A legal luminary, Chief Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi is dead. Aged 83, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, according to family sources, died on Friday after a prolonged illness at Eko Hospital in Lagos.
The source could not, however, ascertained the ailment the late Ajayi was suffering from but confirmed to The PUNCH that the deceased had been battling with the disease for long.
The late Ajayi had at different times represented the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the late Chief M.K.O Abiola, the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in several court cases.
Ajayi also defended the late Fawehinmi and Abiola when they were charged with treason respectively.
Meanwhile, lawyers on Sunday poured tributes on the late Ajayi and attested to his giant legal strides in his lifetime.
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), described Ajayi as a “graceful bourgeois lawyer,” who as a “conservative” defended progressive causes.
He said, “Chief G.O.K. Ajayi SAN was a graceful bourgeois lawyer. Even though he was conservative he defended progressive causes with uncanny audacity and relentless commitment.”
Also, a Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Keyamo, described the deceased as a legal colossus, whose loss would be irreplaceable to the entire legal profession.
“He was truly one of the very last of the finest breed of the surviving first generation lawyers in Nigeria. He was remarkable in his impeccable forensic advocacy, which he often delivered with a soft, but piercing, voice. In terms of the skills of advocacy, he was my personal hero,” Keyamo said.
A professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Taiwo Osipitan, said the bar and the country had lost a legal giant.
Another SAN, Mrs. Funke Adekoya, said Ajayi’s death was a passing of an era.
“An Iroko has fallen and the profession will never be the same again. She described Ajayi’s death as a passing of an era.
“He was the one who challenged the Federal Government on quota for education and lawyers of his generation are fast disappearing. It is now left for those of us who are still here to carry on the baton,” Adekoya said.
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