The Nigerian Legal Awards (NLA) 2016 will on October 17, honour the country’s second and oldest living female judge, Justice Dulcie Ethel Adunola Oguntoye, for her contributions to the legal profession in Nigeria.
Oguntoye, 93, who renounced her British citizenship in 1960, will be recognised along with Mrs Hairat Balogun, the first female Attorney-General (A-G) of Lagos State and former Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (rtd).
Lere Fashola, the awards convener and CEO of Legal Blitz Ltd, publisher of ESQ Legal Practice magazine, stressed “the significance of the awards in the life of the country, the legal profession and businesses.”
Fashola said: ”As part of this year’s event, ESQ shall be honouring some reputable Nigerians who have made cutting-edge contributions to the legal profession and the country at large.
“The event is simply a bridge between economy and law. The NLA has expanded and with the introduction of the ’40 under 40’ category the awards have opened a novel chapter in the life of the country, especially by organising a unique platform committed to celebrating impactful and value-adding young lawyers.
“It celebrates Nigerian lawyers and lawyers of Nigerian descent who are under the age of 40 and are making significant contributions to the growth of businesses and economy in Nigeria. They represent lawyers who will shape the future of the legal profession.”
Fashola added that NLS 2016 will feature a ‘value-adding and solution-preferring’ discussion with the theme ‘Restructuring vs rebranding: bringing life back to the Nigerian economy’, by legal icons and captains of industry.
The discussion would also explore the legal and regulatory challenges hindering investments and ‘how do we overcome those challenges that are setting us against ourselves?’, he added.
He explained that the sole criterion for selection of award nominees is quality, firstly through an independent evaluation by the magazine’s editorial board and then by a team of external judges.
“Over 1000 nominations were received. This was pruned to 200 and then to 50. You find on the final shortlist, guys from the media, entertainment, in-house counsel, private practice lawyers from multi-national, supra-national and local organisations in Nigeria and beyond,” Fashola said.
Other awardees include former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation Mr Adebayo Ojo, for his contributions to the development of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in Africa; and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president, Mr. Augustine Alegeh, SAN.
Alegeh, Fashola said, was “celebrated by many progressive lawyers in Nigeria for his innovative reforms in the Nigerian Bar Association.”
NLS 2016, he added, would also honour Audu Maikori, the president of record label Chocolate City, who has contributed to the development of entertainment law practice in Nigeria. The media category of the awards will be received by Channels TV, ThisDay and Business Day.