Chiedozie Ndubuisi, a Corporate Finance lawyer, hails from Nnewi-South Local Government Area of Anambra state. Ndubuisi obtained his LL.B from University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka and was called to Bar in 2019. He shares his experience in the legal profession with JOHN CHIKEZIE
I am Chiedozie Ndubuisi, a Corporate Finance lawyer. I am from Nnewi-South Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra state.
My formative academic career started in Word of Faith Group of Schools, Abuja (a Secondary School owned by Benson Idahosa) where I graduated as the best student in the 2013 class.
I obtained my law degree from the University of Nigeria (UNN) and graduated as the best student in the 2018 law class, with first class honours. I proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus and obtained a first class degree and was thereafter called to the Nigerian Bar in 2019.
I saw law as a tool for poverty reduction. I was particularly irritated watching international correspondents report on the poverty rate in Africa. Poverty tends to be considered as an economic subject area rather than a legal one despite that a society’s distribution of income and opportunity is the outcome of its legal system.
The need to ensure economic empowerment and provide conducive legal environment for businesses to thrive is why I am a lawyer today.
Area of specialization
I am into Corporate Finance- Capital Markets and Mergers and Acquisition. I currently work in Banwo & Ighodalo, a law firm consistently ranked as a leading Nigerian law firm in the areas of capital markets, securities, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, amongst others.
I work with the team of Mr. Asue Ighodalo, the Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Ayotunde Owoigbe and Azeezah Muse-Sadiq who are leading lawyers in the Nigerian finance sector. Recently, I brought together a group of professionals across different fields to start an NGO,
The Business Clinic, with the aim of providing small businesses with probono services i.e. legal, structuring, tax and accounting advice.
Motivation behind excellent performance
Nigeria has a high unemployment rate. As at today, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is estimated to reach 32.5 percent. This figure is projected to increase further in 2022. I figured that as a fresh graduate with no work experience, the easiest way to stay above the norm would be to have good grades in school.
In addition, I am naturally competitive and didn’t like the idea of anyone being ahead of me.
The Nigerian Justice system has suffered substantial neglect in the past. One of the consequences of such neglect has been the pervasiveness and prevalence of corruption in the justice system.
Allegations of corruption within the Nigerian judiciary have reached alarming proportions in recent years. The intervention of the executive arm in judicial functions is also not helpful as this has eroded public confidence in the justice system. The poor infrastructures and delay in justice dispensation affects both criminal and civil cases.
Business agreements now resort mostly to arbitration which sometimes are more expensive than conventional courts. There is need for total reconstruction of the judicial system; need to create specialised courts; etc.
These would not happen in a day but we are beginning to see substantial improvement in some states, especially Lagos state.
Ponzi Schemes in Nigeria
Whilst it is necessary to have investors’ protective laws, the responsibility of avoiding fraudulent schemes is largely on investors themselves.
Most ponzi schemes are characterised by promise of huge return on investment. For example, a 30 to 50 percent guaranteed return per month/annum itself is a red flag. Investors need to avoid schemes that offer unrealistic returns.
The fact that an MOU has been executed by the parties is not a guarantee that money invested will be recovered if things should go south. Most times, at the time of initiating debt recovery proceedings, the proprietors of the scheme are already in a financial mess and the liquidation of their assets (if any) may not meet the outstanding financial obligations.
Investors have in recent times also sought to use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Police to recover investments, in such cases. However, the chances are limited as the courts have maintained that law enforcement agencies shall not be engaged in debt recovery activities except to the extent that it is a criminal matter.
Capital market and economy
Nigerian capital market has been progressive both in reforms and size. The recent demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange evinces the commitment of the regulators to drive innovation in the sector.
Although, the Nigeria capital market has in recent times witnessed some decline in activities due to impact of EndSARS, COVID- 19, insecurity in the country, etc.
The debt in capital market has continued to grow and outperform the equity market owing largely to low interest rate with issuers aiming to tap into the market. Capital market plays important role in emerging markets like Nigeria.
According to the World Bank, an estimated $4.0 trillion in annual investment is required for developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In light of the investment requirement, there is a greater need to develop and strengthen capital markets in order to mobilize commercial financing.
Hence, the role that capital markets have in financing infrastructure development, large enterprises, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and the links with economic growth, cannot be downplayed.
Equity and Enterprise value
I think a good investor need to have a holistic view of the value of a company. Thus, consideration of equity value alone may not present a true picture. One need to consider the financials, the corporate standing, market trends, sector of operation, amongst others.
But it is important to clarify that there is no generally agreed metrics for valuing a company. It is always a combination of several functions.
I hope to become the lawyer (or at least, part of the lawyers/team) that will reposition the Nigerian economy for sustainable growth.
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