Michael Madoghwe, General Counsel with Conoil Producing Limited in Nigeria, chose the University of Dundee in Scotland for his international education. In this conversation with James Mayer, he explains why the university has become the first choice for many African lawyers working in the energy sector.
“The first thing that comes to the mind of Nigerians when talking about Dundee University is the energy programmes of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) – this attracts everybody. I knew I wanted something different and something that is international in outlook and application and Dundee offered that,” says Michael Madoghwe, an alumnus of the University of Dundee, with an LLM in Corporate and Commercial Law.
Michael is an example of a growing number of African law students that choose the University of Dundee for their international legal education. The law school’s unique location, international outlook and commitment to academic rigour, attract students from across Africa.
“It’s the small nature of the city – the closeness of the city centre and the small campus that appeals. I live in Lagos, so I prefer smaller cities where transportation and accommodation aren’t an issue,” he says.
Madoghwe had a vision in mind for his legal education when applying for Dundee – he wanted a school with an international outlook that could help him understand how the European Union works with the ultimate goal of applying similar ideas to the West African sub-region through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“I wanted to know how the European countries all came together to form one economic bloc. Every country in Africa currently operates in a silo in spite of having various regional economic bodies and the African Union in place – Nigeria leads Anglophone West Africa; Francophone countries have an alliance with France and Anglophone countries have an alliance with the United Kingdom. I wanted to know how I could influence the free movement of people and business in West Africa. The modules for the Corporate and Commercial Law LLM at Dundee gave me what I needed to understand this.”
The University also makes additional efforts to ensure international students understand and apply the concepts they learn.
Madoghwe says, “what really inspired me was the teaching – it helps students link topics together and establishes a certain mindset. I remember a time in an international contract law course, we complained that we did not understand a particular topic on ‘forms and precedents’ in the International Contract Law module. To help us, the school arranged for a professor in forms and precedence from Glasgow to come and teach us the material. He came for 2.5 hours just to speak with us.
“That is how far the School of Law goes to ensure that students get value for their money and a proper understanding of what is being taught. The purpose is not just to learn and pass exams but being able to apply what is learnt to real life situations.”
His career options since completing his LLM and returning to Nigeria have been both varied and evolving. His first job was in a big Nigerian bank which helped him understand how a commercial institution expanded and conducted relations with other countries. Madoghwe then moved on to Conoil Producing Limited, a leading indigenous oil company. During his time as the General Counsel there, he worked constantly across borders and international waters and is currently helping the business consider an expansion into Ghana and other West African countries.
While at Conoil, Madoghwe has continued his studies and undertaken a PhD at a Nigerian university and also completed an MBA with Rome Business School. His career journey continues, his next focus is to be a law lecturer, as “Nigeria is in dire need of good lecturers and I intend to take West Africa to where West Africa should be with regards to complete regional economic integration.”
Throughout his time in Nigeria, Dundee has linked Madoghwe with an engaged, global network of professional alumni.
The shared experience at the university, including trips and retreats, helped students to forge lasting connections across borders, professions and cultures.
“We became family and friends, despite where we were from,” says Madoghwe.
“Now, there are hundreds of alumni in the University of Dundee Nigerian Alumni Association with graduates dating back as far as 1971.”
Madoghwe summarises the benefits of a legal education at Dundee simply saying, “The doors are open for you.”
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