Integrity and knowledge are critical to attaining professional excellence
Mr. Azubike Okaro Esq. is an experienced Legal practitioner that has acquired vast knowledge from working with diverse clientele and thoroughly prepared to give the best of legal interventions in all areas of human endeavour. The registered member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) spoke on the Focus of a CEO in this interview with Nnamdi Nwokolo.
What informed your choice of career?
AS a matter of fact, I’ve been admitted to study History at the University of Calabar before I dropped mid way to study Law at the University of Lagos. The choice of Law was determined by societal influence and the need to be an accomplished professional. I figured out early that if I study History, I would end up being a Teacher and retire at the age of sixty five whereas in legal practice, you can only retire when you are tired. To the glory of God, twenty five years down the line, I have no regrets whatsoever being in the legal profession as it has formed part of my existence.
Did you entertain any phobia when you wanted to set up?
There was no phobia at all because I was already equipped. To the glory of God, our firm has inbuilt values that cannot be compromised on ethics or values. I always believe that whatever I set my eyes to do that it must definitely succeed. One good point I have is that I always have a positive mental attitude towards anything I engage in. My commitment to excellence and to best practices in the delivery of value added legal services stands us out as the perfectly blended law firm, blending the theory with the practice of law.
Assessment of Legal practice in Nigeria:
Legal practice in Nigeria is being approached strictly like a business. If you stay by the rules which some of us still do, you’ll find out that the fees noted on your briefs is not in any way commensurate with the efforts you’ve put in. If you reject the brief because of the fee, you’ll be surprised that there are a thousand lawyers that will jump at the fee. If you also reject a brief on issues bothering on values, the head of the department will feel insulted. Legal Practice is still very lucrative as it used to be. The truth is that there are many lawyers than the market can adequately absorb. The supply is more than the market demands, so you need to be extremely determined to achieve success.
Factors for a successful legal practice:
To really succeed in legal practice, you must have a deep knowledge about Law as there is no short cut to success in the profession. You equally need to be hardworking as well as have a good measure of integrity to actually be successful in the practice. Meanwhile, some people attribute success to mean being financially prosperous, but I don’t think it portrays the true essence of success. You must have a purpose and a mission. We thrive on such principles as honesty and honour in practice. We have emerged as the most reliable among our contemporaries in the industry as our impact is being felt nationwide. The fundamental basis and foundation of our operations are based on God and good principles. We have introduced a new style of work that essentially entails integrating theory with practice. As we continue to develop relationship both locally and internationally, the firm will definitely succeed.
What are your expectations in the business climate in 2017?
It is quite unfortunate that most organizations are experiencing difficult times due to the economic situation in the country. If we must be sincere to ourselves, the year 2016 can best be described as the worst in the last fifty six years of our independence. The impact of this bad economic situation is that most organizations are closing their operations while others are relocating to neighbouring countries. The drop in our foreign exchange earnings has largely affected our economy. We hope that 2017 will be a better year for businesses in Nigeria. By the grace of God, the oil earnings are improving and consequently, it will result in the improvement of the economy if it sustains.
What can government do differently to stimulate the economy?
There’s a lot government can do differently to stimulate economic growth. Before the introduction of the Treasury Single Account, the banks use this money to trade and make profit which has served as a catalyst for economic growth but when you gather all the money and put into a single account, the effect is that the banks will start retrenching workers as we’ve witnessed in the last quarter of 2016. For example, figures are bandied about of how much have been saved from the TSA, but the overall effect on the economy is not too good. You cannot have so much money saved while your children are hungry. The effect is that the key sectors of the economy are not stable.
As the President of Ogidi Union Nigeria, Lagos Branch, what has been the biggest challenge of leading the organisation? It is important to note that there are a lot of enlightened people in Ogidi, so leading a group of enlightened people will definitely pose a number of serious challenges. A lot of people will want to bring you down because you are not their preferred candidate. Beyond the challenges, we strive to create equal opportunities and service to the people. Be that as it may, it is all about service and I enjoy delivering service to my people.
What is your take on the process that led to the election of a New King for Ogidi town?
Our last traditional ruler, Igwe Amobi IV, died about nineteen years ago and ever since then, we’ve been through different courts to resolve the knotty issue of selecting a new king for the town. At the end of the day, an Anambra High court ruled that the traditional stool of Ogidi is not hereditary. As God will have it, we had a successful election of a president General in 2015 and that put Ogidi on the right track of progress. By the Grace of God, in August 2016, we successfully elected an Igwe which marked a new era in the progress of Ogidi.
Interestingly, 95% of Ogidi people are satisfied with the development and just recently, he was given a certificate of recognition by the government of Anambra state which brings to an end all matters relating to Igweship of Ogidi. I believe he has the capacity to unite all the contending factions. It will interest you to know that before he was given a certificate of recognition, he has made attempts to reach out to everybody and bring them together in the overall interest of the town.
What drives you?
I love what I do, and it inspires me greatly. It is important to state that in other elected areas of practice, the Firm has consistently shown, by performance, that it will not be second rated to any other law firm of whatever pedigree as our Associates/Lawyers are consistently motivated to be on top of the very latest global development in their professed field.