12 April 2016
Godwin Omoaka, Partner, graduated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and is a Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). At Templars, he has extensive experience advising in commercial dispute resolution, including the areas of oil and gas litigation, arbitration and conciliation, and shipping/maritime law.
What was it like growing up?
A lot of fun! Coming from a big family of 5 brothers and 5 sisters, there was never a dull moment. Growing up in Kano, we would walk to school together every day. We lived in a big house and my siblings and I were constantly socialising with our cousins and friends.
How did you decide on a career in law?
In secondary school, I originally wanted to be a medical doctor but I couldn’t stand the sight of blood. In all honesty, Mathematics wasn’t one of my strong subjects. One of my teachers suggested moving from sciences to arts. I started excelling once I made the switch and at that point, it finally dawned on me that I wanted to become a lawyer.
What would you say has changed about the landscape of your profession since you started practicing?
There’s a lot of commercialism nowadays, which wasn’t the case when I started practising. Sadly, I’ve noticed a drop in standards, and I think the legal profession has to work on this. There are a number of lawyers who come out of school, set up shop and start practising without having the background or the experience to do so. Personally, I think we need to go back to the era of mandatory pupillage for a few years before you can set out advising clients on your own.
What is the most unique thing about Templars? Anything you would do differently?
The family environment, the relationships and relaxed work atmosphere make Templars a great place to be. Having been at the firm for over 14 years, I have seen the business grow from a major league energy law firm to a broad based practice. This growth has been phenomenal thanks to the drive of the managing partners and the whole team in general.
Definitely our filing system needs to be streamlined!
What are your main interests outside work?
Watching football and formula one, church and spending time indoors with my family.
What might you have done if you hadn’t become a lawyer?
A medical doctor – and I’d have had to figure out a way to get over my blood phobia!
If you had to pick one (contemporary) person who’s had the most profound impact on your life, who would that be?
My boss where I trained – Mr. Sofunde, who played a major role in formulating my early years. He gave me the confidence and belief that I could become the lawyer that I am today.
What personal quality would you say has got you this far?
First and foremost, the grace of God because I don’t believe in luck. I would also say my hard work and ability to apply myself and truly give my best at all times.
What are you most likely to deplore in people? In yourself?
I don’t like dishonest people and I wish I was more sociable.
What are 2 of your proudest achievements – personal and professional?
Definitely the birth of my first child and being made a partner in Templars.
What specific thing would you like to be remembered for – personal and professional?
I often ask myself what the essence of life is. I do a lot of charitable work and help people from very poor communities with their education. My view is that if I can help a few people achieve their goals and positively affect the lives of others in my own little way, then I would have done my job and I would like to be remembered for that. From a professional point of view, I’d like to be remembered as the best dispute lawyer in Nigeria.
Any future aspirations?
This may shock you, however – I’d like to be a farmer. I’ve always loved the idea of living a more peaceful lifestyle, having a country home away from the hustle and bustle of the city and being as close to nature as possible. Although I don’t plan on retiring from practice, I aspire to make this a reality in the next 10 years. I also aim to reach the zenith of my profession by becoming a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the next few years.