To aid economic growth, law firms must have good structure and business practices – Osinbajo
The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo has urged lawyers in Nigeria to build lasting institutions that will outlive them, as only through this means, will law firms contribute immensely to economic growth in Nigeria.
Speaking during the formal opening of the 57th of the Nigerian Bar Association, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said that only firms and companies who manage to build enduring institutions are likely to excel and outlive their founders and owners.
He said, “Building lasting institutions take time but it has to be done. If we want our businesses to make a mark in the world, we must as a matter of necessity, put in place structures that compete anywhere in the world.
“As a government, we fully recognise the importance of the private sector in the growth and development of Nigeria. Government can only do so much and spend so much. The bulk of the investments required to create jobs and prosperity is in the hands of the private enterprise.
“So it is clearly in our interest to support and enable the private sector to spend and invest and create jobs that is needed to make an impact on our fast growing population. The more robust our corporations are and the better run they are, the higher the likelihood that they will survive and thrive,” Osinbajo said.
He explained that institution-building encompasses an array of steps and procedures which will include creating and implementing strong corporate governance, taking the business of audit seriously, listing on the capital market and consummating mergers and acquisitions where necessary to combine diverse areas of strength.
The vice president also stated that this development was responsible for the success of several banks and financial institutions today. “Our law firms, software companies, manufacturing companies have an opportunity over the next decade to grow into Global African institutions, depending on how well they are run and how efficiently they are delivering value to customers, clients and to shareholders. They should also adapt to changing times and seasons,” he added.
He noted that the theme of the conference, institution building is an interesting one especially as this stage of our national development.
“One question that is commonly asked in Nigeria is ‘Where are the biggest and the most successful Nigerian Companies that existed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s?’ The answer to that question is not often a pleasing or inspiring one. Much has been said and written about the longevity problem of Nigerian and African businesses and about how they struggle to outlive their founders because amongst other reasons not enough have been invested in transitioning from an owner-founder-centric model to an institutional one.
He recalled that on a visit to Accra, Ghana a few years ago, the then president of the United States, Barack Obama said ‘Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions,’ adding that the statement immediately became one of the highlights of his visit and has been much debated and discussed in the year since then.
Speaking earlier, Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, President, Nigerian Bar Association said that conference not only gives lawyers and legal professionals the opportunity to discuss continuing professional development but also provides lawyers with the forum to discuss topical national issues as well as network, share ideas and experiences.
“In keeping with our goal of courageously moving the Nigerian and indeed the African Bar, upward, we are this year, strategically collaborating with iconic government leaders, major players in the economy, global business pundits as well as leaders in friendly law firms around the globe.
“This edition of the Conference is not only about a ‘Brave New Bar’ intent at helping institution-building in society to ensure Nigeria, and indeed Africa, take advantage of its economies as markets of the future, it is also intended to serve as a premier networking platform for all desirous of doing business in Nigeria and other parts of the continent,” Mahmoud added.
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