Reach For Gold | Nigeria Marks World IP Day with Public Lectures and Special Awards in Lagos

This year’s edition of World Intellectual property Day has come and gone but it will not be forgotten so soon, even as we remember the theme: Reach for Gold: IP & Sports. Here comes the 2019 April 26 edition which takes an inside look on the world of sports to explore how innovation, creativity, and intellectual property rights encourage, protect and support the development of sports and its enjoyment around the world.

Nigeria was not left out as they observed the WIPO day with public lectures and special awards organized by a non-governmental organization, the Friends of the Creator Artistic Foundation in collaboration with the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), National Films and Videos Censors Board (NFVCB), and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) at SWAN Hall, National Stadium Conference Centre, Lagos.

The event was anchored by the Super Eagles Media Officer and was greatly attended by notable figures shaking the IP and sports system in Nigeria including Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo (Co-founder/Chairman Board of Trustees of Friends of Creator Foundation), Barr. Amaka Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya (Sports Lawyer, Sports Writer and Founder of Little Tigers Youth Academy), Funmi Iyayi (CEO, Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre), Barrister Rockson Igelige (Secretary, Board of Trustees of Friends of Creator Foundation), Senator Iyere Ihenyen (Lead Partner, Infusion Lawyers), Fred Edoreh (Project Coordinator of FCF), Mr. John Ohireime Asein (Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission) represented, Okiemute Ighorodje among others.

Okiemute Ighorodje Performace

Okiemute Ighorodje, Season 9 winner of project fame West Africa, thrilled the audience with a special performance admonishing youths to take it easy.

Welcome address by the Chairman Board of Trustees (FCF), Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo titled “Intellectual Property Rights as the main sponsors of the excitement and thrills of sports”.  

Ogaga said “Intellectual Property is the future of the sport”.

Ogaga made reference to Edward Harris of WIPO’s Communication Division piece titled Intellectual property Powers Sport. According to the piece “an important role in the increasingly global marketplace for creators and artists as well as sports organizations that depend on broadcaster to transmit coverage of their events, engage fans worldwide and attract sponsors. Copyright and related rights underpin the relationship between sports, television and other media.”

Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo giving his welcome address

Ogaga further said “this year’s celebration focuses our attention on the men and women who dazzle us with unforgettable performance and is an opportunity to celebrate sporting heroes in Nigeria.  We shall honour our sporting heroes by giving them special recognition and organizations whose labor and investments promote sport to the thrill we feel today”.

He ended his remark by thanking all attendees and applauded their steadfastness to celebrating sports in Nigeria.

The special lecture paper was presented by the foremost Sports Lawyer, Sports Writer and Founder of Little Tigers Youth Academy, Barr. Amaka Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya titled “Intellectual Property Law and Sports Business in Nigeria”. Beverley spoke deeply on sports business in Nigeria taking trademarks, patents and copyrights as fundamental tools.  


Barr. Amaka Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya

“We have begun to witness the emergence of successful entrepreneurs from alternative sectors such as sports. These new breed of sports entrepreneurs are innovative and problem solvers. They understand their IP Rights and exploit them to gain reward. IP Law will gain prominence in the coming years in developing countries because it is a useful tool for protecting and harnessing the economic value of these novel ideas and innovations.” – Beverley added.

“Nigeria is not taking full advantage of IP rights thereby discouraging innovators especially in sports. We need more private companies to help improve sporting initiatives in Nigeria. We need an enabling environment to stimulate sport law innovations in Nigeria” – Beverley said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre, Funmi Iyayi spoke on “Sports Business and Dispute Resolution”.


Funmi Iyayi speaking on Sports Business and Dispute Resolution

Funmi said the Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre or LACIAC is an independent full service alternative dispute resolution Centre, affiliated with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry which deals on the provision of tailored dispute management solutions, assisting businesses not only in the resolution but in the management of disputes through Mediation, Conciliation and Adjudication.

Various individuals and firms were awarded for promoting sports in Nigeria including:

  • Hon Nduka Irabor – A veteran journalist who stood firm for press freedom in 1985, volunteered with the medical team to evacuate victims of the stampede at the National Stadium Lagos in August 12, 1989. A sport writer, promoter with numerous achievements in selfless service.
  • Evangelist Solomon Ogba – Led the Athletics Federation of Nigeria in 2009, Vice Chairman of Delta State Football Association, Commissioner for sports, first vice president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee among others.
  • Barr. Beverley Agbakoba-Onyejianya – Sports Lawyer, Sports Writer and Founder of Little Tigers Youth Academy and the daughter of frontline Rights Activist and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN). Being a sport lover, Barr. Beverley in Corporate and Commercial Law, Developing Expertise in Regulatory Compliance and Sports Law. She has written several articles on Sports Law and development including “Minors in Football in Nigeria: Safeguarding their Rights and Securing Their Interests”.
  • Segun Odegbami – Contributed in the national football team as well as in sports journalism, sports promotion, sports business and sports education. He produced over 23 goals in his 46 caps for the Green Eagles which he captained to Nigeria first Africa Cup of Nations. He is a sport writer and he founded the television sports magazine programme, Worldwide Sport, Shell Cup, Segun Odegbami International College and Sports Academy.  He was the Chairman, Governing council of the National Institute for sports.
  • Enefiok Udo – Obong – He is the only Nigerian Athlete who has won two Olympic medals, a gold at Sydney 2000, and a bronze at Athens 2004. He is a six time medalist of the National Sports Festival, Winner of the Dele Udoh Prize for sporting Excellence and Captain of Team Nigeria to Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. He was a board member of the Nigerian Olympic Committee and Chairperson of the athlete’s commission. He runs a sports academy while chairing the sports business network Ltd and founded the African Sports Support and Education Trust.
  • Abdulhakeem Uthman Mustapha – He Was The Chairman of the Nigerian Football Federation Electoral Committee in 2010, President of the Confederation of Africa Football Board of Appeal among others. He is presently the president of the Business School Netherlands Alumni Association, Nigeria.
  • Chijioke Okoli – He was the former Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, Lagos Branch.  He is the Principal Partner, Chief Counsel and Head of sports and Entertainment Law Practice group at Delphi Legal Advisory.  He is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Crest Football Foundation.

Organizations awarded are:

Nilayo Sports Management LTD, Multichoice, Aiteo Group,  Channels Television, Bet9ja,  Complete Sports,  Brila FM 88.9, Nigerian Breweries, Access Bank,  Zenith Bank.

The event also featured reaction,question and answer session, goodwill message from the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Remarks and Vote of thanks by Senator Ihenyen.

NLIPW News Reporter, Nathaniel Adebayo, who was present at the event spoke with some of the participants who express their overwhelming happiness on how the event was organized and stressed the fact that they learned something new about IP especially as it relates to sports.

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About Nathaniel Adebayo 319 Articles
Nathaniel is a News Reporting Intern at Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch (NLIPW). He has a passion for writing, capacity building and social media marketing. He is a graduate of Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he graduated with BTECHAGRIC. He is a member of Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) and the National Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ). Nathaniel has served as Editor-in-Chief for a number of magazines and as a contributor to various online repositories. Email: anathaniel@nlipw.com

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