I got the notice of Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide SAN’s transition, this morning from a journalist friend who invited me to come and talk about the Learned Chief’s transition on their television programme.
I quickly said the information is fake news but he insisted it was a genuine and factual information. Nevertheless, I insisted that I would need to confirm from the family or the Secretary of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Shortly after that encounter, I saw the release of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria confirming the Learned Silk’s transition from mortality to immortality.
Chief Akinjide SAN was a legal colossus, a quintessential lawyer and a forensic advocate of immense proportion. He personified success, great accomplishment and manifest professional fulfilment. He was born on November 1, 1931. Consequently, he died at a ripe age of 88 years, stating his last birthday. He was called to the Bar in 1956. In recognition of the Learned Chief’s exceptional performance in court-room advocacy, he was among the second set of legal practitioners to be conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1978 along with other legal colossus like Chief Obafemi Awolowo SAN; Chief R.A. Fani-Kayode SAN; Chief Olisa Chukwurah SAN; Chief Kehinde Sofola SAN; Dr. Mudiaga Odga SAN; Dr Augustine Nnamani SAN, who later became a Justice of the Supreme Court; and Professor B.O. Nwabueze SAN. With the death of Chief Akinjide SAN today, Professor Ben Nwabueze SAN, the erudite and remarkable constitutional law lawyer remains the only living legend of the whole lot.
Chief Akinjide SAN made a mark in life, both in the Profession and outside of the Profession. He was President of the Nigerian Bar Association from 1970 – 1973, the Pro Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council, the University of Jos between 1976 – 1979, the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice between 1979 – 1983, a life member and past Chairman of the distinguished Body of Benchers and until his transition, the Chairman of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
He was manifestly committed to everything he believed in and because he was committed, he was creative and productive; because he was productive, he became successful; and because he was successful, he became outstandingly impactful. Men like him rule their world and Chief Richard Akinjide SAN indeed ruled his world, both as a legal giant and a political juggernaut. He discovered his purpose on earth and he fulfilled that purpose in a great measure. Purpose does not target possession but essentially designed for contribution. Chief Richard Akinjide SAN’s contribution to law, politics and to life in general will forever be in the hearts of all men and women and to be in the hearts of all men and women is not to die.
My condolence goes to the entire family and to the legal community.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Dele Adesina SAN