Born May 29, 1953, Dr. Agbakoba studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1973-1977), the London School of Economics and Political Science (1979-1980), and the University of London (1980). Before founding Olisa Agbakoba and Associates (OA&A) in 1983, he was a Research Fellow at the Institute of International Affairs (1981) and Guest Lecturer at the Military and Command School, Jaji (1981). He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (equivalent of Queens Counsel).
Dr. Agbakoba is an active champion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Nigeria and Africa. He was President of the Nigerian Bar Association (2006-2008) and in 1987 had founded the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), of which he was president from 1987 to 1995. He was in that capacity in the forefront of the long struggle for democracy in Nigeria from 1989 through 2001, during which period he also led the United Action for Democracy as Convener (1998 to 2001).
Dr. Agbakoba is the Senior Counsel of the Human Rights Law Service and a member of numerous human rights organisations, including the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, International Centre for the Protection of Cultural Diversity and Human Rights in Africa, and the Nigerian Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace.
Dr. Agbakoba has served in various appointive governmental positions and is at present a member of the Presidential Task Force on Petroleum Revenue Management.
Among the numerous honours vested on Dr. Agbakoba are the Roger Baldwin Medal for Civil Liberties (1990, by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights), Human Rights Prize (1993, by the German Association of Judges), Aachen Peace Prize (1996), International Human Rights Award (1996, by the American Bar Association), and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah African Leadership Award (2006).