Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Body of Benchers in Nigeria has named a member of the National Assembly and Chairman of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, as one of its members.
The appointment made Bamidele, who represents Ekiti Central Senatorial District, 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. The body 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, the Body of Benchers acknowledged the fact that Bamidele has paid his dues as a seasoned legal practitioner and staunch advocate of the rule of law in the country.
The letter, which was signed by the Secretary of the Body, Mrs. H.A. Turaki, stressed that Bamidele’s appointment was “sequel to the resolution by the Body of Benchers that Chairman of the National Assembly Committees on Judiciary should be made members of the Body of Benchers by virtue of the office.”
A biographical statement that was issued yesterday on the appointment by 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 practice 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 ( now 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 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 maximise 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.”