Akeredolu has bobust law practice, he planned to build an envious Judiciary Complex, says Ondo CJ

2024-02-21 17:38:39

Champion Newspapers Limited

Ondo State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice A.O. Odusola, has described the former Governor, Late Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as an exemplary leader that had a robust law practice while alive.

Speaking at a special court session in honour of the late Governor, at Akure High Court, Justice Odusola said most of the time of his legal practice was with the former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Akin Olujimi.

According to him, late Akeredolu was elected into several committees of the Nigerian Bar Association over a period of two decades where he amply displayed his exceptional brilliance and exemplary leadership qualities.

He said: "These outstanding traits eventually culminated in his unanimous election as President of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2008. Akeredolu leveraged on his experience as a former Student Union leader and activist to domesticate access to justice. He repositioned the Bar as a responsive profession that is fully attuned to the needs of society. He was at a time a member of the National Judicial Council and until his passing, a life Bencher.

"His conferment as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria was another feather to his already loaded cap as a former Attorney-General of this State. In recognition of his selfless service to his state and country, he was conferred with the National Honours of Commander of the Order of the Niger by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in the year 2022.

He was a committed family man who rallied all his siblings and their spouses into a close-knit family that is sustained by love and integrity. He also ran a social circle of friends, mostly made up of old school network as well as professional and political affiliates. He was a prominent member of the Kegites Club whose activities centre around dancing, singing and a humorous linguistic jabs. He was said to be a good songito.

"Arakunrin was a keen Anglican, though he did not toe the line of his father to become a Clergy, he was a committed member of the choir in his parish at Ibadan and at the Diocesan level, he was the Chancellor of the Owo Diocese of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.

"Akeredolu was a courageous fighter, who faced the serious security challenges in the State with such ingenious courage that his approach has become a national model. He was amazingly down to earth and this great asset is also his major weakness in a society where sycophancy is the order of the day. Whatever he promised to do, he would fight to accomplish.

"He had a desire to build an ultra-modern facility for the High Court (and had started the journey), but could not to do so partly because of his ill-health but largely because the individual who stood as the eye of the Executives in the administration of the judiciary could not interpret that dream. Expectedly, our new Governor, His Excellency, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa has reiterated his promise to bring Arakunrin's dream to reality.

"It is a delight, to note that Arakunrin never interfered with judicial activities even when it did not favour his desires. He would always tell us "Milord, deliver your judgment in your true conscience, if I am not satisfied I will appeal". That is the man we are all gathered here to bid farewell on his last journey. I am paying tribute to a man who understood the principles of separation of powers and lived it, not only in words, but in action.

"In my last encounter with him, at a time when his health was obviously failing, Arakunrin still reiterated his desire to construct a judiciary complex that will be the envy of other states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He also spoke about Judges' welfare and I wondered how a man in such a condition could still love the judiciary so much as to remember the little promises he made.

"I, therefore, pay homage to an outstanding legal icon and a political colossus. A man who was an exemplar of indefatigable courage, principled resistance with honesty and self-respect. In the annals of Ondo State leadership, Arakunrin's tenure will continue to be a good reference point. He left us with the fondest memories among which is his famous song of praise: "Awa ta jewo re ni gbangba......."

"I commiserate with the entire Akeredolu family, especially his wife and confidant, Arabirin Betty and the children. My heart goes to the entire law community in Nigeria and the people of Ondo State. I commiserate with His Excellency, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, the official chief mourner, who has lost his boss and confidant.

"Yet, in times like this, the words of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a: is a solemn consolation that "for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die....... The man who lived his life as Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Commander of the Order of the Niger, former Governor of Ondo State, former Attorney-General of Ondo State, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, father, friend and indeed many more to different people, ran a great race.

'His passing is also a reminder to us about the certainty of death and a need to subtly prepare our minds for that day when the sun will finally go down. Shakespeare reminds us again in Julius Cesar Act II, scene 2, line 33.

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear, Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come.

"Now it has come and even in death, Arakunrin remains celebrated, perhaps more than when he was alive. Indeed, a remarkable man has just departed.

"Ondo State Judiciary is full of sorrow but we shall continue to pray for the repose of his soul and for his family and loved ones he left behind the fortitude to bear this tragic and irreparable loss".

2024-02-21 News