His concern always is how to put a smile in the faces of others. His humility, humour and humanity is not only awesome but exceptional. Today I am remembering my leader Prince Bola Ajibola and the great memories we shared. He was one of a kind and a father. There are many days that I think of him and beam a smile.
Prince Bolasodun Adesumbo Ajibola, SAN, KBE, CFR was born on the 22nd of March, 1934 (89 years old) in Owu, near Abeokuta, Ogun State to the Owu royal family of Oba Abdul-Salam Ajibola Gbadela (II), the traditional ruler of Owu between 1949 and 1972.
Late Prince Bola Ajibola attended Owu Baptist Day School and Baptist Boys’ High School in Abeokuta between 1942 and 1955. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B) at the Holborn College of Law, University of London between 1959 and 1962 and was called to the English Bar at the Lincoln’s Inn in 1962. He returned to Nigeria to practise Law and was elevated to the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria on the 5th of June, 1986.
Prince Ajibola served as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association from 1984 to 1985 and was appointed as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the position he held between 1985 and 1991. He thus, became the Chairman of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) and Body of Benchers Nigeria.
He was also one of five (5) Commissioners on the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, organized through the Permanent Court of Arbitration. As a member to the Permanent Court of Arbitration with respect to the court’s deliberations on the land dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon, Prince Ajibola and Justice Koroma of Sierra Leone were the judges who ruled in favour of Nigeria out of 15 Judges who sat on the matter in October 22, 2002.
He was also the High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom (UK) from 1999 to 2002 and the Chairman of the panel set up by the Plateau State government to probe the 2008 Jos riots.
He was the editor of the Nigeria’s Treaties in Force from 1970 to 1990 and All-Nigeria Law Reports from 1961 to 1990. He has also authored many books including ‘Heavens in View’, and various papers and articles on a range of legal subjects particularly law, justice and human rights
He also established the Crescent University, in Abeoukuta Nigeria in 2005 when he was our Chairman Judiciary and Legal Reforms Committee of the National Political Reform Conference 2005.
Judge Bola Ajibola SAN KBE, CFR was a man of great integrity, intelligence, and passion for justice. He was a renowned Nigerian jurist who served as a judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body. He was also a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Nigeria.
Judge Ajibola was a true champion of justice and fairness. Throughout his distinguished career, he demonstrated an unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights of all people, regardless of their status or background. He was a shining example of what it means to be a true servant of justice.
His contributions to the legal profession and the international community are immeasurable. He was a trailblazer, a visionary, and a role model for generations of lawyers and judges to come. His dedication to the cause of justice will continue to inspire and guide us all.
Judge Ajibola was also a man of great humility and kindness. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need, and he never forgot his roots or the people who helped him along the way. His generosity and compassion touched the lives of countless individuals, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of all who knew him.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the international community, Judge Bola Ajibola SAN KBE, CFR was awarded numerous honors and accolades, including the Nigerian National Order of Merit of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) and Knight of the British Empire (KBE). These honors are a testament to his exceptional character, his tireless dedication to justice, and his unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.
Judge Ajibola will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on in the lives of the judges, and lawyers whose careers he shaped over the years. His legal skills are so well renowned to the extent that he has attained such an authority that his writings and talks are also seen as a source of law.
His character and accomplishments are exemplary. His courage, strength, strategy, and style of arguments provided meaning to the pursuit of justice.
He will always be remembered as a true champion of justice, a visionary leader, and a beloved friend and colleague. May Allah forgive him, have mercy on him and grant him Al jannatul firdausi, ameen.
Sulaiman Usman, SAN, FICMC, FIMC, CMC, FNARC, FCIML
(D.L, LL. B (HONS), PG Cert (TEXAS), LL.M (LIVERPOOL), LL.M (LONDON), B.L
Life Bencher, Notary Public and Ambassador for Peace
(Dan Iyan Tsaki and Mayanan Wazirin Sokoto)
Hon. Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,