Being the Welcome Address by His Excellency Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, at the 2021 Annual Conference and Gala Night of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Themed “Future Perfect: Securing Africa’s Ascent on The Global ADR Stage” Held at Jogor Event Centre, Ibadan on Thursday, November 4, 2021
Because of my background in business, I have always been a great fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). In a country like ours, where legal battles are often long and drawn out, business people are interested in settling issues out of court.
The ADR is a tidier way to resolve matters. It is in the best interest of all concerned to find alternative yet legal ways of speeding up the process of dispute resolution. So, I can happily identify with the theme of this event, “Future Perfect: Securing Africa’s Ascent On The Global ADR Stage.”
Let me commend the organisers of this event, especially Chief J. Akingbola Akinola, C.Arb, Chairman, Chartered Institute Of Arbitrators Nigeria Branch, for bringing this event to Ibadan. We are always happy to welcome visitors here. We hope you enjoy your stay with us and take advantage of this conference to see a little more of our city.
I read your welcome address, and I am assured that this will indeed be a rich conference. The lineup of panels, sessions and conversations show that Nigeria is indeed ready to take its rightful place in the international Alternative Dispute Resolution stage. Of course, there is a continuous need to inject new thoughts and improve the process of dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation here.
I look forward to a time where people will think of arbitration first before heading to the courts. We already know that our judicial system is overburdened. The innovative use of the ADR process can reduce the stress on our courts. So that, it is primarily criminal cases that they will adjudicate.
So, I am pleased to read about the collaborative efforts between the judiciary and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. If there is anything our administration can do to make this collaboration more effective in Oyo State, we will be happy to help.
For this reason, I am particularly excited about the session on how to strengthen the arbitral process in Africa. It is great to know that Africa has the technical expertise and skill-set to guarantee well-conducted proceedings. So being able to address the issues surrounding the lack of confidence in the arbitration system is paramount. As Africa becomes more closely knit through trade, conflicts will surely arise.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) comes to mind. From a businessman’s point of view, an ADR mechanism that everyone has confidence in will go a long way. When people know they can quickly go through a dispute resolution process and reach a mutually acceptable resolution, they are more likely to do business together.
In fact, just last week, during the Oyo State Agribusiness Summit, the point was made that one of the reasons that African countries do not trade with each other as much as they should is legal issues around trade agreements. Can the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators come up with alternative ways of resolving these issues? These are the types of solution-driven innovative thinking that will make Africa thrive economically.
So let me use this opportunity to challenge the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators to think about issues that affect us here at home. You will agree with me that there are definitely gaps in the dispute resolution process that need to be filled. These issues include the high cost of alternative dispute resolution processes as well as the fact that cases dealt with through ADR may still end up in court. It is time to develop home-grown solutions to these problems. And I am confident with the calibre of people in this room that you will be able to get this done.
So let me wish you fruitful deliberations at this conference. At the end of the sessions, I believe that you would be closer to securing Africa’s ascent on the global ADR stage.
Thank you, and God bless you.