Legal Luminary Profile: Prof. Ernest Ojukwu SAN

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Prof. Ernest Maduabuchi Ojukwu SAN

Ernest Ojukwu, Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, popularly known as ‘teacher’ by his numerous admirers is a man who does not like to mince words when it has to do with legal education.

Formation Years

Born 23 September 1960, he hails from Ahaba Imenyi in Isuikwuato Local Government of Abia State in South East Nigeria. He attended the Methodist College Uzuakoli and Government College Umuahia. Thereafter, he proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife where he graduated, receiving the Bachelor of Law Degree in 1983, and was called to the Bar in 1984. In 1987, he obtained his Master’s degree from the same university.

Career Part

He started law practice immediately after he was called to the Bar as Counsel under the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) with the Legal Aid Council, Yola.

Thereafter, he joined the services of Abia State University as an Assistant Lecturer while also practicing law in the chambers of Chief G. N. Atulomah, and later in 1988, as Partner at Eleuthera Chambers, which he co-founded with his friend.

He is presently a partner in Ojukwu, Faotu & Yusuf Lawyers (OFY Lawyers).

Academic leadership

As a lecturer, he rose to the position of Dean of the Faculty of Law in Abia State University where he served from 1995-2001. He continued as a lecturer as Deputy Director-General and Head Nigerian Law School, Augustine Nnamani Campus Agbani, Enugu (2001-2013), Professor of Law Madonna University (2014-2016), Adjunct Professor LLM International Commercial Arbitration Nasarawa State University, External Examiner and Professor of Law at Baze University, External Examiner Kenyatta University Nairobi Kenya, Visiting Scholar, Griffith University Law School Socio-Legal Research Center Brisbane, Australia.
In his over 37 years of lecturing, he taught courses like Nigerian Legal System, Criminal Law, Business Law, Conflict of Laws and Human Rights Law at the LLB; Comparative Criminal Law and Civil Litigation and ADR, Civil Litigation, Fundamental Rights procedure, ADR, Professional Skills, and Ethics.

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Membership of the Bar

He was the Pioneer/Project Director NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2006-2010, and 2012-2014. He drafted the Nigerian Bar Association Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Rules and Guidelines – that drives the mandatory continuing legal education program for the legal profession – and set up the NBA Institute of Continuing Legal education in 2007. He produced the draft- Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners in force today and designed a clinical legal education curriculum for law faculties. Prof. Ojukwu also led the design and implementation of a new curriculum for Nigerian Law School. Beside the Legal Practitioners Act, he also drafted bills on Legal Education and Legal Services Commission.

As a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, he has served in various capacities – Secretary, NBA Aba Branch (1992-1993); Chairman NBA Aba Branch (1997-1999); Sole Member NBA Sub Committee to Investigate Complaints Against Legal Practitioners, 1999; Chairman, NBA Law Reform Committee (2002-2004); Founder, President, NBA Eastern Bar Forum (2004-2011); Chairman, NBA Legal Education Committee (2006-2008); Co-Chair, NBA Editorial Committee (2002-2004); Chairman NBA Editorial Committee–during which ten volumes of the Nigerian Bar Journals were published (2006-2008); Chairman NBA Academic Forum (2003-2004; 2006-2008 & 2012-2014); Co-Chairman, NBA Conference Planning Committee 2003; Alternative Chairman, NBA Summit on the Future of Legal Education in Nigeria, 2006; and Chairman NBA Strategic Plan Working Group 2012. Member,NBA Special Committee (Made up of President Agbakoba SAN, General-Sec Lawal-Raban, SAN, and Prof Ernest Ojukwu SAN) on the Review of Rules of Professional Conduct (2007).

On 22 September 2014, he was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN) the highest title available for legal practitioners in Nigeria.

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Institutional/Professional Affiliations

Member, Nigerian Bar Association; Member Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) Continuing Legal Education Committee 2017; Chairman, NBA Legal Education Committee (2002-2004, 2006-2008)
Chairman, NBA Academic Forum (2006-2010 & 2012-2014); Alternative Chairman, NBA Summit on the Future of Legal Education in Nigeria 2006; Secretary, National Committee on the reform of Legal Education in Nigeria, May 2006 to February 2007; Member Council of Legal Education, 1995-2000; Nigerian Association of Law Teachers (NALT), International Bar Association (IBA), Commonwealth Legal Education Association, President Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI Nigeria)- An Association with the objectives of development of clinical legal education and legal aid and Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE) and a host of many other institutional/professional affiliations, home and abroad.

Academic Contributions

Prof. Ojukwu has authored and co-authored series of books, including-Legal Education in Nigeria: A Chronicle of Reforms and Transformation under Tahir Mamman,  a Contributing Author, to 2 International books on clinical legal education, (1) The Global Clinical Movement- Educating Lawyers for Social justice (Oxford University Press) edited by Frank S. Bloch; and(2) Rethinking Legal Education Under the Civil and Common Law: A Road Map for Constructive Change, (Routledge) edited by Richard Grimes; and a Co-Author–Clinical Legal Education: Curriculum, Lessons and Materials, 2013; Handbook on Prison Pre-trial Detainee Law Clinic, 2012; Manual on Prison Pre-trial Detainee Law Clinic, Abuja, 2012; Street Law: Child Rights Manual.; Impact Assessment of Clinical Legal Education in Nigeria; and Freedom of Information: Handbook for Law clinics, 2015.
He has delivered over 300 papers at conferences and workshops.

Professional Honours

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Aside being conferred a Senior Advocate, he has been awarded the Merit Award by the Nigerian Bar Association Aba branch in 2014 “in recognition of years of selfless dedicated and meritorious service to the bar” and other awards in 1995, 2000, and 2002 within the branch for his contribution to the Bar and legal education.

Other Appointments/Honours

Member Board of Directors, Enyimba F.C. Ltd, (wholly Abia State Government owned) March 1992 to August, 1994;
Chairman, Contracts Review Committee (of 1991-1999) Aba South Local Government, Abia State, July 1999;
Chairman, Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the problems of the College of Education (Technical) Arochukwu, November 1999.

Prof. has also been bestowed with traditional titles and community awards, which are the traditional title of GBAONWA-GBAONWA Agbonelu, by his community, Agbonelu Ahaba Imenyi Isuikwuato LGA Abia State;
UGOMBA Imenyi Kingdom Isuikwuato LGA Abia State;
GOLD MERIT Award for outstanding Contribution to Isuikwuato and humanity by the Isuikwuato Traditional Rulers Council; and
Award of Excellence and Recognition by Agbonelu Autonomous Community, Ahaba Imenyi Isuikwuato LGA Abia State.

Family

Prof. Ojukwu is married to Hon Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court and they have five children.

 

 

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