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University of Lagos

The city of Lagos State Nigeria, witnessed the gathering of intellectuals at the 2017 Founders’ Day of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, which held at the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria

Prof. James Otieno-Odek, a Kenya Judge of the Court of Appeal while addressing the participants in Lagos disclosed that Africans may not be able to unlock into their innovative skills and creative potentials unless the ravaging problem of hunger and thirst are solved on the Africa continent.

The Kenya Judge further said that “An hungry man cannot think,” while pointing out that virtually countries in Africa are under listed occupied the least of the ladder in the 2016 Global Innovation Index in which countries like Sweden, United Kingdom, Finland, Switzerland, the United States of America, and Singapore took the lead.

The Kenya Judge, Prof. James Otieno-Odek, who is also the Director of Judicial Training Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, facilitates the theme, “The role of intellectual property in a developing country context: Quest for National Innovation System.”

The Kenya Judge, Prof. James Otieno-Odek argued that for innovation and creativity to thrive in any Africa country, the government of such a country must make a deliberate and genuine effort to encourage and empower their citizens to think outside the box by innovative and creative and a good government must put a legal framework in place to protect and guide such creative and novel works.

The Kenya Judge, Prof. James Otieno-Odek gave a scenario of case study of Japan which gave incentives for its citizens to engage in creative and innovative imagination work and Japan also put in place legal institutions in their country in place to fund innovative, novel creative works.

The Kenya Judge, Prof. James Otieno-Odek further stated that while Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda, Nigeria and Botswana are ranked 114, 98, 93, 90, 84, 83, 80 and 54 accordingly on the 2016 Global Innovation Index, the top spots were taken by Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore.

The Kenya Judge, Prof. James Otieno-Odek in his position that there was a need for African countries to evolve into knowledge-based economies as opposed to putting all their efforts into agriculture.

“Different countries pride themselves differently; for instance, the Swiss, their niche is making precision instruments like watches etc; the Germans pride themselves in the durability of their technology. The niche of the American technology is in making equipment that makes equipment. They make machines that make machines.  Now, we in Africa, where is our technology niche?” Otieno-Odek queried.

The Kenya Judge, Prof. James Otieno-Odek reiterates that it was for this reason that African countries must embark on a quest for national creative and novel effort in solving the continent problems.

The Kenya Judge, Prof. James Otieno-Odek, stated that “We need to put in place an innovation system that can convert our country into a knowledge-based economy. So, we should move from agriculture-based economy, we are no longer competitive there, to knowledge-based economies; that is where countries are and it is only innovation that can push us.”

The event witness high dignitaries, the Nigeria Institutes of Advance Legal Studies (NIALS), Director General, Prof. Adedeji Adekunle, while addressing key issues at the event further disclosed that the annual lecture was a way by which the Nigeria Institutes of Advance Legal Studies (NIALS) evaluates and assesses its dedication and consistency in the legal system and the contribution of the Nigeria Institutes of Advance Legal Studies (NIALS) to the society.

The programme witnessed the present of high personalities, the Director of Metis Capital Partners Ltd., Prof. Isabella Okagbue, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), who was represented by Mr. Sylvester Imahnoebe, Chief Judge of Ogun State, Hon. Justice Olatokunbo Olapade, Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN), Prof. D.A. Guobadia, members of the Nigeria Bar Associations and the general public.

It was further stated that Africa must rise to work out solution to its problem.