Legal Luminary Profile: Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, CON

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Chief Christopher Adebayo Ojo, SAN, CON, C.Arb, FICMC, FNIALS

Bayo Ojo is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Born in November 24 1956 in Zaria, Kaduna, Bayo Ojo hails from Ife-Ijumu, Kogi State. He attended Holy Trinity Primary School, Maiduguri from 1961 -66; St. Michael’s Primary School, Kaduna 1966-67; St. Paul’s College (now Kufena College), Zaria from 1968-1972; Titcombe College, Egbe, Kwara State, 1973-74. Thereafter, he proceeded to the University of Lagos where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law in between 1974 – 1977. He was at the Nigeria Law School, Lagos and was called to the Bar in July 1978.

Formation Years

He worked briefly as a civil servant in Ilorin, Kwara State before proceeding to the university. Upon being called to the Bar, he worked as a state counsel with the Ministry of Justice, Enugu as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He then worked at the Ministry of Justice, Kwara State, also as a state counsel for four years. During this period, he obtained a certificate in Legal Drafting from Royal Institute of Public Administration, London in September, 1981. Thereafter, he proceeded to the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, to obtain LLM in September 1982.

Career Part

In March 1983, he opted out of government service to join the firm of Oniyangi & Co as head of chambers. In 1986, he founded the law firm of Bayo Ojo & Co.

He was elected President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) between 2004 – 2005. Subsequently, he was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice under the Olusegun Obasanjo tenure from June 2005 – May 2007.

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He has been in active Commercial law, International Law, Litigation, Mediation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice. He has acted as sole Arbitrator, member of arbitration panels, and as Counsel in numerous domestic and international arbitrations both at the International Chamber of Commerce Paris, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Washington DC, the London Court of International Arbitration and the American Arbitration Association over the last thirty five years involving complex oil and gas, investments, infrastructure, power, mining and commercial ventures. He has also acted as expert witness in international arbitrations including ICSID. He has mediated on several disputes as well.

During his term as Attorney-General, he regularly appeared in court personally to argue cases on behalf of the government. He was noted for his brilliant efforts in decongesting Nigerian prisons by engaging lawyers in private practice to defend various individuals who were being held by the state without trial. He also had a limited measure of success in advocating for an improvement in the welfare of younger lawyers.

Institutional Affiliations And Professional Affiliations/Honours

He was a member of the Council of Legal Education, 1990-91; past Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria branch; National Electoral Tribunal, Delta State, 1991, and past Chairman, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (1994 – 2004).

Ojo was until recently a member of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) Geneva Switzerland, Council member of the Section on Energy and Natural Resources Law of the International Bar Association, a member of the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators, Washington, DC, a member of the Panel of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Hague, Netherlands, Alternate Chairman of UNESCO Appeals Board in Paris, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators London, President of the African Users’ Council of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). He is currently the President of the African Arbitration Association, member of the Committee of Experts on International Trade of the Supreme People’s Court of China and the West African representative of the Foundation for International Commercial Arbitration (SICA/FICA). He is a Chartered Arbitrator, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (FNIALS), Patron of the Nigerian Society of International Law and International Law Association Nigerian Branch.

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He is a recipient of the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), bestowed on him in 2011.

Academic Contributions

He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Nigerian Journal of Arbitration and Mediation (NJAM) and African Journal of Arbitration and Mediation (AJAM). He is the co-author of The Handbook of Arbitration and ADR Practice in Nigeria.

Other Honour(s)

He was given a traditional title as the Bamojin of Ekanland in 1996.

Family

He is married to Hon. Justice Folashade Bayo-Ojo, and they have two children, Babatomiwa and Olubusola.

Hobbies

Reading, playing golf and community work

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