Posted on July 8, 2020 in Publications


Good evening Ladies and Gents!

It’s an honor convening today’s expository session

I am BAMIDELE Temidayo Samuel

We hope you enjoy as you ride with us!✨🤗

If you’re available to learn and Understand the basics

Know you’re not alone.

Ladies and gentlemen, please let us all every other messages till I make an open invitation for questions. This way, we can avoid distractions as we hear from our guest.

Without much ado, I would like to introduce our guest: Wola Joseph

She is the pioneer Chief Legal Officer and Company Secretary at Eko Electricity Distribution Plc (EKEDP). She has worked in the energy sector, a leading law firm and a financial institution, among others.

Some of the institutions where she has left an indelible mark include the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, leading Corporate and Commercial law firm Banwo & Ighodalo and Lagoon Home Savings and Loan company.

I’m happy to tell you that she is an alumnus of my alma mata, University of Ibadan.

In the year 2019, Wola was ranked 11th out of the top 50 General Counsels in Nigeria by the LKS Seminars’ Legal Year 2019 Magazine.

Wola Joseph is also a member of various International Professional Organizations which include the American Bar Association, Nigerian Lawyers Association, USA, Harvard, African Law Association, Harvard Women’s Lawyers’ Association and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, UK

Need I say more?

Please welcome Wola Joseph!

Ma’am, a few people have asked what energy law entails. I would like you to shed some light on this.

Also, as a follow up question is ‘Which certifications does a lawyer need to follow this path?’

—Temi Popoola

“Energy Law is a field of law majorly concerned with the policies and legal framework which guides the harnessing of energy and mineral resources such as crude oil, natural gas, coal, tar, sands and renewable energy resources including hydro, tidal, geothermal fuel, wood, solar, wind, biomass etc for commercial and economic benefits.

It also covers all aspects connected with government paticipation, regulation, licensing and taxation of operations in the energy space.

However, in the Nigerian context, especially from academic and legal practice perspectives, Energy Law coers areas such as oil, gas, power and mining. These areas are knitted both directly and indirectly.

For example we have very strong ties between gas and power, especially because most of the power generation stations in Nigeria are fired by gas.

The power sector constitutes one of, if not the major demand center for natural gas and this relationship has led to the concenption of a distinct focus area commonly referred to as “Gas to Power””

“Follow-up question: There is currently no central certification for Energy Law practice in Nigeria as obtainable in other areas of law such as tax, labour, employment, company secretarial services, etc, and this is understandable because of the broad nature of this field of law. However, there are different trainings and certificates issued by some firms and institutions on various aspects of energy law. In addition, a good way to develop in-depth knowledge of Energy Law is to undertake a specialized master’s degree in this field”

—Wola Joseph

Thank you. Speaking about the basics of energy law, could you please run us through the process of a typical power transaction and the role that a lawyer usually plays?

Perhaps you could link this to what you do at EKEDC, to narrow down the question.🤩

—Temi Popoola

“The process of a typical power transaction would depend mainly on the nature of the transaction. Is it a power purchase transaction? Is it power distribution transaction? Is it a use of system or use of network transaction? or is it a power generation transaction?

However, as a baseline, most power projects/transactions should be kick-started with a Non-Disclosure agreement and/or a non-binding term sheet.

The core/definitive agreement for the particular transaction will then be fashioned to meet the peculiarities of such transaction.

“It is also important to mention that the operations and activiites in the power section are very regulated. Apart from the agreements executed for power transactions, investors and operators are required to obtain different licences and approvals from the government and regulatory bodies before they can legally commence operations.

Most transactions in the power sector in relation to power generation, transmission, electicity bulk trading and electricity distribution all require obtaining relevant licences from the regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (“NERC”).”

—Wola Joseph

If you’re following;

It’s question time!!!✨

Interesting  Thank you for sharing. I would take a few steps back and ask you, ‘What motivates you as an energy lawyer?’

Also, there are many law students here who want to become like you (energy lawyers). Could you please recommend associations that they could join early?

What motivates me as an energy law? The desire to make a impact. The power section in Nigeria has suffered for so many years. Permit me to throw in some statistics here:

“1) Most countries whose economies are to be reckoned with on the planet generate above 2000 KwH of electricity per person per year (Per capita). This is a low threshold (C minus grade for pwer supply). i.e South Africa and the US in 2018 were about 4,430 KwH per capita and 13, 638 KwH per capita respectively. Nigeria was about 170 KwH per capita (9% of the C minus level). The severity of this shortfall is not news to all of us here. I am sure over 70% of those here are running on generators as we “speak”.

2) As Nigerians know, an economy cannot grow rapidly without considerable growth in electricity supply. It will not happen. Imports will undercut our sales.Diesel costs will erode our profits. Our costs will increase to a point where customers cannot afford our goods.

This is what motivates me as a Power lawyer. The desire to change the narrative. To change the direction.

Regarding the associations to join, I would recommend that the students join the Energy Law club in their respective universities, and/ or the Energy Club. To be a grounded Energy lawyer you need to be comfortable with the technical aspects of energy.

For working lawyers, i would recommend: 1) Lawyers in oil and Gas Network; 2) The Energy, Natural Resources and Environment Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association – Section on Business Law; 3) Association of Internation Petroleum Negotiators.”

—Wola Joseph

Wow! Insightful 

Ladies and gentlemen, please get your questions ready because there would be an opportunity to ask our guest after she responds to this last question: 

Any words of advice for law student and young lawyers?

“I would say they should stay focused. They should have a deep thirst for knowledge. They should quickly identify mentors.

“They shoud Identify role models. Role models are different from mentors. To have good mentors, you have to also be a good mentee. They should seek feedback to help close performance gaps and develop key skills.

They should take advantage of all developmental opportunities thrown at them.”

—Wola Joseph

Thank you, Wola. Your words mean a lot to us.

I know that some people have already found a new role model (or perhaps, mentor) this evening.😁

The floor is now open to participants to ask questions. It would be nice to mention your name before your question.

Question One;

I am Tommy Oladeji.

I have two questions.

1.Why doesn’t there seem to an end to or better still, a palpable improvement to the power problem in Nigeria.

Second, what role do Discos and Gencos play in the power industry?

That’s a difficult question to answer in a forum like this. Please note that this is my personal opinion. Nigeria is currently in a vicious cycle that raises the possibility that we will not have adequate grid supply of electricity for another 30 years. The vicious circle which began since 2006 (14 years ago) runs in the following steps:

1) the electricity section cannot pay full for the gas it receives or for the equipement upgrades it needs to increase efficiency.

2) Investors are not encouraged to invest in the additional capacity needed to increase electricity and gas supply because they aren’t assured of reliable returns on investment

3) the electricity industry becomes less viable because the price of gas is generally based on contracted dollar value while electricity is sold in naira

4) some of the cheapest souces gas in Nigeria are developed for export, leaving the more expensive fields for domestic developement.

5) there is a need for a tariff increase to take the industry to a profitable status but at best, what we are to get is only enough to get us back to square one. Not to make the industry profitable, but to minimize loses.

I can go on . . . but these are some of the critical broader economic issues i would like to lay here.

“Generation companies (Gencos) generate power which pushed to the transmission company. Whilst Distribution Companies (Discos) distribute the power to the end users after stepping down the voltage received from the transmission company to a lower voltage that can be accomodated by our appliances at home.”

—Wola Joseph

Question Two:

Is it possible for a Lawyer to practise all the genres of Energy Law or would you advise specialisation?

“In my opinion it is possible. But it would be difficult to be a master in any one because Energy Law is extremely broad.”

—Wola Joseph

Question Three:

Good evening everyone, I’m Oluwatosin Ogunlana.

Thanks to Diverse Law for the platform, thanks to Temi for moderating this session in a well coordinated manner and to Wola for sharing so much with us from her wealth of knowledge.

On career prospects for lawyers in Energy Law, I am particularly concerned about the future of career prospects considering the introduction of Eligible Customers. Seeing the apparent threat it poses to the business of Distribution Companies (DISCOs) as expressed by different actors in the industry.

From your end Wola do you foresee any negative or positive impact on legal career in the energy industry.

On the negative impact (if any), how would you advise lawyers to reposition themselves to avert any possible negative impact?

On the positive impact, what are the likely opportunities and how would you advise lawyers to take advantage of it?

Thanks to everyone once more.

“You are right that the Eligible Customer’s regulations pose some threat to the business of a the DIscos but I don’t quite understand the correlation to the career propects of lawyers in Energy law.”

—Wola Joseph

Thank you joining today’s session!

We’ve successfully come to the end of the session…

Let’s hear from the Lightbearer of the insight for her concluding words😌

Thanks to everyone that participated in this session.

Many thanks to Wola for creating time for this session . The Diverse Law Board appreciates this ma.

Thanks to the moderator of the session.

God bless you all

—Mary Martins