Consequent upon his sterling leadership qualities and selfless contributions to the development of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has been inaugurated as Patron of the Ibadan branch of the NBA.
The induction ceremony which was the climax of the 2018 Annual Professional Dinner of the branch took place at the Aare Afe Babalola Bar Centre in Ibadan had top notch within the bar and bench in attendance.
Inaugurating the Governor as Patron of the branch, Chairman of the Ibadan chapter of the NBA, Mr Akeem Agbaje described Governor Akeredolu as deserving of the honour based on his contributions towards the growth of the branch, saying his choice of the position was unanimously endorsed at its general meeting .
He described Arakunrin Akeredolu who was a former Secretary and Chairman of the branch before he was elected unopposed as President of the NBA, as one of the best performed Presidents and a legal giant who has paid his dues towards the advancement of the profession.
Mr Agbaje who said that the Ibadan branch of the NBA, being the first of all NBA branches in the country, has produced many legal giants among whom is Governor Akeredolu, who have contributed immensely to the development of the legal profession and the growth of the country.
“He is a man of outstanding qualities, even in his student union days, his qualities were recognized, even at the branch, at a very young age he became one of the leaders whose sterling qualities eadeared him to many and subsequently became the NBA President unopposed.
“One thing you can’t take away from him is his passion for his people and the masses which is second to none.
“He is a leader who is swift in responding to his member’s problems and has done that consistently for several years both in his private and professional capacities”, he said
In his acceptance speech, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, thanked the Agbaje-led leadership of the branch for the honour and described the day as special in his life.
The governor who stated that the Ibadan branch started Professional Dinner in the country, said it had produced several attorneys in many states of Nigeria.
The governor used the occasion to pay glowing tributes to his professional mother and first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Folake Solanke, SAN, for encouraging him to attain the enviable heights in the legal profession.
Arakunrin Akeredolu who pledged his continued support towards the development of the bar, said it was high time a female was elected as President of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Stating that the new Patron deserved the honour done him, a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, Mr Ojo Adebayo said that Arakunrin Akeredolu as a quintessential Barman and a mentor who has meritoriously served the bar.
“When the idea was raised on the floor of the Ibadan branch during our annual General Meeting, it was a unanimous approval, having held virtually all posts in the NBA with unprecedented achievements.
“He is a round peg in a round hole, a mentor to most of us in the bar and we are trying to emulate his footsteps” he said.
Mr. Adebayo who said he had his tutelage and pupilage under the Olujimi and Akeredolu Law Firm, described it as the foremost Law Firm Partnership in the country.
Earlier, a former Chairman of the branch, Mr Woke Aina had described the governor as a highly principled Bar Man who was the first person to be elected President unopposed in the history of the association and performed excellently well.
“Before his election as NBA President, we have been paying dues and there was nothing to show for it and we were using a rented apartment as secretariat.
“But for the two years he spent in office, he bought a house worth millions of naira to be used as NBA Secretariat, describing as unjustifiable, a situation whereby the association would operate in a rented house.
“Despite that, he left 92 million naira in the purse of NBA. How he did that, nobody knew and nobody knew before then, that NBA was that rich, we were just paying dues and nothing was coming out of it”, he said.
In his address, Chairman of the event, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde while speaking on the theme “Ethics and Culture at the Bar”, enjoined Lawyers to exhibit moral behaviors in and out of Court or Chambers.
He said the Legal Profession Worldwide is very particular about Ethics and Culture which include the conduct and decorum of lawyers.
The Chairman who noted that the premium placed on the profession Worldwide is still very high, added that a correspondingly high demand of good standards is not surprising.
“Legal practice is a very serious business that is to be undertaken by serious minded practitioners particularly as both the legally trained minds and those not so trained always learn from our examples.
“Our Ethics demand that lawyers must never be rude or insulting to the Court or to opposing lawyers even if much Junior.
“We must not only focus on the discipline and punishment of erring lawyers but encourage the setting up of a Bar Standards Board that will ensure that the profession is practiced at the highest quality level.
“We all have a duty to ensure that the Bar maintains the highest Ethical Standards so that the future generation of lawyers will continue to practice our beloved profession with the highest standards.
“We therefore owe the legal profession the duty to maintain the very high standards required in the practice of the profession in this
country”, he stated.
Some of the dignitaries at the ceremony include: Oyo State Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Abimbola Muktar; President, Oyo State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Solomon Akinteye; First Female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Folake Solanke, SAN.