President Muhammadu Buhari and other prominent Nigerians and groups have commiserated with the government and people of Oyo State over the death of former minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Chief Richard Akinjide.
Buhari said in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesman, Mr Femi Femi Adesina, that the deceased made remarkable impact on the country as minister of education in the First Republic, minister of justice and attorney-general in the Second Republic, and member of Judicial Systems Sub-committee of the Constitutional Drafting Committee of 1975-1977.
The president condoled with family members, friends, professional and political associates of the legal icon.
He joined the Olubadan of Ibadan Court, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and entire judiciary in mourning the legal luminary, affirming that he used his rich experience and knowledge in serving the country and humanity.
Also yesterday, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, mourned the demise Akinjide, who died yesterday at the age of 88.
Afenifere, in a condolence message issued by its national publicity secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said that he would always be remembered as a brilliant attorney with forensic knowledge of the law.
It said that with his death, the ”bell has tolled” for the elder statesman ”after a full length,” saying Akinjide had played his part in this game of life, even as it prayed God to grant his soul eternal repose and protect the family he left behind.
Afenifere, while bidding the erudite lawyer farewell, equally prayed that God should grant him all the rest that he needs and deserves.
The legal luminary died at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State at the age of 88.
Family sources said that he died in the early hours of the day at the hospital.
His daughter and former minister of state for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide, and Senator Babafemi Ojudu, confirmed the his demise
Akinjide was called to the English Bar in 1955 and later in Nigeria.
He was born on November 4, 1931, at Ibadan, Oyo State to an influential family of warriors. He attended Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife from where he passed out in Grade One (Distinction, Aggregate 6).
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has commiserated with the family of Akinjide over his death/
Lawan also condoled with the government and people of Oyo State over the loss.
In a statement issued by his special adviser, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate president said that Akinjide lived a fulfilled life and carved a nitche for himself as a walking encyclopedia of the law profession having made his mark on the sand of time before his exit.
Lawan said that the erudite lawyer made great contributions to the legal profession as well as to the political and constitutional development of Nigeria.
Similarly, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, has described the passage of Akinjide as a monumental loss to the country.
Oba Adetunji noted that Akinjide as an accomplished lawyer and politician he gave a very good account of himself as First Republic minister of state, Education and Second Republic minister of justice and with his robust exchange of ideas.
According to the first class monarch, Akinjide, who also served as a chieftain in the Olubadan of Ibadan’s court of clan nobles, was a patriot who displayed great love for his fatherland and her people.
Legal icon and educationist, Aare Afe Babalola, described the as a professional to the core and legal colossus who believed in the Rule of Law.
Babalola said that he was shocked and traumatised beyond description when he received the sad news of the departure of his learned colleague.
He added that he had several interactions with Akinjide in the court and outside the court while alive and found him to be a genial and humble person who was sold to hard work.
The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) in a tribute to the late legal luminary in Ado Ekiti, said the Bar and the Bench will certainly miss him, particularly his fine legal analysis.
Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, described the death of Akinjide as a great loss to the Nigerian legal system.
Adegboruwa expressed sadness that Nigeria’s legal system had lost an icon whose impact could not be forgotten in a hurry.
He said that Akinjide contributed positively to the development of the legal profession in the country.
The deceased was also a member of the Judicial Systems Sub-Committee of the Constitutional Drafting Committee of 1975 to 1977.
He joined the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1978 and became the legal adviser of the party.