By Clifford Ndujihe, Politics Editor UNTIL his death in the early hours of Tuesday Chief Richard Osuolale, Abimbola Akinjide was the highest-ranked Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN. With the likes of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, Chief Bankole Oki, Chief Kehinde Sofola, Dr. Augustine Nnamani, and Professor Ben Nwabueze, the legal luminary was one of the 13 lawyers who became SAN in 1978.
Of the 13, only Professor Nwabueze is left following Akinjide’s demise, yesterday. The other 11 had died earlier at various times. Akinjide was born in 1930 as Nwabueze but the latter is older having been born in March while Akinjide was born on November 30. Although Nwabueze is older, Akinjide was higher than him in the SAN rank because he got called to the Nigerian Bar earlier. Upon completion of their law degrees in London, Akinjide returned to Nigeria ealier and got called to the Bar while Nwabueze elected to remain in London to teach at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chief Akinjide was not the highest ranked SAN for nothing. The elder statesman, nationalist, administrator, politician, teacher and journalist left his footprints in the sands of Nigeria’s legal and political firmament.