Prof Ernest Ojukwu SAN Seamlessly Combines Litigation with Legal Academics and Administration – by Onyebuchi Ememanka


Just like many other Nigerian attorneys, Barr Onyebuchi Ememanka notes in article titled “Ojukwu Will Be A Fantastic NBA President“, that “If the NBA wants a proactive President with the relevant experience and raw passion to deliver on set targets, then Ernest Ojukwu is the man for the job.“. This is because, among other reasons, Prof Ernest Ojukwu SAN seamlessly combines litigation with legal academics and administration.

The article first published on February 2, 2018 on a social media platform reads as follows:

“Later this year, the Nigerian Bar Association, Africa’s largest professional organization will go to the polls to elect a new President.

“Subterranean moves by the key aspirants have started. Horse trading and compromises are on. My money is on Ernest Ojukwu, a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“Ojukwu needs no introduction in the Nigeria legal community. He is an established legal giant who has, like the colossus that he is, bestrode the entire firmament of law in this country for over three decades.

“Ojukwu’s candidature introduces a refreshing difference. He parades an elixir of credentials which keeps him heads and shoulders above the others.

“The NBA has so far elected core practitioners as Presidents. By this I mean, core court room litigators. Ojukwu is all of that and even more.

“Apart from his established pedigree in court room practice, Ojukwu’s sucker punch is that he has seamlessly combined litigation with legal academics. Without any arguments, Ernest Ojukwu is one of the foremost academic lawyers in Nigeria today.

“Appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law, Abia State University at age 35, Ojukwu consolidated on the foundations laid by Professors Osita Eze and Oye Chukwura which has ensured that till date, that Faculty remains one of the best in the country in terms of legal scholarship.

“Ojukwu moved on to the Law School where he served as Deputy Director General and Head of the Augustine Nnamani Campus, Enugu. Those who passed through that campus will be quick to tell you that Ojukwu is an administrator per excellence.

“Ojukwu laid the foundation for Clinical Legal Education in Nigeria which revolutionized the training of lawyers in this country. Ojukwu through his legal education scheme, introduced a key paradigm shift in legal training.

“As the founding President of NULAI, the Nigerian Universities Legal Aid Initiative, Ojukwu brought international development partners like the Open Justice Initiative into strategic partnerships for the improved training of lawyers in Nigeria.

“In terms of contributions to legal scholarship, Ojukwu is a colossus. With several Law textbooks to his credit and an uncountable number of learned articles in International and local law journals, Ojukwu has paid his dues in academic lawyering. A former Chairman of the NBA Academic Lawyers Forum, there are perhaps very few academic lawyers who can match Ojukwu’s pedigree and commitment to the NBA.

“In terms of devotion to the NBA, Ojukwu stands tall. A former Secretary and later Chairman of the Aba branch of the NBA many many years ago, Ojukwu at the time expertly combined his solid law practice at his then Aba law firm, ELEUTHERA CHAMBERS, his job at the Law Faculty of ABSU and the leadership of the Aba NBA. Aba lawyers still recall with deep nostalgia, the Ojukwu days as NBA Chairman.

“Then too, he led a coalition of Branch Chairmen from across the country that waded in and helped resolved the leadership crisis that bedeviled the Association in the aftermath of the Port Harcourt Conference.

“Ojukwu is founder and first Chairman of the Eastern Bar Forum, the umbrella body of lawyers from the Eastern part of this country. The forum has over the years become a strong voice in the affairs of the NBA. He has, for the past two decades, served the Bar dutifully. Ojukwu has chaired several Bar Committees at the national level.

“Ojukwu’s dedication to law is total. His wife is a Judge of the Federal High Court.

“Ojukwu’s wide range of experience, active participation litigation, solid legacies in academic law practice, devotion to the Bar clearly put him in pole position for the job.

“Those who know Ojukwu and his abilities and prowess in networking especially at the International and multi lateral levels will appreciate that with an Ojukwu Presidency, the NBA will have programs with a heavy dose of international content. Ojukwu will forge key and strategic partnerships with top international agencies in the area of law development. This is a fact.

“If the NBA wants a proactive President with the relevant experience and raw passion to deliver on set targets, then Ernest Ojukwu is the man for the job. Without sounding immodest, the other aspirants are good too but none of them can match Ojukwu credential for credential, experience for experience and passion for passion.

“A man who has devoted his entire professional life to the training of young lawyers, who has made significant contributions to the development of our association and who has undoubted capacity to organize and lead should be given the chance to lead an association that defines his very existence.

“Let’s give the NBA something refreshingly different. Let’s give Ojukwu to the NBA.

He hails from Isuikwuato in Abia State.” – Onyebuchi Ememanka wrote.