Gbolahan Elias


Professor Gbolahan Elias SAN is a partner at G. Elias. He read law at Magdalen and Merton Colleges, Oxford University. BA and BCL degrees (both with 1st Class Honours) MA and a D.Phil.

Gbolahan Elias was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1981 and the New York Bar in 1990. He has been a Senior Advocate of Nigeria since 2005. He has authored several papers on arbitration, mergers and acquisitions and other matters. He has been the Chairman of the Lagos State Law Reform Commission, visiting Professor at Babcock University and the Chancellor of the Lagos State University.

He has advised on seminal mergers and acquisitions, large and complex foreign currency financings, transformative long-term commercial arrangements, pioneering infrastructure projects, and impactful law reform efforts – all across industries including financial services, energy, telecommunications, consumer products and transport.

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His most significant assignments include:

  • Shell Petroleum Maastapishe FIBR (Court of Appeal litigation on the oil giant’s global group-wide cost-sharing arrangement).
  • A Chinese global operator’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Nigeria’s pioneering deep seaport project.
  • AES Nigeria Barge’s pioneering 120MW IPP refinancing.
  • The Lagos State Red Line “metro rail” project.
  • Sunrise Transmission’s ICC arbitration against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
  • NATCOM’s privatization acquisition of the licences and assets of the Ntel, the old government telecommunications monopoly.
  • The seminal spin-off of UBA Plc non-bank assets.
  • The simultaneous listing in three countries and initial public offering of Ecobank Transnational Incorporation Togo shares.
  • The pioneering offering of residential mortgage-backed securities (for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
  • A N3trn bond offering by AMCON (the largest -ever SEC-registered Naira bond).
  • Private equity financing for the initial Nigerian investors in MTN Nigeria.
  • Nigeria’s pioneering Eurobond for First Bank.
  • Zhongfu’s investment treaty arbitration against the Federal Republic of Nigeria (first ever by a Chinese investor).
  • The tax-driven structuring of the development of Lagos tallest and most iconic luxury residential tower.

Professional Associations

  • Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
  • Member of the Nigerian Bar.
  • Member of the New York Bar.
  • Fellow of the Energy Institute.
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.
  • Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK).

Academic Record and Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA), Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Barrister-at-Law (B.L), Nigerian Law School. General Paper Prize Winner at the Nigerian Law School.
  • Bachelor of Civil Laws (BCL), Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Master of Arts (MA), Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (D. Phil), Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • Sometime holder of the Oglethorpe and Underhill Exhibitions at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Junior Research Fellow of Merton College, Oxford.