Professor Ernest Maduabuchi Ojukwu. He is called different names, ‘Prof’, ‘Teacher,’ ‘Ernest’, ‘ Father of clinical education in Nigeria and so on.
He began his career in 1985 when he simultaneously joined the services of Abia State University as an assistant lecturer and began to practice in the chambers of Chief G.N. Atulomah. He rose to the position of dean of the faculty of law in Abia state University where he served from 1995-2001. He is the immediate past deputy Director General and head of campus of the Nigerian Law School, Augustine Nnamani Campus, Agbani Enugu. He is the president of the Network of University Legal Aid Institution (NULAI Nigeria) which serves to promote clinical education and reform of legal education in Nigeria.
Prof. Ojukwu is quite radical and competent in every aspect of legal life he is in charge of.
He is an excellent teacher. He has trained thousands of lawyers in Nigeria. He prepared the Nigerian Law School Curriculum which makes the law school student centred instead of teacher centred by ensuring the lectures are participatory and students are divided into groups to help them discuss lectures ahead. He provided that materials be provided for students ahead of time and their schedules be given to them to enable them prepare adequately for lectures.
After introduction of law clinic in Abia state University, in 2012, 300 level students were able to successfully work on releasing 15 pre trial detainees from prison. They were awarded by the chief judge of Abia state. Now, about 30 universities have law clinics. Every year, he organises law clinic competitions where the winner represents Nigeria in international competitions with scholarship to foreign schools.
Professor Ojukwu has published extensively. He is co-author of “Introduction to Civil Procedure”, Editor-in-Chief of the “African Journal of Clinical Legal Education and Access to Justice“, “Abia State University Law Journal” (1995-2000), Nigerian Law and Practice Journal (2006-2013), & Editor-In-Chief “Nigerian Bar Journal” (2002-2004 & 2006-2008). He is also a leading vanguard in pioneering the development of clinical legal education in Nigeria.
He is Principal Co-Author of the following clinical Legal Education books: “Clinical Legal Education: Curriculum Lessons & Materials”,Handbook on Prison Pre-Trial Detainee Law Clinic”, “Manual on Prison Pre-Trial Detainee Law Clinic”, “Impact Assessment of Clinical Legal Education in Nigeria”, “Externship Students Handbook”, and “Externship Handbook for Supervisors”. He is the National Representative of Nigeria in the Brown-Morsten International Client Consultation Competition.
Prof Ojukwu has also been a very active member of the bar, a revolutionary at all times. He was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2014.
7 years at the bar, he presented at a paper at the NBA conference 1991 http://http://www.barristerNG.com/prof-ernest-ojukwus-presentation-at-nba-annual-bar-conference-1991-as-a-young-lawyer/
He was Chairman of NBA Aba Branch 1997 – 1999; Secretary NBA Aba branch 1992-93; Chairman NBA Law Reform Committee 2003 to 2004; Chairman NBA Academic Forum 2006 to 2010 & 2012-2014; Chairman NBA Editorial Committee 2006-2008; Chairman NBA Legal Education Committee 2006-2008; Chairman NBA Strategic Plan Working Group 2012; Project Director NBA Institute of Continuing Legal Education (Set up the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and commenced the MCLE as the Pioneer Director) 2006 to 2010; and 2012- 2014; Alternate Chairman 2003 NBA Annual Conference Planning Committee; Alternate Chairman/Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board Nigerian Bar Journal, October 2002 to 2004; Alternate Chairman NBA Summit on the future of legal education in Nigeria 2006; Member NBA Special National Committee on Abuse of Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers, 1998 to 2000; Member, Joint working committee of the NBA & CLEAN on continuing legal education for practicing members of the legal profession August 1999 to 2000; Sole Member, NBA Standing Sub Committee to investigate complaints against legal practitioners October 1999; Member NBA Legal Education Committee, 2002 to 2004; Member Steering Committee of HURILAWS-NBA National Action Plan for justice sector reform in Nigeria, 2002; Member 2002 NBA Annual Conference Planning Committee; Member NBA Practicing fee, stamp and seal committee, Jan 2003 to 2004; Member NBA Committee on the state of the NBA, March 2005; Member NBA Special Committee on the Review of the Rules of Professional Conduct 2006/07; Member NBA Working Group on the Review of the Legal Practitioners’ Act and Council of Legal Education Act, 2011; and Pioneer Chairman/Founder NBA Eastern Bar Forum (EBF) 2004-2011.
He has also been a member of many other NBA Committees since 1999 and in the various positions he held and committees he served, he has exciting achievements to present.
As Chairman of NBA Law Reform Committee he produced a new Legal Practitioners Act in 2004 under President Wole Olanipekun, SAN.
In 2006, the NBA under President Olisa Agbakoba SAN requested an amendment in place of a completely new Act and Professor Ojukwu submitted an amended Legal Practitioners Act which then was submitted to the National Assembly.
In 2011, the NBA under President JB Daudu SAN set up a new Committee to draft a new Legal Practitioners Act. Professor Ojukwuproduced a new draft for the Committee and that draft is currently pending before the National Assembly today.
In addition to the Legal Practitioners Act, Professor Ojukwu also submitted to the Bar draft bills on Legal Education and Legal Services Commission. This is also presently before the National Assembly.
Professor Ojukwu is currently a member of the recently inaugurated NBA LEGAL PROFESSION REGULATION REVIEW COMMITTEE and the Chairman of its sub-committee- THE FUTURE OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION.
Professor Ojukwu is running for office of NBA president. He has goals set out to achieve in the NBA to make it a blue ribbon association.
He knows what young lawyers need. He is pushing for minimum wage which is yet to be implemented. He argues that people’s children should not be subjected to the harsh treatments meted out by senior lawyers just because the senior lawyers passed through same.
He argues that it is not compulsory for Senior lawyers to employ young lawyers, but if he/she must do so, payment sufficient to provide basic comfortabability should be provided at least. He said that people should not worry about the unemployment lawyers, that there a lot of things to be achieved through them in the NBA. He used the Bar association of other countries as sound examples of how young lawyers are useful in the association.
Recently, he visited Enugu state where a birthday get together was put together in his honor. Questions were raised about how the minimum wage would increase productivity in law firms since young lawyers may not be gingered to work hard enough because they are comfortably receiving good salaries. Questions on pupilage were also raised. He addressed the issues by saying that we are lawyers and we deal with proof, that law firms should have contract of employment that clearly states out the job description employees and the salary expected. On pupilage, he said that there would be standard for a firm to have a pupil if that should come to play.
Also, he is also pushing about incubator programs for fresh graduates that would help and guide them on the way to go immediately after been called to bar and also to educate young lawyers on their roles to play at the bar.
As a detailed man, he is also concerned about changing the face of the NBA website that gives no details where it concerns young lawyers. The young lawyers form seem to be the only interest/connection between the NBA and young lawyers.
and also the need to protect the vulnerable in our society http://http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/05/san-tasks-lawyers-protection-vulnerable-people/
It is believed that the reason most o these propositions have not yet been implemented is because there is no drive and passion for it. Prof Ojukwu has the drive and passion to see these visions through as has done successfully with other projects he set out to do.
Vote Prof Ernest Ojukwu for NBA president.
Culled from http://http://www.barristerng.com/professor-ernest-maduabuchi-ojukwu-san-inspiring-profile-teacher/ and Benjamin Nwosu’s Audio