A man, known for gallantry with an aura that exudes courage and confidence, Chief(Barr) Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla was born on 30th October 1966.
He started his formal education at the St. Andrew Primary School, Ishibori, Ogoja, in 1971. Then, he went to the famous Mary Knoll College, Okuku, Yala, where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1982. Obono-Obla furthered his education at the Federal College of Art and Science, Ogoja, where he studied for A-Levels between 1982 and 1983. He gained admission into the Faculty of Law, the University of Jos, where he studied and obtained the LLB degree in 1989.
Obono-Obla was at the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos, where he obtained a B.L and was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar as Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in June 1991. He recently completed a Master’s Degree in Law (LLM) at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and he is awaiting formal graduation in June this year. Okoi Obono-Obla is a lawyer with thirty-one years of post-call experience and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association.
He cut his teeth as an Associate Counsel in Kanu G. Agabi (now Kanu G. Agabi, SAN) and Associates between 1991 and 1994 in Calabar. Early in his legal practice Obono-Obla joined some of his associates and co-founded Utande, Obono, and Binang legal firm in Calabar from June 1994 to December 2008. He established Obono, Obono, and Associates, Abuja, in December 2008 as Founder/ Principal Counsel/ Partner.
Obono-Obla was counsel to the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) and a member of the legal team that prosecuted the petition filed by the party against the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan as the winner of the 2011 Presidential Election. As a thoroughbred courtroom lawyer, he is standing on the shoulders of two notable legal giants of Cross River extraction as a protégé and mentee; distinguished Senator Kanu Godwin Agabi, SAN, CON and distinguished Senator (Dr) Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, OFR, CON. He had his baptism into the silky-wig and flowing-gown during his Law School attachment at the Ndoma-Egba, Ebri, and Co. legal firm and thereafter began his voyage in private legal practice at the Kanu G. Agabi and Associates.
Chief Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla has always stood as an indefatigable voice for the voiceless, prosecuting and winning landmark cases and traversing courts in the Nigerian Legal System from the lowest to the apex. So many of his cases have been reported in the Nigerian Law Report and other refereed law journals. Obono-Obla has written his name in gold as an accomplished human rights activist, anti-corruption crusader, and pro-democracy advocate.
He has leverage on his legal expertise to restore the dignity and rights of the downtrodden in our society on a pro bono basis. Obono-Obla has equally served as a “guard fly” to successive governments in Nigeria from local, state, and federal levels on issues of accountability and transparency in public service.
For more than two and half decades, Obono-Obla has underscored his dexterity as an avid reader, prolific writer, and researcher with four published books to his credit and numerous articles in Nigerian newspapers. He is a well-sought after commentator and analyst on public affairs by some national television and radio stations. Obono-Obla speaks undiluted truth to power without embellishment, and he is highly self-assertive and unbiased in his prognosis of social issues.
With several awards and fellowships adorning his treasure chest, including Fellow, Nelson Mandela Fellowship; Distinguished Visitor, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, University of Cincinnati, USA; Fellow Law 457, Salzburg Global Seminars, 2008; National Patriot, Government of Post Graduate Students of the University of Calabar among others, Obono-Obla is a monumental voice with a positive impact in shaping our society.
Until August 2019, when some trump-up charges were preferred against him which the courts have quashed, Obono-Obla acquitted himself well with a sterling public service career. At the turn of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, he was appointed Secretary, Financial Impropriety Verification Standing Committee, constituted by the Government of Cross River State to investigate contracts awarded during erstwhile Military Regimes from 1993 to 1999. He was appointed Member of, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the management of African Petroleum Plc from July 2002 to January 2003. Chief Okoi Obono-Obla was a Member of Governing Board, National Park Service, from 2005 to 2007.
Between November 2015 and June 2016, he served as Special Assistant to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. For his dedication and dutiful deliverables, Obono-Obla was elevated in 2016 to Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation. From February 2016 to May 2019, he served as Acting Secretary, Administration of Criminal Justice Act Monitoring Committee.
He was Member, the Drafting Committee for the Harmonized Standing Operating Rules for the Arrest, Detention, and Prosecution of Persons and Vessels in Nigeria’s Maritime Region constituted by the Nigerian Navy; Federal Ministry of Justice; Nigerian Customs Service; Nigerian Ports Authority; NNPC; Nigerian Immigration Service; NIMASA from January 2017 to February 2018. Obono-Obla was appointed Chairman of the Special Presidential Panel for the Recovery of Public Property in July 2017, he served with utmost professionalism maintaining ethical standards and recovering hundreds of billions of naira and dollars for the Federal Government.
In partisan politics, Obono-Obla has served in several high-profile positions and delivered on every responsibility he was saddled with. In 2010, he held the forte as the National Legal Adviser and member of the Board of Trustees of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC). He was the first elected National Deputy Secretary of the CPC at the party’s maiden national convention in January 2011. Obono-Obla was appointed Secretary/Member of the defunct CPC Merger Committee that negotiated the formation of the APC.
He was also appointed the Co-Secretary of the Joint Inter-Party Merger Committee of the legacy parties that negotiated the formation of the APC. He has equally served the party in various positions, including Member, APC Anambra State Election Monitoring Committee in 2014, Chairman, APC Bayelsa State Membership Registration Committee, 2014, among others. Obono-Obla is an astute politician and a statesman whose sacrifices to the formation of the APC should be handsomely rewarded.
Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has built an enviable public service career with a strong political network and cognate experience that he wants to deploy to attract the dividends of democracy to the people of the Cross River Central Senatorial District at the hallowed precincts of the Nigerian Senate from 2023 and beyond. His legacy of service to our people can be seen in the numerous job opportunities he gave to our young people across the state and the various public service and political appointments he influenced for our people during his short spell in government.
Obono-Obla’s life experiences have enabled him to appreciate firsthand the effects of marginalization, exclusion, lack of opportunities, and resultant poverty, suffering, and conflict. But, on the other hand, he has also become acutely aware of the inevitable link between good leadership, education, development, and national prosperity. That laid the foundation for his decision to pursue a career in politics as a veritable vehicle for selfless sterling service in whatever capacity he finds opportunity and fuels his present lofty aspiration to become the Senator representing the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Chief(Barr) Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla is a cultural impresario and custodian of the tradition of our forebears. He wears the cap of Obol Etangala of Ugep Eburutu and holds other traditional titles. He is a lay philosopher and historian with deep connection to his roots. Little wonder that Obono-Obla enjoys mammoth grassroots appeal across the length and breadth of Central Cross River. It is sufficient to say, the Central Senatorial District can only become a sure bet for the APC in the next general elections with Okoi Obono-Obla on the ballot. To every intent, he should be given the right of first refusal to fly the flag of the APC as a Senatorial candidate, a party he built and nurtured in the trenches.
For Obono-Obla, APC is a party he co-founded to restore progressive ideals to our politics and has maintained the irresistible allure and unparalleled commitment to its growth in the state and the entire country. He comes with an acutely eclectic vision to offer service to our people and create the desired impact in parliamentary representation.
Oyama is a member of the Obono-Obla Senatorial Campaign Organization.
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