NBA holds Day of Tributes for Akeredolu in Ibadan

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ibadan branch on Monday held a Tribute Session to celebrate the life of its patron, the 24th President of Association and former Governor of Ondo State, late Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), as part of activities lined up for his final burial rites.

The tribute session which had the crème de la crème of the legal community which was held at the Aare Afe Babalola Bar Centre, Iyaganku in Ibadan was one of the largest gatherings of people in the legal community in recent times.

In her welcome address at the event, the chairman of the Ibadan Bar, Folasade Aladeniyi, stated that the Tribute Day was a celebration of the life of the late governor and what he stood for in the legal circle as well as his commitment and benevolence to the Bar till his dying breath, adding that “we are gathered here this afternoon to honour the memories of one of the  leaders of the Bar, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu  SAN, CON popularly,  extensively and judicially known  as Aketi.

“The array of eminent guests here and the encomium that followed the passage of Arakunrin has been so overwhelming, from the taxi drivers, artisans of various shades,  the  downtrodden, the widows, school children, professionals,  various school organizations, corporate entities, faith based organizations, civil societies,  NGOs,  governments of various states and the international community,  have all shown Aketi was a man without bias of any kind,” she said.

She added that Aketi lived a selfless and impactful life, the evidence of which “abound in our memories and national life. As if it is to honour Aketi who was a proponent of state policing, President Bola Tinubu GCFR, recently gave a tacit approval to the establishment of State Police in Nigeria, which hopefully necessary constitutional amendments will follow suit to bring it to reality.

“On behalf of the Executive Committee and entire members  of the NBA Ibadan, I welcome each and everyone to this day of tribute as we share our joint pains and revel in the times God permitted us to share parts of our life’s journey with Aketi, a friend to all. The last of Aketi’s benevolence to the Ibadan Bar, even while on his sick bed was on Friday, September 21, 2023, when he was the single highest donor to the extension to the on-going Bar Building project; and more importantly his keen interest that the building be completed in record time.  I pray we all leave legacies of forthrightness in our various engagements and spheres of life, deep commitment to family and friends, dedication to our nation and nation building and the will to serve God in truth and in spirit. I pray God to spare our lives to live well and full like Aketi,” she concluded.

The national executives of the NBA led by Yakub Maikyau (SAN) and the General Secretary, Adesina Adegbite, were all on ground at the Day of Tributes and they all attested to the enduring legacies of Aketi at the Bar.

The Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Oyo State, Abiodun Aikomo, said Akeredolu lived a life of patriotism, selfless service who fought a good fight and is worthy of emulation for his commitment to the people and courage in speaking in the face of oppression.

The former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Oyo State, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, described Akeredolu as a man whose vision was clear and stood by his convictions in all situations.

The representative of the Body of Benchers, Emeka Ngige (SAN), Akerdolu had an indomitable spirit and posterity will be kind to him.

Former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Oyo State, Seun Abimbola, who represented the Alumni of Olujimi and Akeredolu Chambers, described Akeredolu as man who doesn’t deal with favouritism and is not afraid of standing alone when his convictions does not conform with general views, adding that he is not afraid to stand against a friend when such friend is towing the wrong path.

The head of chambers at Olujimi and Akeredolu Chambers, Ibrahim Lawal said he had been hopeful that one miracle will wake Aketi up and they will hear he is not dead again, adding that the programmes is making the reality dawn on him that he will not see Aketi again. According to him, Aketi is a man loved by all and cannot be described in few words.

The chairman of the Tribute Planning Committee, Yakub A. Fadare, in his profile on Akeredolu described him as a devoted Christian with a warm and accommodating heart for people of other faiths and has limitlessly supported  a wide range of religious organisations, adding that his avowed commitment to the upliftment of the downtrodden in his unyielding stance on the principles of nation building.

He added that Aketi was a veteran of countless campaigns for leadership integrity, political freedom, equal rights and justice, reiterating that “he domesticated access to justice by providing several platforms for easy engagement between the largely illiterate members of the public in Nigeria and legal representation.”

Speaking on behalf of the family, Rotimi Akeredolu jnr, said it is an honour to be part of the programme, adding that he appreciates the kind words and presence of everyone who came from far and wide to honour his father. He added that the family is touched with the recognition of Akeredolu’s immense contribution and commitment to law and NBA in Nigeria.

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