Prince Bola Ajibola; Tribute to A Law Legend
In today’s twenty-four hours news cycle, the universal response to the transition of the Jurist, Prince Bola Ajibola was in the lines of: “… he was ‘only’ eighty-nine years old?” The sage at the time of his passing had already passed out of history into legend, such was his contribution to law at home in Nigeria, but also significant to the development of Jurisprudence on the international scene as an innovative judge of International Court of Justice at the Hague.
Prince Ajibola born the son of a serving traditional ruler, the Olowu of Owu, had the advantages associated with the circumstances of his birth, but he did not develop a sense of entitlement. On the contrary, his contributions in so many aspects of life represent what should be the most endearing quality of the aristocracy – a sense of noblesse oblige. That is, the obligations of those born with advantages to uplift the less well off, and the strive to building a better and fairer society anchored on social justice. Numerous examples are often cited, his founding of Crescent University, in addition to lifelong scholarships to indigent students, demonstrate this very well.
Prince Ajibola went through it all without blemish. The aristocrat turned lawyer quickly established a cutting-edge commercial law practice which was path-breaking by the standards of an era. He became a defining president of the Nigeria Bar Association during a period of uncertainties, and finally a quintessential Federal Attorney General, under a military government paving way to the Hague without a whiff of scandal. To describe this as an achievement in post-independent Nigeria is to grotesquely understate a remarkable achievement of swimming against the tide. The Vice President and Prof. Awa Kalu were his special assistants. They worked together to give us comprehensive Laws of the Federation after so many years. I recollect he was the one, that co-opted me to National Executive Council of the Bar for the 1984-1985 year, at a very young age at Bar. Much of his interventions across the board, have, and will continue to endure. His jurisprudence, as well as general disposition could be gleaned in his compassionate interpretation of Islam, and Crescent University will continue to be a tribute to a remarkable man. Prince Bola Ajibola did our country proud, and we should glow in the rare fortune of having such an icon and avatar as one of our own. May Almighty Allah overlook his earthly transgressions and grant him Al-Jannah Firdaus.
Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, SAN, CON
Governor, Ondo State