An Illusive, Discreet Mover and Shaker
Barrister NJ Ayuk is my pick this week. At forty he is now being recognized as one of the new generation of wonder boys of our continent and commands the respect of many beyond Africa.
He earned a degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland College Park, a Juris Doctor in Law at the William Mitchell College of law and later an MBA at New York Institute of Technology. He started out by working for a frontline law firm in the US before working with one of the agencies of the United nations. He moved on to a multi-national energy corporation before taking the decision to start out his own law firm.
NJ, as he popularly known, is now the CEO of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African legal and advisory conglomerate with its headquarters in South Africa and offices in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritius. NJ is today recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business and a guru in the mastery of the complexities of the energy sector. It is no wonder that he is the current Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.
To readjust the discourse about the resource curse and the African Continent, NJ has published two books: “Big Barrels “and “Billions at play”. The second book “Billions at Play” launched recently in South Africa at a heavily attended event, has received mazing reviews “Africans are more than capable of making our continent a success,” says NJ in an interview with Pan African Visions to discuss the book. In this book NJ makes the convincing argument that there can be a different narrative to the continents poverty. “Oil only becomes a curse when it is mismanaged, and when extraction is done without proper supervision and regulations, without pragmatic solutions that promise sustainability,” The potential of the extractive industry in Africa is enough to propel Africa as the continent whose time has come.
This confirms the irony presented by the French journalist and writer Antoine GLASER in his book “AFRICA FRANCE when the African Leaders become the masters of the game” GLASER writes in the preface of his book that “ these African Heads, amongst many others maintain a privileged relationship with Paris do find themselves, more often that it is believed, in a dominating position vis-à-vis the French authorities. Rich Africa poor France.”
NJ is forward looking and strongly believes that to succeed one must be at the head of the game. To be ahead of the game, his quest is to ensure that quality service is made available to African Corporations and individuals who have been forced to turn to people who do not necessarily have their best interests at heart. “We need to start looking ahead now so we can successfully meet clients’ needs in the future” says NJ. The speed and the means of communication today has caused the world as we know it to shrink. Sometimes procedures and processes are obsolete even before we get to master them. Centurion is currently expanding into other areas of specialization such sport etc. just to make sure that cutting edge expertise is available to the talented African.
NJ is a devout Pan Africanist, appreciated by Heads of State and Governments in the five regions of the continent and the diaspora.
With the strength of youth on his side, NJ is still soaring, exploring and moving from success to success. His failure is his inability to continue to be discrete. Now his desire to remain a discrete person is roundly betrayed by the very success that has crowned his hard and innovative work. What a paradox! He has however been able so far, to keep the work he does to satisfy his passion as a lawyer under the radar.
NJ is passionate about the alleviation of human suffering, democracy of the pragmatic type and human rights. Many humanitarian causes have benefitted from his largesse. Let us wait and see whether the successful impact in the humanitarian sector can resist the threat of exposure.
So, NJ Ayuk is my profile of the week. An illusive mover and shaker of Africa. There is yet hope for our continent! In his own words, “We are showing that we are not a helpless continent and we don’t want handouts – our future will not be based on aid,”