Moses Oruaze is one of the leading voices in the Nigerian Legal service industry. In this interview with Rebecca Ejifoma, the Chief Executive Officer of TRIAX Solicitors and Goldcoast Developmental Foundation, speaks about his passion and vision to alleviate poverty in the country by providing entrepreneurship
Tell us about TRIAX Solicitors, your law firm that is creating a name for itself, especially in handling major commercial cases in the Niger-Delta
TRIAX Solicitors was founded with the vision to become one of the leading law firms in the country that is focused on niche practice, particularly in commercial law. So far, we have been able to successfully complete high profile projects worth over $100 million for a couple of clients. This we have achieved within our short existence of three years. Also, we have been able to expand our operations from Bayelsa State to Abuja and about to open a new office in Lagos state. We have a network of about 20 staff members for now and still growing.
As a law firm, we are committed to supporting the communities where we do business by widening access to justice, education and finance. We collaborate with clients, NGOs and charities to deliver these community outreaches and pro bono services, with partner-led, client-focused teams.
Our community outreach and pro bono strategy focus on providing the best possible support to our NGO and charity clients, whilst at the same time expanding the capabilities of our people and strengthening relationships, partnership and collaboration. Our initiatives provide all of our people, at all levels, with opportunities to practice and enhance the skills that are key to their development, making them more effective and well-rounded.
One way we measure the impact of this commitment is by setting ourselves an annual target of helping 5,000 people a year. We have a varied programme of community and pro bono activities, which focus on access to justice, access to education and access to finance.
What social responsibility projects have your firm executed or plan to execute?
Over the years, we have partnered nonprofit organisation like the Goldcoast Developmental Foundation to support disadvantaged individuals through our pro-bono services. We also partnered the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA); Bayelsa state chapter to fight violence against the girl child through the #ProtectTheGirlChild challenge. This campaign was in response to the increasing cases of sexual violence on young girls across the country, which we feel that something must be done to address it. We plan to formally launch the #ProtectTheGirldChild campaign, providing legal services as well as financial support to ensure that victims of such violence are protected and given adequate access to justice.
In one of your statements, you mentioned that “when God blesses you financially, do not raise your standard of living, rather raise your standard of giving” what’s your motivation for committing to philanthropy?
Having stared at the face of poverty and refusing to bow throughout my upbringing, I have always felt a deep responsibility to give back to my community. I credit my parents, particularly my Late mother Mrs Goldcoast Dickson for instilling the ethos of philanthropy, particularly my responsibility as a Christian to give and care for the less fortunate in our society. I believe, our role as citizens of this world is to truly support the betterment of our society so that future generations and their offspring grow up to live even better lives and strive for even more than they think is possible today.
Philanthropy is the “new green” in the continent, yet, it seems to be an exclusive preserve of the rich; how do you think more people can be encouraged to commit to philanthropy in order to reduce the rate of poverty?
I truly believe that charity and philanthropy don’t necessarily mean you have to spend money. There are several avenues available to almost everyone in society, on how to give back. I often tell people, consider donating your time, talents and belongings for the greater good. I think once people are aware that these non-financial avenues are equally as important and impactful as donating money –there can be greater collective efforts to helping the less fortunate.
You have been very active recently on social media, how did it happen?
Well, over the years, I have acquired a lot of experience as an entrepreneur; having built a successful law practice, I feel obligated to share my knowledge and experience with other people, especially young people like me, who otherwise will not have the opportunity to learn from a mentor or someone who has experienced business first hand. People reach out to me privately asking for business advice and I have tried to respond to as many as I can, however, with social media, I can reach a lot of people at once. With social media, I can mentor a lot of people at once, while still having time to run my business. I believe social media is a blessing to our generation and any business or career individual who wants to get their message out there must learn to leverage on this tool to reach their target audience.
How do you spend your leisure time?
When I am not working or traveling, I spend my time with my family and listening to local Ijaw music. Because my work takes me out of town severally, I ensure I maximise every moment I have with my kids. I also spend most of my time either volunteering with the Goldcoast Developmental Foundation or the Federal Road Safety Marshall, of which I am a member.
Based on your experience and past mistakes, what is your advice for young entrepreneurs?
I have learned a lot from my mistakes as an entrepreneur and if I am to advise other young entrepreneurs, I would actually have more than five to give. But for the purpose of your questions, the five most critical bits of advice I would like to give are:
There is no silver bullet ever and if someone tells you there is, be very cautious. Have unwavering confidence in yourself and your business. Ensure your product answers people’s core problems or frustration points, the more niche the harder for user penetration. If you cannot explain it in fewer than 20 words, your product is too complicated and asking for help is not wrong or a crime! Go get help and never be scared to find people to help you.