Our Team

Afolabi Elebiju

Founding Principal

Email : a.elebiju@lelawlegal.com
Mobile Number : +234 703 244 8845

July 08, 2020

Afolabi Elebiju, a versatile commercial lawyer and multidisciplinary business consultant with cutting edge transaction structuring expertise - widely acknowledged as one of Nigeria’s leading tax and regulatory lawyers - is the founding Principal of LeLaw Barristers & Solicitors.

Afolabi has over two and a half decades’ of premium corporate/commercial law and business consulting experience, in leading Nigerian and multinational professional services firms: Olaniwun Ajayi LP (Associate, 1995 – 1997), Andersen/KPMG Professional Services (Snr. Consultant – Snr. Manager, 1998 – 2006) and Templars (Partner, 2007 – 2013). He has variously worked as team member, manager or leader of engagement teams for global market leaders, blue chip Nigerian corporates and HNIs, the public sector and international agencies on diverse transactions, including big ticket, market defining, cross-border deals.

His advisory and transaction implementation support work has covered amongst others: Nigerian entry, operating/growth and exit strategies for foreign investors, mergers and acquisitions, privatisation engagements, sectoral legal tax regulatory reviews, corporate governance compliance and ethics reviews, regulatory policy advocacy, legal regulatory compliance process improvement consultancy, dispute resolution strategy, etc.

Prior to LeLaw, he was General Counsel (2013 – 2014), and later, Consultant/Senior Advisor (2014- 2015, a part-time role) at African Capital Alliance (ACA), Nigeria’s foremost private equity (PE) firm focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly the Gulf of Guinea. As leader of ACA’s legal function, he was heavily involved in the whole gamut of legal regulatory support services and collaboration with stakeholders across the PE value chain in furtherance of the firm’s business objectives.

As external counsel, his legal practice experience also includes civil and commercial litigation at trial and appellate courts, investment disputes arbitration and tax litigation. He was the tax and regulatory team leader at Templars where he also supported the Corporate & Commercial, Finance, Energy & Projects and Dispute Resolution Groups. He was the tax champion in the international counsel team that obtained an arbitral award in favour of Erha PSC co-venturers against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in October 2011, which amounted (with interest) to US$2.67 billion as at August/September 2019: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-exxon-mobil-shell- nigeria-idUSKCN1VP2VW.

His 8 year experience at Andersen/KPMG’s Tax & Regulatory Services practice included offshore secondment to Dundas & Wilson (Scottish member firm of defunct Andersen Legal) working with their Infrastructure Group for diverse clients. Over his career, he was involved with several strategy papers, making legal regulatory input to business plans for clients and employers. In 2004, he was charged with leading KPMG’s Executive Selection and Training (EST) Group, during which he led several training and recruitment engagements for blue chip clients and championed a six-month transformation plan that culminated in the recruitment of substantive Group Head.

Some highlights of Afolabi’s historic transaction experience (up till August 2020) can be accessed here.

He obtained his two Second Class Upper Honours degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University (B.A. (Ed.) (1987); LLB (1994)), and was called to the Nigerian Bar in March 1995 after obtaining Second Class Upper Honours at the Bar Finals. He also attended University of Lagos (LLM Corporate/Commercial Law, 1997); and Harvard Law School (LLM International Finance, 2007). Prior to commencing his legal education and legal career, Afolabi was a Secondary School teacher in Bauchi and Ondo States between 1987 and 1990.

Afolabi’s book, ‘Promoting Country Competitiveness Through Sectoral Reforms: Case Study of Nigerian Telecommunications Sector, 1999 – 2006’, (MentorHouse 2014) is dedicated to “those who took a bet on Nigeria, and despite all, are staying true to their bets.” Free download of Chapter 1 of the book is available here. He has authored or co-authored several publications on diverse areas of commercial law (secured credit, securities regulation, sectoral reforms, fiscal issues, commercial/tax litigation, etc) in prestigious journals, including Nigerian chapters to leading international treatises. He has also published several book reviews of leading legal texts in international journals.

Some of Afolabi’s early seminal articles include ‘Implications of Judicial Attitudes to Interpretation of Consent Provisions of the Land Use Act for Secured Credit Transactions’ [1997] 12 ICCLR 43; ‘The Investment & Securities Act of 1999: An Overview of Anti-Trust Considerations in the Regulation of Mergers in Nigeria, [2001] 6 JIFM 272; [2001] 9 ICCLR 230; (2001) 22 BLR 116’; ‘Investment Incentives for Electricity Business in Nigeria’, JERL 2004, 22(1), 94-100 (co-authored); The Legal and Regulatory Framework for the Nigerian Power Sector, (OGEL) 1 2004 (co-authored); and ‘Rethinking Deductibility of Interest on Affiliate Loans by Upstream Companies Under Nigeria’s Petroleum Profits Tax Act (PPTA)’ (co- co- authored) 1 TLJN (2012), pp. 15 -32.

Between 2009 and 2015, he wrote the widely read and authoritative ‘Taxspectives by Afolabi Elebiju’ column for ThisDay Lawyer, the legal section of leading Nigerian newspaper, THISDAY. He also provides leadership and support for nurturing LeLaw’s Associates as emerging commercial law influential commentators through their own publications. Many of Afolabi’s recent articles are showcased on the LeLaw Thought Leadership page https://lelawlegal.com/thought-leadership, whilst a comprehensive listing of Afolabi’s publications (from 1995 – August 2020) is available here. His forthcoming project is a book on Nigeria’s new upstream fiscal landscape once the Petroleum Industry Bill is enacted into law.

An accomplished presenter, Afolabi regularly speaks or acts as resource person/pannelist at professional and academic fora locally and abroad; he has also attended several professional development programmes across four continents. Many of Afolabi’s tax regulatory related presentations are reference materials, such as those on Nigerian Free Trade Zone regime and Transfer Pricing.

Afolabi has many professional affiliations, including fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (FCTI). He was one time Vice-Dean (now a member) of the Indirect Tax Faculty of the CITN, where he supports the Faculty’s discourse on topical tax issues. He co-edited, and was also a chapter contributor to the well acclaimed practitioners’ treatise, ‘Indirect Taxes in Nigeria’ (CITN, 2014). He is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and International Bar Association (IBA), Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN), International Fiscal Association (IFA) and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb).

Afolabi has been advising Boards on various legal regulatory business strategy matters, and has provided as well as lately been supervising the provision of company secretarial services to reputable multinationals and leading corporates. He is currently a director of two leading players in the insurance industry, since 2014 and 2016 respectively. He also consults for several Nigerian law firms on their business strategy as well as on complex fiscal issues, under LeLaw’s Legal Strategy Support Services.

Afolabi’s recognition over the years has included being cited with (two colleagues at Templars, where he was the Tax Partner) by Legal 500, 2010 edition as ‘spectacular in their mastery of the law and legal advice’ and that Templars “...is highly recommended for tax work. Clients rate the firm as ‘one of the best’ ”. He was identified as a top Nigerian corporate law, tax and regulatory practitioner by Who’s Who Legal 2012, thus: “…Templars’ leading tax lawyer Afolabi Elebiju is recommended for his ‘extensive consulting skills’ and the ‘high-level’ advice he provides for both Nigerian and international clients.” Who’s Who Legal Corporate Tax 2020 rankings affirmed that “Afolabi Elebiju is widely acknowledged as one of Nigeria’s top tax lawyers, well known for his extensive knowledge of the gamut of domestic tax regulations.”

Afolabi was a onetime competitive swimmer (age grade and collegiate), and loves to read strategy books/biographies of historical figures, listens to Christian music, watches soccer and loves counseling and travelling. Reflective of his passion for counselling and mentoring, Afolabi wrote two free manuals, ‘Yes You Can: Ten Steps To Scaling JAMB (UTME) At First Attempt’ and ‘The Pursuit of Excellence: Maximising Your University Experience’. These motivational cum study guides for Youths and Teens can be accessed and downloaded here and here respectively.