By Deji Elumoye
The Body of Benchers in Nigeria has named a member of the National Assembly, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, as its member.
Bamidele, who represents Ekiti Central Senatorial District and Chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, is the newest member of the Body of Benchers which is a professional body saddled with the admission of prospective students into the Nigerian Law School and also regulates the call of graduates of Law School to the Nigerian Bar as well as the regulation of the legal profession in Nigeria.
According to a letter dated October 28 and addressed to Bamidele by the Body of Benchers, Nigeria, it acknowledged the fact that Senator Bamidele had paid his dues as a seasoned legal practitioner and staunch advocate of the Rule of Law in the country.
The letter of appointment signed by the Secretary of the Body, Mrs. H.A. Turaki, stressed that Senator Bamidele’s appointment was ‘sequel to the resolution by the Body of Benchers that Chairmen of the National Assembly Committees on Judiciary should be made members of the Body of Benchers by virtue of the office’.
A biographical statement issued Sunday on the appointment from Senator Bamidele’s media office read in part: ” Bamidele is a New York Attorney, Member of the Seventh House of Representatives and three-term Member of the prestigious Lagos State Cabinet between 2002 and 2011.
“He is a lawyer without border, licensed to practise in the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court; an Attorney and Counselor-at-Law of the State of New York, USA; and a Notary Public of Nigeria.
“Bamidele graduated with honours in 1986, from the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Osun State, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and, subsequently, from the University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Degree in 1990. After his call to the Nigerian Bar a year later, Bamidele launched into a full-time legal career in 1992.
“It is quite refreshing that Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele’s appointment as a Member of the prestigious Body of Benchers can be described as putting a round peg in a round hole.
“He is a seasoned and multilateral legal practitioner, Civil Rights activist, a former Honourable Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development as well as Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy consecutively in Lagos State. He was a former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Budget and Research in the 7th National Assembly.
“Given his long years of fledging legal practice in Nigeria and overseas, coupled with his unique wealth of experience as a seasoned politician, consummate public administrator and quintessential Federal lawmaker, Bamidele has traversed the three arms of Government in the course of his political and legal career. There is, therefore, no doubt that he would maximize his present placement as a Member of the Body of Benchers and Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to champion several landmark reforms in legal education and in the nation’s justice sector with a view to further repositioning the Nigerian judiciary on a sound pedestal which will enable it perform its traditional duty more profoundly as the hope of the common man and custodian of the Rule of Law and social justice”.