with the 40 honorees out of the galaxy of the over 100 star finalists. The role of new wigs and younger lawyers in the profession cannot be overlooked. With the best grooming, training and mentorship and the right work ethics, they can aspire and certainly reach for the peak of the profession. It is for this reason that ESQ is building the first professional co-work station for lawyers. The station will be a hub for cutting edge continuing legal education and innovative legal practice.
“Dear distinguished industry leaders and mentors, we acknowledge your towering support and contribution to the profession that we so dearly love. You are our icons and we pay our gratitude for leading the path for us to tread. Distinguished guests, thank you very much for gracing us with your presence. The Awards is nothing without you”.
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