Guest Columnist

   Prof. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN: A Passion for Writing Law Books, By Mike Awoyinfa

Mike Awoyinfa
Mike Awoyinfa

When an eminent Professor of Corporate Governance tells you he has bought your book, “50 NIGERIA’S BOARDROOM LEADERS—Lessons On Corporate Governance Strategy,” has read it, enjoyed it, and treasures it to the point of keeping it in his private library at home rather than the office library so that it doesn’t get missing, it gives you a sense of exhilaration.

“I have it.  I have read it.  It is very well written.  I have kept it in my library at home.  I didn’t want to lose it.  That is why I kept that book at home.”  Those are the words of Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, Professor of Corporate Governance at the Lagos Business School, a prolific writer of law books, a man I am meeting face-to-face for the first in a virtual interview, a lawyer making his impact in the courtroom, classroom and the boardroom.

Ajogwu is the author of an impressive list of experiential law books namely Commercial Arbitration in Nigeria: Law and Practice (2013), Corporate Governance in Nigeria: Law and Practice (2011), Petroleum Law and Sustainable Development (2014), Oral and Written Advocacy: Law and Practice (2016), Outcomes-based Governance: A Modern Approach to Corporate Governance. (2020).

Around December 2020, his latest book, “The Law & Practice of Private Equity” was presented to the corporate world in a virtual book launch.  I asked him what inspired the book.

“The private equity book I wrote was debriefing experiences garnered over the years in certain transactions,” he explained.  “For a start, private equity is a transactional field of law.  A lot of the book has to do with initial investments done by Capital Alliance, Nigeria’s counsel to them as Novare Equity Partners, the owners of the mall that houses Shoprite and Co.  And sitting on the board of ARM-Harith Infrastructure Fund which is another private equity firm.  So all those experiences are what you find debriefed into the book, The Law & Practice of Equity.”

Private Equity book
Private Equity book

The book has received rave reviews from those who should know.  Derrick Roper, Chief Executive Officer, Novare Equity Partners, Cape Town, South Africa in the foreword wrote that Prof Ajogwu has written his best book so far, “a magnum opus by the Learned Professor in the field of Investment and Financing Sources with an in-depth research an analysis of concepts, legal principles, relevant laws and legislation” he wrote, adding that “The author should be commended for his insightful analysis of the making of Private Equity deals and by providing practical instances of Private Equity deals within and outside Nigeria.  It is indeed a show of hard work and pursuit of excellence in this masterpiece.”

Mr. Yinka Sanni, Regional Chief Executive, West African Region, Stanbic Bank in his opening remarks at the virtual presentation said: “Prof. Ajogwu’s work is so timely, considering the state of global and African economies, following what is arguably the worst public health crisis since 1920s.  The Covid-19 pandemic has had profound economic consequences for Africa…Private Equity plays a critical role as an economic jumpstart of growth in Africa, especially in bridging the gap between self-financing and conventional capital market activity for Africa’s dynamic and growing enterprises,” he explains.  He said he was “optimistic that lessons taught by the book will encourage and embolden Nigeria’s fund managers, especially the pension fund administrators.”

Mr. Emeka Anthony Ogbechie, the Chief Financial Officer, Capital Alliance had this remarks: “What Prof. Ajogwu has done is to codify all the different principles in the practice of private equity into one text, and it is commendable.  In doing a deal, you need to work with lawyers who actually understand the field and who understand what they are doing.  The consequences can be quite dire when working with the wrong legal adviser on a private equity transaction.  So what is clear is that Prof Ajogwu is an expert in the field.”

Describing private equity as dynamic, he advised lawyers to “always stay on top of market development in negotiating and closing deals for their clients.”  He said the book is a must-read for all, including entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, financial experts, policymakers, Attorneys and students.

Mrs. Enase Okonedo, Dean of Lagos Business School was the book reviewer.  Her words: “As someone who taught finance for over two decades at Lagos Business School, and has to speak to students about corporate financing options, the subject of private equity was one that was least understood by the majority of students and one that was greeted with skepticism.  Therefore, when I saw this book that Prof Ajogwu had written, I thought that this will fill the void in terms of deepening, not only the understanding but the practice of Private Equity, especially in Nigeria and emerging markets.”

She continues: “The book presents a well-detailed and practical approach to adopting private equity as a funding option for businesses.  It draws examples from businesses that have benefitted from Private Equity and explains the financial options taken.  It also highlights Private Equity as a significant funding option from startup businesses as well as businesses that can’t afford debt financing arising from the inability to meet the requirements. It also presents a real-life and practical approach to Private Equity investing and deal-making so that the interest of the stakeholders in the deal would be protected and profit returns to investors.  What I find interesting is that the chapters are interrelated.  It is worthy of commendation for its detailed and insightful analysis of deal-making in Private Equity transactions.  The learned author provides a practical step-by-step guide to successful deal-making applying Private Equity, including due diligence which is at the soul of Private Equity transactions.  With this book, there is no way I can bamboozle my students again with jargons and terms that intimidates.”

Prof Fabian Ajogwu, SAN is among the top lawyers featured in my forthcoming book, “COURTROOM AND LAW FIRM STRATEGIES—Senior Advocates of Nigeria Share Their Experiences.”




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