In a major milestone, the Nigerian law firm of Perchstone & Graeys, led a delegation of top Nigerian Government functionaries, Nigerian business leaders and some of the country's finest legal minds, for a day conference themed "Securing Energy for Emerging Markets: The Africa-Asia Experience" and networking "business to business" sessions with their Indian counterparts at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) Federation House, New Delhi, India on June 7, 2013. The partnership between Perchstone & Graeys and FICCI, which culminated in this groundbreaking event, could hardly have come at a better time as India recently overtook the United States of America to become the biggest purchaser of Nigeria's oil. Regardless of this development, enormous opportunities abound for commercial parties from both two countries in the immediate future; particularly in the area of energy cooperation between the two countries whose combined population is approximately 1.5 billion.
Dr. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, welcomed the Nigerian contingent and spoke on behalf of the 250, 000 Indian members of FICCI, noting that in view of the place of India and Nigeria in the world economy, the Indo-African alliance over the course of 85 years of the its existence, this conference was a culmination of the partnership between the two nations in deepening their economic activities.
Mr. Osaro Eghobamien, SAN, Managing Partner, Perchstone & Graeys, stated that the Firm had been bringing together the business community, policy makers and legal community in Nigeria through its Annual Law Series; with this being the first to be held outside Nigeria. He noted that free flow of trade between both countries could be enhanced by a good legal framework and in view of the many similarities between Nigeria and India in terms of common colonial heritage, judicial system, ethnic diversity, adversities, population, and even the emerging threat of terrorism, India's innovations are worthy of emulation by Nigeria. He concluded that as India's hydrocarbon needs cannot continue to be met by the Middle East alone, the focus would now naturally turn to Nigeria, which would herald the dawn of a new era for both countries.
The day's deliberations commenced with the address of the Nigerian Hon. Minister for National Planning; Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, and formal presentation of Nigeria's economic blueprint by his representative; the Director of Macroeconomic Analysis, Dr. Babatunde Lawal, to Dr. Singh. The former Nigerian Minister of Power, and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Geometric Power Limited, Professor Barth Nnaji; also a speaker at the event, emphasized the need for regional integration as part of the solution to Nigeria's electricity deficit, adding that addressing electricity generation without addressing the other processes in the value chain had proved to be insufficient in the past and would continue to be insufficient into the future. Other speakers at the event included Amb. Talmiz Ahmad, Energy Consultant IOT Infrastructure and Energy Services Limited, former Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Mr. Ajay Kumar, Head, Africa Business Development, ONGC Videsh; Dr. David Ige, Group Executive Director, Gas & Power, NNPC; Mr. Narendra Taneja, Co-Chairman, FICCI Hydro-carbons Committee and President, World Energy Policy Summit; Mr. Austin Avuru; Managing Director/CEO Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited, Dr Dere Awosika, former Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Power and Mr. Saurabh Bhasin, Partner, Trilegal. In closing the event His Excellency, the Nigerian High Commissioner to India; Amb. Ndubuisi V. Amaku, representing the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Gbenga Ashiru, praised the uniqueness of the conference, thanked the organizers for their collaborative effort and charged the assembled Indian business community: "If you have not yet come to Nigeria, then you have not yet started doing business!"
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