Legal luminaries across Nigeria have begun to pay their last respect to Chief Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi, who died Sunday evening in Lagos State.
The Ijebu-Ode born Ajayi, popularly referred to as ‘GOK’ has been described as a legend in many quarters.
Femi Falana, lawyer and human activist described Ajayi as a graceful bourgeois lawyer. “Even though he was conservative, he defended progressive causes with uncanny audacity and relentless commitment,” he said.
He noted that through the instrumentality of the law Ajayi fought against the deportation of a Nigerian legislator, illegal seizure of passports of social critics and fraudulent election results.
“He provided robust defence for Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Chief MKO Abiola when they were charged with political sabotage and treason respectively.”
Dave Ajetomobi, former chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja, lauded Ajayi for his courage and service to humanity. “GOK has joined his ancestors at 83. He was a legend in the profession and he left an indelible mark in the legal profession in Nigeria. We will miss him very much. Rest in peace, Papa,” he said.
In his tribute to Ajayi, radical lawyer, Festus Keyamo said his death was an irreplaceable loss to the entire legal profession. “He was truly one of the very last of the finest breed of first generation lawyers. He was remarkable in his impeccable forensic advocacy which he often delivered with a soft, but piercing voice.”
He added that: “He will go down as one of the finest lawyers this country has ever produced.”
Born on 29 May 1931, Ajayi was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in 1955 when he was just 24 years old. He was, however, called to Bar in Nigeria two years later.
In 1978, twenty-one years after he was called to the Nigerian Bar, he joined the second set of those awarded the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria alongside the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Remi Femi-Kayode, T.A. Bankole-Oki, E.A. Molajo, Kehinde Sofola, Richard Akinjide, Olisa Chukwura, Nwakama Okoro, Mudiaga Odje, P.O.Balonwu, B.O. Nwabueze and Augustine Nnamani.
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(Post From PM News)