As the elections to the offices of next Executives of the NBA Lagos, Branch draw near, lawyerwaka.com met with one of the candidates for the Office of the Legal Adviser, Harry Ukaejiofor, Esq. who gave an insight to his person and his plans when he gets elected.
LW: Who is Harry Ukaejiofor, Esq.?
HU: Harry Ukaejiofor is a legal practitioner, a member of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association and is married with children.
LW: What Schools did you attend?
HU: I grew up in Ilorin, Kwara State. I attended Biodun Nursery and Primary School (now Alade Nursery and Primary School) for my nursery/primary school education. Secondary School was spent in three different schools. Firstly, I attended Government Day Secondary School, Ilorin, from JSS1 to JSS3. Thereafter, I attended Cherubim & Seraphim College. I eventually left C & S College for Demonstration Secondary School, Eziagu, Anambra State, and that was where I concluded my secondary school education. I sat for JAMB and gained admission into Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. I attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus in 2006.
LW: What languages do you speak apart from English?
HU: Smiles. I tried to learn Hausa during my NYSC days in Kaduna, learnt very little. But I speak Yoruba and Igbo languages.
LW: When were you called to the Bar and have you been in active legal practice since then?
HU: I was called to the Bar in 2007. I started law practice with the law firm of Ugo Udoji & Co. in Kaduna State. I was subsequently employed at the law firm of Ajumogobia & Okeke in 2008 and worked there as a litigation lawyer for almost 9 years. I am presently the team lead litigation and dispute resolution at Ukiri Lijadu, a full-service commercial law firm.
LW: Can you give us a brief insight into your experience so far and do you belong to any Professional Associations or have any professional appointments?
HU: By the grace of God, I have appeared as both Claimant and Defence counsel in several commercial cases of varying value, parties and nature, sometimes instructed alongside Senior Counsel other occasions on my own. I have advised and appeared as advocate for representatives of foreign governments, certain Federal Government Agencies, airlines, Power companies, Oil and Gas companies, FMCG companies, investors, and clients of various kinds. I specialize in general commercial dispute resolution, litigation and arbitration. My areas of expertise include Intellectual Property, Banking, Insurance & Finance, Aviation, Labour & Employments. I have also been privileged to advise on international trade, international arbitration, Oil & Gas and product liability.
I am a Notary Public for Nigeria. I am also an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK (Nigeria Branch). I am an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association, and member of several Committees of the Section on Business Law.
LW: How Long have you been a member of the Lagos Branch and how active have you been?
HU: I became a member of the Lagos Branch in 2009 and have been in good standing financially and otherwise since then. I have also strived to attend most Branch meetings since that time. I attend other events of the Branch including law weeks, dinners and other events. I was an active member of the Branch’s Law Week Planning Committee 2008.
LW: When did you become interested in participating in the affairs of the NBA?
HU: Well I cannot say for sure, however during my youth service days, I was a branch member and attended the events of the Kaduna Branch of the NBA. Subsequently, when I joined the Lagos Branch in 2009 and I have participated in Branch activities since then and even voted in most branch elections since the election that brought in Mr. Chijioke Okoli SAN as Branch Chairman. I contributed in my little way to the election of several past and some serving members of the Branch Executive Committee since that time. Last 2 years I decided to run for the office of the Legal Adviser but elected to step aside for the current and pioneer Legal Adviser upon consulting with several colleagues. It is that same aspiration that has brought me to join in the present elections wherein I am running with other persons for the same office of Legal Adviser.
LW: What is your Manifesto for the Branch?
HU: The role of the Legal Adviser is quite limited by the Constitution. However, I solemnly propose to do the following:
1. Pay prompt attention to all legal matters referred to me in my capacity as the legal adviser of the Branch.
2. Encourage participation of the Branch members in carrying out the functions of the office of the legal adviser by creating channels through which members may communicate their respective views on legal matters affecting the Branch.
3. Take steps to monitor judicial decisions and legal developments that affect the Association or branch and advice accordingly to ensure that the Branch is always on the right side of the law in all its dealings.
4. Render prompt and well-researched legal advice whenever required.
5. Provide effective representation of the Branch and protecting its interests in all Courts, Tribunals, Judicial Inquiries and such other proceedings as may be required of me and ensure diligent prosecution of such cases.
6. Work together with the members of the Executive Committee to deliver the promises contained in this manifesto and perform all other duties as may be assigned to me by the Chairman of the Branch, the Executive Committee or members in General Meeting.
I believe with the kind support of our members; I would join the incoming executive committee to do my best in taking the Premier Branch to lofty heights. Mr. Alex Mouka, a former Chairman of the Branch once said that participation in branch activities is one of the means of bar activism; I see this aspiration of mine is an attempt at bar activism and an avenue to contribute my bit to the advancement of the Branch. I also seek to use this opportunity of serving the Branch in a more active capacity, to learn the details of the inner workings of our great association, the NBA and to familiarize myself with all the distinguished members of our dear Branch.