CJN commissions Ibadan NBA Arakunrin Akeredolu Bar centre

CJN commissions Ibadan NBA Arakunrin Akeredolu Bar centre

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After eight months and 15 days after the laying of the foundation on September 22, 2023, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Wednesday commissioned the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) Bar Centre Annex within the premises of the Aare Afe Babalola Bar Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.

The project, which was the brainchild of the outgoing administration of the first female bar chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Folasade Aladeniyi, was named in honour of the late governor of Ondo State and patron of the Ibadan Bar, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, not just because he was the highest single donor to the project but in recognition of his indelible impact in the legal profession as well as his legacy of leadership and friendship that has had a deep and sustained impact on the Nigerian Bar Association and the Ibadan Bar in particular.

The CJN, while commissioning the building, commended the bar executives led by Folake Aladeniyi, adding that they deserve commendation for remembering Akeredolu’s sacrifice and labour of love for the bar and judiciary as a whole.

Also speaking, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), thanked the Ibadan Bar for restituting the good work of Aketi, adding that Akeredolu worked tirelessly to see that the NBA was given its right place in the country. He further advised others to emulate the good gesture.

Speaking on behalf of the family, the former First Lady of Ondo State, Mrs. Betty Akeredolu, described the late Akeredolu as a man dedicated to family, service to humanity, and humanity.

She described the late governor as a champion of good governance who transformed Oyo State, adding that he is the father of modern Ondo State.

Mrs. Akeredolu further announced the Olu Akeredolu Scholarship for law students in Nigerian law schools, which will cover full tuition and living expenses throughout their stay in law school.

According to her, the scholarship was to honour the legacy of Akeredolu and in appreciation of the NBA’s love and request for Aketi.

She described him as a man of integrity who was grounded in different areas of the law, adding that he not only made women matter but fostered unity among all religions and tribes.

In her welcome speech, the NBA chairman said she was privileged to be commissioning the addition of a new building to the NBA, the Ibadan Bar Centre, which will serve alongside the first bar centre building, which was gifted to the bar single-handedly by the great Aare Afe Babalola SAN in 2019.

“I have been to other bar structures, and I make bold to say that the Aare Afe Babalola Bar Centre, Ibadan, is the biggest and the best. I therefore, once again, on behalf of the Ibadan Bar, appreciate, in no small measure, the benevolence of our oldest and foremost distinguished patron, Aare Afe Babalola SAN. Ibadan Bar is indeed blessed with an array of great parents and mentors.

“Why must we have this bar annex? First, it was envisioned by the present Ibadan Bar Executive Committee of 2022-2024 to have more robust internally generated revenue. This Aare Afe Babalola hall has been a great source of income for the bar, as our matriarch and other elders no longer have to bear our overhead running costs again. So we thought that if we can free up all the rooms and offices, we will be able to put them to maximum commercial use to host meetings, workshops, seminars, and events for a fee by our members and the general public.

“We shared the vision with everyone: patrons, members, friends, and colleagues. It was a song on our lips that our second-year legacy project would be this building. We did not envision how it was going to happen. All we knew was that we were going to build for Ibadan Bar once again. It was high time we made our grandpa, Aare Afe Babalola, happy that we would be adding to the foundation of the legacy he has laid for us. And that was exactly what we told him at the Executive Committee visit to Abu Dhabi in 2023.

Why name it the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Bar Centre Annex? This building plays a powerful mnemonic role as a structure named after Late Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN CON, firstly, my principal and one of the country’s foremost and finest legal luminaries who championed the promotion of the rule of law and social equality during his lifetime.

“We decided to honour our late patron, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, in this way, not just because he was the highest single donor to this project, but because we recognise the indelible impact he had in the legal profession. His legacy of leadership and friendship has had a deep and sustained impact on the Nigerian Bar Association, particularly the Ibadan Bar. I recollect that he happily gave his approval and vowed his support to this project while I was sharing the vision all around, even before my assumption of office as chairman of this great bar.

“Though Aketi is late, he continues to live in our hearts. We, collectively, have not only built a structure with rich, innovative architectural creations and works of art, but we have also built a good legacy. With a great building like this come great expectations. This building named after Arakunrin is a symbol of our collective efforts to promote legal excellence, protect human rights, and uphold the integrity of the legal profession, all of which Aketi stood for in his lifetime,” she added.

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