When you count the legal luminaries transforming Nigeria’s socio-political landscape, Toye Sobande would likely be among your top three. A seasoned scholar, leadership expert and lawyer, Sobande’s journey is one that has likely impacted your life, whether through him or through his mentees.
For those unfamiliar with his growth record, Sobande’s passage into leadership development began since his childhood where he showcased his ambitious zeal and analytical-thinking skills at will, but they morphed fully from his undergraduate study days at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ife, and continued to shine throughout his service year at the annual National Youth Service Corps.
Sobande was made the President, Corps Legal Aid Scheme, which is a Community Service Organisation for Law Graduates under the NYSC programme and he worked alongside the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria providing litigation services and also philanthropy centred on legal matters.
Sharpening his skills in corporate and commercial law, Sobande honed his talents in this field and went on to handle cases involving intellectual property law (including copyright, trademark and patent); civil cases bordering on banking, insolvency, construction and real estate, among a myriad of others.
At this point, the budding legal expert had started nurturing a passion for leadership development and he took his challenges in his pocket and established a leadership school named Charis Leadership School, in OAU, where he taught university students about leadership development principles.
Sobande’s training in the Nigerian Law School, the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom, propelled him for the zeniths he soars today. Bagging a World Trade Specialist designation, the young man went on to acquire an audacious portfolio working with the Citizens Advice Bureau, UK, the British Heart Foundation, among others. However, in his over 18 year-running career, Sobande’s heart has been drawn to developing Africa, especially Nigeria.
Not even his certifications and fellowships in Management Consultancy or his international memberships in Leadership development, or even his current doctoral studentship at Regent University, United States, where he studies strategic leadership, is enough to deter him from his pro-nationalistic ambitions.
Sobande is a man of the people, for the people and from the people. Indeed, he started off from the hearts of Ile-Ife as an Intern at Emmanuel Chambers, Chief Afe Babalola and Co, and even sojourned to the office of the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, in Imo State, before his other stints in several law firms that sharpened him enough to chase his post-graduate degree in Buckingham, United Kingdom.
Sobande has always been a student of life and a staunch promoter of Leadership, Politics, and Governance. The former Student Union front runner and Secretary-General of the Lagos State Polytechnic Student Union, and Assistant National Secretary of the Nigerian Students Association (NANS) representing the South-West Region, always handed several cards of resilience whenever he was dealt a painful card by life. He never gave up on his dreams.
Today, Sobande is a proud founder of Stephens Leadership Consultancy LLC, a boutique consulting firm offering creative insight and solutions to businesses and leaders registered to operate in the United States and Nigeria and he has engaged in several humanitarian projects, especially geared towards sponsoring educational fees of indigent students.
He is a weekly columnist with BusinessDay Newspapers and his column is Dubbed, “The Leadership Factory with Toye Sobande”. Some of his other thought-leadership articles have been featured in other national publications such as Guardian Newspapers, Punch Newspapers, Vanguard Newspapers and Leadership Newspapers, where he has written extensively on the subjects of Leadership Practices and Human Capital Development in Organizations.
He has also been a regular guest on several broadcast outlets such as Silverbird Television, Nigeria Info 99.3 FM, Inspiration 92.3FM, Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1FM, Eko 89.7 FM, Arise News Television to name a few.
From a child of astounding ambitions to a man of purpose, grit and vision, Sobande is one Nigerian championing leadership development and worth celebrating.