For his consistency and courage in illuminating constitutional law in Nigeria and for his strong advocacy of good, constitutional governance; for co-founding Ohaneze Ndigbo, a platform meant to articulate the interest of the group in the Nigerian polity, Professor Ben Nwabueze, is The AUTHORITY Icon.
He is the first academic Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Under the power of his legal mind, the often contrived fog over the nation’s constitutional law assumed new clarity. For Africa, he leveraged academia. For Ndigbo, he represents a strong advocate for its cause. Alongside Akanu Ibiam, M.I. Okpara, K.O. Mbadiwe, Chief Ugochukwu, P.N. Okigbo and Udoji, he co-founded Ohaneze Ndigbo, in 1976. He served as the body’s Secretary-General between 1978 and 2004, in which capacity he transformed it into a formidable, highly regarded non-partisan Pan Igbo pressure group.
Meet Professor Ben Nwabueze. He was born on December 22, 1932, in Atani, Ogbaru Local Government Area, of Anambra State. Young Nwabueze attended the CMS Central School Atani, from 1938 to 1945 and subsequently, C.M.S Central School, Onitsha (formerly, African College) from 1947 to 1950. He later attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London from 1956 to 1961 and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1961 to 1962. From 1962 to 1965, he was Senior Lecturer at Holborn College of Law, London, and Senior Lecturer, University of Nigeria Nsukka, between 1967 and 1970. In 1971, he was Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Zambia and Director, Law Practice Institute, Zambia, from 1973to 1975.
Much of his Academic pursuits abroad were made possible by scholarship awarded to him for his academic excellence. He earned his Doctor of Laws (LL.D) at the University of London in 1978, based on his three outstanding books Constitutionalism, Presidentialism, and Judicialism. This remarkable achievement made him enter the record books as the second (since the death of Dr. T.O. Elias), the only Nigerian and African holder of a higher doctorate degree in Law by published works.
He is also the first academic lawyer to be made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1978, strictly on the basis of his published works. He was member of Senate of the Universities of Lagos, Daressalaam, Nairobi, Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland between 1971 and 1978. He was appointed the University Assessor for Academic Appointments, Universities of Ghana, Lagos, Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and Jos between 1978 and 1979.
He also had a stint in the banking industry. He was the company secretary/legal adviser, United Bank for Africa Limited, 1976-1980; executive director, United Bank for Africa Ltd., 1980-1986; chairman, Oriental Bank, 1986-1988, and chairman, First Finance and Trust Company Ltd.
In 1982, he became director, SCOA (Nigeria) Ltd. He was a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee for Zambia, 1973; Constitutional Adviser, Government of Kenya, 1992; Constitution Committee for Nigeria, 1986 and the
Constitution Drafting Committee for Nigeria.
A former Minister of Education, Nwabueze has authored of over 30 books and treatises. These include The Machinery of Justice in Nigeria; Constitutional Law of the Nigerian Republic; Nigerian Land Law and Constitutionalism in the Emergent States. Others are Presidentialism in Commonwealth Africa, Judicialism in Commonwealth Africa; The Presidential Constitution of Nigeria; A Constitutional History of Nigeria; Federalism in Nigeria under the Presidential Constitution; and Nigeria’s Second Experiment in constitutional Democracy in Africa in Five Volumes. He has written over 200 articles in academic journals and more than 100 keynotes at local and international Conferences.
He was appointed to Professorial Chairs in the following Universities; Zambia, 1970 to 75; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1974; University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975-76; Anambra State University of Technology; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka 1989-1983 (visiting).