Thursday, 18 August 2016

CELEBRATING THE CAREER SUCCESS STORY OF CHIEF GODWIN ODUMU OBLA THE FIRST IDOMA SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA.


By Comr Abel Oche Ankeli
BRIEF BACKGROUND.
He was born in Kaduna about 50 years ago to Warrant Officer Joseph Obla(late) and Mrs. Mami Obla.
He had part of his primary education in Kaduna state and secondary school in St. Francis College Otukpo, Benue State.



He did his high school at the Federal School of Arts and Science Sokoto, and left there for the University of Lagos for his higher education.
While at the university, he was an active student unionist and became secretary general of the student union at the University of Lagos in 1981.
Chief Obla graduated with excellent result at university of lagos in 1983, went to the Law School and finished in 1984.
He did his youth service in 84/85 in Abuja.
On completion of his NYSC, he started a law firm of Obla & Co.

POLITICAL CAREER.

In 1999, Obla took a leave of absence and went into politics and was elected twice as a local government chairman in Otukpo, appointed once as a transition chairman; and was also a commissioner in the executive council of Benue State under George Akume.
In 2007, he returned to law practice.

HIS PROFESSIONAL CAREER.

Godwin Obla is a consummate legal practitioner, having acquired extensive experience spanning a period of three decades.

He is a prominent member of the Nigerian Bar Association where he currently serves as a member of the Committee on Anti corruption as well as Chairman of the Section on Legal Practice subcommittee on Cross-border Crimes and Financial Malpractices and other Related Matters.

He is a front line member of the International Bar Association, having actively participated in several international seminars and workshops. He has also attended several high-level training workshops and seminars at reputable institutions, amongst them Harvard Law school, Boston USA
John F Kennedy school of Government Harvard University Boston USA; University of Singapore, to name a few.

He has been involved in various complex Arbitral Proceedings in Nigeria both as an Arbitrator and Counsel.

He has severally acted as Special Prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria in white collar crimes and related offences including the Central Bank intervention prosecutions, the Halliburton Bribery case, the Siemens Bribery scandal, the Panalpina Bribery case amongst others.

Godwin Obla was conferred with the Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London in 1997. He has also been an Honorary member in the Association of Fellows and Legal Scholars at the Centre for International Legal Studies, Salzburg, Austria since 1998.

Chief Godwin Obla was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (the equivalent of the British “Queens Counsel") in 2013.

He has several publications to his credit including;

-Practical problems in Arbitration under Nigerian Law, Newsletter of committee “D” of the International Bar Association viol.2. No.2 (Arbitration & ADR) September 1997.
-Arbitration Involving State Parties in Nigeria Published in Comparative Law Yearbook of International Business by Kluwer Law and International Centre for International Legal Studies Austria,1998.
-Arbitration as a tool for Dispute Resolution In Nigeria, How relevant today?”- Delivered at the 2011 public lecture of the faculty law, University of Ibadan, June 2011.
-Networking the criminal justice system, prosecution and detection challenges presented at the 2012 round table on networking the criminal justice system organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 2012

HIS LIFE EXPERIENCE.

"Whatever level I attained today, I didn’t get it on a platter of gold. It was a long walk to career fulfillment. I remember when I started out as a young lawyer in Kano, it wasn’t easy. I had no money and had only two suits which were fading. I had no car and had to trek from my house to my office pretending as if I was strolling. I didn’t have the money to pay for taxi. I refused to live above my means and to be realistic with my expectations. I was focused and God was with me."

"My greatest moment was when I withdrew from politics and returned back to the practice of law. It was a big challenge because they are two different worlds. I have been in politics. I had no money and nothing. When you go into politics with a lot of money you come back with nothing. A lot of people don’t know this. When I left politics in 2007 and returned to my law practice I couldn’t afford to pay my rent. I was able to pay for my office for one year. I have been chairman of a local government and later Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Benue State. I had nothing eight years ago and I thank God today."

"Life has taught me humility. One needs to be humble. One needs to fear God and respect money minimally. Money cannot give you happiness. Hard work pays and above all, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I also believe in the saying that Godliness with contentment is great gain."

HIS CONTRIBUTIONS.

"I would score myself eight and leave the remaining for some things achievable but not yet done. There are lots of things that I wish I can do especially for my people. I go home and see households that are not well equipped, the roads are bad, and people don’t have good pipes borne water. I wish I was in a position to be able to use my resources to do that. I do that in some other ways, without playing to the gallery. I have provided electricity to seven villages. I wish I could do more."

God bless us

-Comr Abel Oche Ankeli



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