Ace-Legal Luminary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a pan-African legal services group, the Centurion Law Group, NJ Ayuk, says a sweet blend of all the spices of hard work, yield the secret ingredients of success.
He was speaking on the sidelines of an International recognition ranking his multinational law firm among the first 18 law firms actively doing deals and legal work in Africa.
The red-feather added recently by an international business magazine, Financial Afrik, further endorses the law firm among the most credible legal entities in Africa, and on the international stage.
According to NJ Ayuk, managing a solid team is the first step to longstanding success.
He indicated that in the race to success, both the great and not-so great team members matter a lot.
“In this race to do deals and build something unique in Africa, we at Centurion know we are the underdog but certainly we are making progress. At our firm we want the little guys to triumph, but the big guy must be respected. All Davids are good but not all Goliaths are bad. Most of the lawyers at the firm get a surge from seeing upsets, and cheering for the least likely outcome, that they are willing to risk the lesser odds. But perhaps most of all, we’re drawn to the message that giants can be toppled, that with a little luck we, too, can overcome,” he said.
The Centurion CEO went further to state that another road to success is understanding the fields with which you play in.
According to him, understanding the dynamics of the players in the field, would facilitate your achieving success.
“If you are going to get into this ring, please always do your best to garner your street creed. I understand the street. I know the little guy. I also know the big guy and I love them both. You have to take It to the people, you have to be vivid; go out and persuade in person. Facebook and Twitter are no match for face-to-face emotional connections especially in the oil and gas sector and corporate Africa. Leave the office and go where powerful influencers can directly experience your dedication and resolve,” NJ Ayuk elucidated.
He went ahead and added that, “when working in Africa and building a business here, there is a strong need to connect with empathy. Not sympathy. You don’t need to look down on anyone. I see this all the time with white folk showing up (some are really smart but they forget their brains in the airplane) and acting like white knight with their aid package. Who needs that stupid aid, it has destroyed Africa and encourage corruption. Africans from the diaspora sometimes act the same and even worse they can get really arrogant thinking the continent owes them because they have earned some fancy degree from some western institution. Please, you are not the first. Show some respect and work hard and get your ass to the top. Remember you don’t pay taxes or pension in Africa, you pay to some western country so don’t expect aid from Africa just because of your skin colour. You have to add value. You have to create jobs. Forget politics, do business, you have to take risk. You must be in Africa for a reason and not for the season. I believe once the connection is made, the prospect will be open to supporting your conviction. It works for me all the time.”
NJ Ayuk used the opportunity to advice young people to keep their passion in check.
According to him, too much extravagance will derail and make one an under achiever.
“I see this mistake with a lot of young people getting in the game. You must learn how to keep your passion and ego in check. Passion and ego are good, but they must be effective. Too much excess makes you seem unpredictable and self-absorbed, pushing away those who can help you. I fired some at my Centurion and others I don’t want to even see walk into the door of the firm. I always remember I am a lucky country buy who just had a lot of luck and breaks in life, I know I succeed on the support of the good people who surround me. This is like that old-time religion, it can work for me and you,” he elaborated.
Worth noting is the fact that, NJ Ayuk was recognised in 2015 by the Forbes Magazine, as one of the 50 most influential Africans.
His experience includes advising major companies on investment strategies, the establishment of joint ventures and cooperation structures, privatisation, licensing and related tax, OHADA, oil and gas, power, local content, litigation, negotiation, governance and other matters.
He is particularly active in the structuring, negotiation and implementation of petroleum, mining, LNG, and other natural resource projects in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Chad, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, Congo-Brazzaville and other sub-Saharan countries.
His experience has included facilitating and negotiating PSCs, EPSAs, JOAs, service agreements, concessions, oilfield service and drilling contracts.