By Stephen Oke, Legal Practitioner

13 March 2018 - 15:03

Stephen Oke

Here’s my story:

On a certain night in November 2014, after I had put together my application for the NLNG-British Council Postgraduate Scholarship 2015, it was with optimism tempered with a tint of scepticism that I launched my application with the click of a mouse. My cautious optimism stemmed from my fear that lack of “connection” would somehow outweigh the merit of my application. As I would soon come to learn, that should have been the least of my worries.

As God would have it, I made the long list out of thousands of applicants. The British Council was nothing but impressive in the transparent and objective manner in which the selection and evaluation processes were administered. There is no describing the elation I felt when along with fourteen other awardees, I got that email inviting me for the scholarship award ceremony in Port Harcourt. 

The time I spent in the United Kingdom was a valuable educational and cultural experience.  The intellectual stimulation of studying at the University of Cambridge and the privilege of interacting in a cultural convergence of people from all parts of the world gave me new perspectives that I will forever be grateful for.  One of such perspectives is that in spite of the commendable infrastructure and other strides of the ‘First World’, not all is perfect after all.  Sure, there were times I had bouts of melancholy about the development gap between the UK and Nigeria (and, even more startling, the rest of Africa). Ironically, however, my time away from Nigeria renewed my patriotism and resolve to contribute my quota towards the nation’s development. I currently do so in my capacity as a legal practitioner.

Since returning to Nigeria, I’ve I had the privilege of practising in Nigeria’s leading commercial law firm, Banwo & Ighodalo., working with some of the most brilliant and forward-thinking mentors and colleagues I’ve ever come across. I advise various proponents, investors and lenders as they navigate the daunting waters of investing in the Nigerian power sector, amongst other things. I look forward to someday contributing my quota as a policy shaper, not just in Nigeria but across the continent. #KnowMoreDoMore

Stephen was a beneficiary of the NLNG scholarship scheme managed by the British Council in Nigeria which supported postgraduate degree study at selected top universities in the UK. Do you want to study at a UK university, college, boarding school or English language centre?