UNILAG Alumni, Ayorinde Pay Tribute to Late Legal Icon, Ayanlaja SAN

Wale Igbintade

The University of Lagos Alumni Association has extolled the virtues of the late Legal Icon, Mr. Olatunji Ayanlaja, SAN, and described him as a trailblazer, and a gentleman who would be greatly missed by the association.

The late Ayanlaja passed away on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, at the age of 77.

A statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Ms. Regina Chris-Ogbodo, stated that the foremost lawyer was regarded as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Nigeria in his lifetime.

The statement said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing to greater glory of one of the ambassadors of our great Alma mater – Chief Olatunji Ayanlaja, SAN, a foremost lawyer who was regarded as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Nigeria in his lifetime. 

“Born on June 3, 1945 in Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State, Chief Ayanlaja bade the world goodbye on July 26, 2022, at the age of 77 after a fulfilled life as a lawyer, academic, philanthropist, husband, father and grandfather.

“He bagged a Law degree from the University of Lagos in 1970 and went on to build a sterling career in the temple of justice.  As a lawyer, we will end this message with a Latin maxim ‘requiescat in pace,’ praying that his gentle soul Rest in peace.”

In his tribute, a former Chairman of the Nigeria Legal Aid Council, Mr. Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), described Ayanlaja as a legal colossus, adding that he was among the best legal minds Nigeria has produced.

Ayorinde said that late Ayanlaja was a hugely sought after lawyer by many private individuals and corporate organisations within and outside Nigeria, who relied on his legal advice and counsel.

He said: “Olatunji Ayanlaja was a legal colossus, a giant amongst lawyers and easily one of the true giants of the profession in the mold of J.C. Taylor, Rotimi Williams QC, SAN; H.A Lardner, Molajo SAN, Kehinde Sofola SAN, and his mentor, the indefatigable G.O.K Ajayi (SAN) also of blessed memory.

“When the news of his passing broke, a friend remarked spontaneously ‘Oh dear, all that knowledge gone.’ Indeed, Tunji Ayanlaja was a foundation of knowledge. He knew the law in its purest form. The library at Ayanlaja, Adesanya & Co where he practiced his profession with his Partner, Mr. Bambo Adesanya (SAN), and other colleagues for several decades remains a reference point for the profession.

“He was a ‘Life Force’ and hugely sought after lawyer and many private individuals and corporate organisations within and outside Nigeria relied on his legal advice and counsel, indeed he was a most successful lawyer and he will be remembered not only for his sharp intellect, but also for his impeccable appearance in and out of court.

“I personally will miss not only a professional leader but a social captain whose life was worthy of emulation. Even though he passed on at the age of 77 years, his demise was still shocking and unexpected.

“His lifestyle was decent and he lived a fulfilling family life. I and my dear wife, Adeola, will miss his sincere counsel but this will be incomparable to the vacuum created in his immediate family and my condolences go to his amiable wife and daughters who have lost a dear father.

“My condolences also extend to my senior brother and his partner, Adesnaya, who has lost a brother and a friend. Olatunji Ayanlaja will be remembered as one of the best and finest legal minds that Nigeria has ever produced.”

Meanwhile, the family has announced the burial arrangement for late Ayanlaja.

A statement by the family said a service of song and evening of tributes would be held on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, at Shepherd Baptist Hall, Obanikoro, Lagos. This will be followed by Evening of Tributes at the same Church.

The late senior lawyer is survived by his Wife, Mrs. Georgina Adeyinka Yetunde Ayanlaja; children: Oluwaseun Ayanlaja Esq. Mr. Ebunoluwa & Mrs. Oluwatooni Akinkuotu, sister, cousins, nephews, nieces and a grandson, Oluwakorede Akinkuotu.

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