Prof. Wole Soyinka
By Toba Suleiman in Ado-Ekiti and James Sowole in Akure
As Nigerians continue to mourn the death of the former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Kayode Eso, Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, yesterday said at the feast of after-life, or wherever a table is set aside for judges of stellar integrity, there would Eso be seated, in a high place of honour.
In a statement titled: “The Mystery Judge,” Soyinka said he was not mourning or paying tribute to Eso because he changed the course of his existence but because of what he stood for.
He titled the narrative of his life on the bench: “The Mystery Gunman. For me, he has remained - “The Mystery Judge.”
“It is endlessly fascinating to consider that he may have changed the probable course of my existence, but this is not why I mourn him, or pay him tribute,” he said.
Also, a member of the House of Representatives from Ekiti State, Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, has called for overhauling of the country’s judicial system not only to earn the confidence of Nigerians but also for the sustenance and growth of the nation’s democracy.
Bamidele, who is also a member of the Committee on Judiciary in the House made the statement in Ado-Ekiti, while reacting to the demise of Eso, who died on Friday in Hammersmith Hospital, London at age 87.
He described late Eso as incorruptible and a steadfast Judge during his lifetime, querying that how many of the Judges of today could raise their heads tall the way the late Judge and many others like him had done.
Also, a Lagos-based lawyer, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN), described the death of Eso as another depletion among the ranks of surviving judicial icons in the country.
He said the jurist in his life time, used law as an instrument of social reengineering.
In a statement he made available to THISDAY, the learned silk condoled with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the judiciary, government and people of Osun State on the demise of the revered jurist.
Ngige said he was proud and lucky to have appeared before Eso twice when the Supreme Court was sitting in Lagos.
He stated that his experience after appearing before a panel in which the late justice presided taught him a lesson of not taking any case for granted no matter how simple and straightforward the case is.
On his part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the October 20 governirship election in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, stated that Nigerian jurisprudence had lost one of its originators, while law and justice had lost one of its flag bearers.
Oke in his tribute title: “The Justly Judge is Gone” said Eso in conjunction with his peers contributed to activism, timeliness, erudition, intellect, transparency, piety and credibility to the spontaneous fullness of being, which the Nigerian Supreme Court attained in the 80s.
“He administered law and justice with a humanist face. He was full of industry, justice and brilliance. He was purely a classical, neat and incorruptible jurist. His eloquence, character and courage on the bench, particularly the Supreme court, will remain a reference point to all who watch for honour and best practices from the highest zenith of the bench.
“All his judgments, without exception, reflected the very best application of the very essence of law and justice to society and human condition,” he said.