Thursday, December 10, 2015 11:21 pm
Dignitaries from many sectors of the society (the bar and bench, politics, media, academia and civil societies) gathered on 8 December, 2015 for a symposium at the Banquet Hall of the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria to honour the late Chief Ajibola Ige (SAN) who was the federal attorney General and Minister of Justice at the time of his assassination by yet to be identified killers in his bedroom in Ibadan, Oyo state, capital in December, 2001.
According to the coordinator of the Bola Ige centre for Justice, Comrade Awa Bamiji, the symposium was organised to once again reawaken Nigerian leaders and justice system to unravel Ige’s murder.
The guest speaker of the day, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) did justice to the topic “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied and The Future of the Electoral Process in Nigeria”. He held the audience spell bound by his presentation on legal and historical issues, the justice system, Nigeria’s political history and the life of the late Chief Ige’s murder.
He lamented that the institutions of justice and administration in Nigeria are decaying and therefore, urged the present administration to arrest the ugly trend.
Present at the occasion were Prof Akin Oyebode, as the chairman; Professor Sophie Oluwole, mother of the day; Tunde Buraimo, representing the speaker of Lagos State Assembly; Special Adviser on foods security, representing Governor Akinwumi Ambode; the Ige family members; Bayo Adesanya (son of late Chief Abraham Adesanya); Otunba Jumoke Ogunkorede; a NADECO chieftain, based in the US, Comrade Ayodele Adewale and a host of others.
The guest speaker, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), described the late Ige as a mentor of youths and a listening leader per excellence.
According to him, “I got closer to him the day I resigned as Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly in 1992. The statement I made caught his attention, he sent for me. He said you are a boy to watch. I remained his boy, served in his think tank team until his death. He was brilliant, articulate and intelligent, he loved intellectual debate. He didn’t belong to the class of leaders who would not listen to young elements. If you were able to convince him, he would surrender. He was not a feudalist. He didn’t like a yes man. He was a hunter of talents like his mentor Chief Obafemi Awolowo.”
Also, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ado-Ekiti and chairman of the occasion, Professor Akin Oyebode remarked that the yet unresolved murder of the then sitting Attorney General and Minister of Justice, 14 years after his assassination remained “a festering sour on the conscience of Nigeria.”
However, according to him, the fact that 14 years after the gruesome death in his bedroom, there are still a few people gathered here to reminisce and recall the exploits of this great son of Africa speaks of greatness of his life and his commitment to the liberation of Nigerian people.
Chief Ige was a legal colossus not just because he was a senior advocate of Nigeria but also an orator per excellence. “Chief Ige could charm anybody to action,” Oyebode said. He said further that “Chief Ige used the law to fight the cause of liberation of his people. He believed that tomorrow would be better than today and far more better than yesterday. Chief Ige stood for change.”
He charged the audience not to use the occasion to mourn but to “celebrate the irrepressible spirit of Bola Ige.” He commended the sentiment expressed by the present Governor of Lagos State, Akinwumi Ambode in his speech delivered by his representative that we have not heard the last of Ige’s and other unresolved political murders. He also commended the Buhari administration for indicating its readiness to reopen Ige’s murder case.