AMANDLA! VANGUARD EDITION
Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo Osagie’s Corporate / Mergers & Acquisitions, Advisory and Private Equity teams (2014 – date).
Current Vice-Chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association-Section on Business Law’s Committee on Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Restructurings (2017 – date).
Head of the technical advisory committee that advised the Nigerian Senate on the repeal and re-enactment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the Investments and Securities Act 2007 (2017 – 2018).
My Story, Your Inspiration
I started working at the law firm of Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie straight out of university, and long before I was sure of what I wanted to make of my career. I started as an intern and I am now one of the partners. It has been a long and tasking road (and there were times when I figured that there had to be easier ways to earn a living!) but one of the lessons I learnt with hindsight was that a big part of success can be attributed to staying the course, and giving your best along the way. It is important for young lawyers to make an early decision about whether they wish to practice the law, and if so, I would strongly encourage that they find a good firm where they can learn, and that they stay the course, giving their best all the time.
One of the high-points of my career was when I was asked to chair the technical advisory committee to the 8th Nigerian Senate that reviewed, and drafted bills to repeal and re-enact the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 (“CAMA”) and the Investments and Securities Act 2007. It was, at the time, the most demanding project I had ever supervised. I was humbled to have been entrusted with Nigeria’s 30-year old CAMA, which is the bedrock of company law in Nigeria – after all, there were several older and more experienced lawyers that could have been chosen, but I was chosen. Working with an excellent team, we produced the 2018 CAMA bill which was passed by the 8th National Assembly, and later passed with some amendments by the 9th Senate. I remain hopeful that the bill will be signed into law, thereby catapulting Nigerian company law out of the 80’s and into the 21st century!
I am most grateful for the virtue of staying power. My advice to other women in law is that you can have a successful career and also have a successful personal life. The war between work and life (i.e. work-life balance) did not begin with our generation, and even as far back as biblical times (Proverbs 31) there are records of successful women who were able to straddle both work and personal life demands. We are tougher than we know, and the more we keep pushing and do not give up even when it is very challenging, the more we open doors not only for ourselves but also for the generations of women and girls that are coming up behind us.