By Innocent Anaba
Mrs. Olubunmi Fayokun is the Chairman Nigerian Bar Association, NBA- Section on Business Law, SBL, Committee on Capital Market. The committee has lined-up programmes for the SBL conference, slated for May 25 to 27 in Lagos. In this interview, she speaks on the conference and some national issues.
Can you give us a peep into your line-up of topics and discourse at the 2014 Annual Business Law Conference?
This year the Capital Market Committee of the NBA Section on Business Law is focusing on the nascent Over-the Counter Market, OTC, in Nigeria, in order to raise awareness about this segment of the Nigerian capital market. The theme for this year’s Capital Market breakout session is “Spotlight on the OTC Market in Nigeria” and we have a line-up of high profile speakers and panelists who will be speaking at the event.
Mr. Bola Onadele, the Managing Director/CEO of FMDQ OTC Plc, will be speaking on the evolution of the FMDQ OTC while Mr. Bola Ajomale, the Managing Director of NASD Plc, will be speaking on how the NASD OTC is filling in certain gaps within the capital market. Papers to be delivered by the speakers will be discussed by a panel of seasoned legal practitioners and industry participants.
We understand that you derive your sub-topic/themes from the general theme of the conference. How do you hope to interpret this at your breakout session this year?
The general theme of this year’s conference is “Exemplary Governance: Enhancing Economic Development in Nigeria” and those who are familiar with the OTC Market will understand that one of its salient characteristics is price transparency. Price transparency is essential for building investor confidence and fostering the growth of the OTC Market.
In the same vein, one of the key elements of exemplary governance is transparency, which leads to increased trust. As it is impossible to achieve economic development without transparency and trust, we are hoping that this will be one of the learning points that participants will take away from the breakout session.
What informed your choice of the selected speakers and panelists?
Our choice of speakers was informed by a desire to hear from individuals who have a thorough understanding of the OTC Market in Nigeria and, thus, are able to educate participants on the workings of a sector which remains rather complex to many. It is truly a privilege to have these speakers participate in our breakout session this year.
Our panelists are Mr. Nnamdi Nwizu, Head of Fixed Income, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tominiyi Owolabi, Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Mr. Kalu Abosi, Partner, SPA Ajibade & Co. and Mrs. Olayemi Anyanechi, Partner, Sefton Fross. In constituting the panel of discussants, we were keen to have the perspective of stakeholders in the sector and, being a lawyers’ event, also thought it important to have the perspective of legal practitioners. Generally, we are keen to ensure that our participants have a balanced view of the topics.
What are the critical highlights and focus of your committee programme and what benefits will this bring directly or indirectly to participants at your breakout session?
One of our mandates as a committee is to enhance capital market practice among Nigerian lawyers. One of the methods of enhancing capital market practice is to highlight, and educate legal practitioners on new developments within the economic landscape, with a view to building capacity and providing opportunities for more diverse legal service offerings.
As the OTC market is a relatively new concept within the Nigerian capital market, we hope that participants at the breakout session will be better educated and embrace the OTC Market by becoming participants in the sector either as investors or through improved and more diverse legal service offerings.
What are your expectations of the 2014 conference?
We expect a large turnout at this year’s conference as the Conference Planning Committee has invested a significant amount of time, effort and resources towards ensuring the success of the conference. It is expected that this, along with the support and goodwill of our sponsors and partners, will result in a very successful 2014 conference.
Do have a word for intending participants at this year’s conference?
Although Nigeria is experiencing very challenging times, we cannot allow these challenges to stop us in our quest for a better future. There are vast commercial opportunities in Nigeria, which we can only gain an insight into and learn about from individuals who are actively involved in the creation of such opportunities. As the NBA SBL annual conference is a convergence point for such individuals, participants will have the privilege of learning directly from these individuals.
The conference also presents excellent networking opportunities. In view of the rich content of the 2014 conference, every participant will have a chance to gain new knowledge and greater insights into various aspects of Nigerian commercial law. Therefore, the conference will provide participants with an opportunity that should not be missed.