By Victor Ogunje
A legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has described the late former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), as one of the pillars the Nigeria’s bar rests and rotates.
Babalola, owner of the private institution, Afe Babalola University, said he was shocked beyond description when he received the sad news of the departure of the erudite and brilliant Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Akinjide died in the early hours of Tuesday at the age of 88, after a brief illness.
The legal guru, in a condolence message in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, described Akinjide as a good and reliable minister in the Temple of Justice during his lifetime.
“I have seen the departed learned brother of the Silk at close quarters. I have seen him at work and I have also seen him at play. I interacted with him in the court and outside the court and found him to be a genial and humble person who is sold to hard work.
“But as traumatizing as the news is, I am consoled by the fact that the departed senior member of the Inner Bar who was well known for his mastery of the English Language and his dexterity in court lived a most fulfilled life and imparted his community, particularly the Judiciary, his primary constituency, thereby leaving his giant steps on the sand of judicial times.
“A professional to the core, the departed legal colossus was a fervent believer in the rule of law. His acclaimed brilliance and the very professional ways he conducted himself both within and outside the Bar will remain indelible in our psyche.
“The Bar and the Bench will certainly miss him, particularly his fine legal analysis.
“He was a man who was loved and respected by all members of the Bar which he was fortunate to lead at some point in his beautiful career as the National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
“I thank the Almighty God for granting him the enviable grace of being able to make his marks before being called home to rest in His bosom.
“It is my fervent prayer that all he worked for while still with us on planet earth will stand him in good stead before The Maker of all things.
“It is given for all mortals to leave one day. We will all leave one day after the other. One of the greatest ways God has demonstrated his Almightiness is that no one knows when, where and how he will die,” Babalola said.
While wishing Akinjide a most-deserved rest, Babalola prayed that the Almighty God will grant the entire Akinjide dynasty and the legal profession where he served meritoriously the grace and the equanimity to bear the irreparable loss.