President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the government and people of Oyo State over the death of a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Richard Akinjide.
Mr Buhari condoled with family members, friends, professional and political associates of the legal icon, who made remarkable impact on the country as Minister of Education in the First Republic, Minister of Justice and Attorney General in the Second Republic, and member of Judicial Systems Sub-committee of the Constitutional Drafting Committee of 1975-1977.
The president joins the Olubadan of Ibadan Court, Nigerian Bar Association and entire judiciary in mourning the legal luminary, affirming that he used his rich experience and knowledge in serving the country and humanity, Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said.
Mr Buhari prayed that the almighty God will grant the departed eternal rest, and comfort his family.
In his condolence message, a former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, said: “I commiserate with the family of Second Republic Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the federation, Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide, over his passing early on Tuesday.”
“Chief Akinjide was an extra-ordinarily brilliant lawyer and an undisputable giant in the legal profession. Whichever side of the political spectrum anyone belonged to in that 1979-83 era, it was never in doubt that Chief Akinjide served the country and the government of late President Shehu Shagari with dedication, commitment and with all his deep legal knowledge and immense skills.
“He had a passion for service and even deeper obsession with matters of the law. Chief Akinjide will not be forgotten in a hurry for his was a powerful voice not only in matters of law and jurisprudence but also in national affairs, wherein he made many important interventions at critical periods.
“My condolences also go to the government and people of Oyo State over the loss of their outstanding son. May God Almighty grant his soul eternal rest and comfort his family and all those he left behind,” Mr Tinubu said in a statement by his spokesperson, Tunde Rahman.
Also, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Saliu Adetunji, described the death of Mr Akinjide as a monumental loss to Nigeria.
Mr Adetunji noted that Mr Akinjide was an accomplished lawyer and politician “who gave a very good account of himself as First Republic Minister of State, Education and Second Republic Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation with his robust exchange of ideas.”
Mr Akinjide, a native of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, died in the early hours of Tuesday at the age of 88.
Mr Adetunji said Mr Akinjide, who served as a chieftain in the Olubadan of Ibadan’s court, was a patriot who displayed great love for his fatherland and people.
The monarch in a statement made available by his personal assistant, Adeola Oloko, said Mr Akinjide “used to be a reference point and mentor to generations of youths who imbibed hard work, diligence and dedication to duty.”
Mr Adetunji stated that he was not surprised “when on Sunday March 8 this year, the Yemi Soladoye-led Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, CCII put the late Chief Akinjide’s picture among those etched in Ibadan’s Hall of Fame at Ibadan House, Oke Aremo in an impressive ceremony.”
Also, a former governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi, described Mr Akinjide as a pride of Ibadan and the Nigerian society.
“I received with great sadness the transition of a legal luminary and an illustrious son of Ibadanland, Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide. Though he died at an advanced age of 88 years, his death still came as a rude shock to me and many other Nigerians who heard about it. As a legal icon, he was the pride of Ibadan and the Nigerian society, proving his worth at different legal fora.
“As a nationalist, he gave his best to the world of legal practice and the best came back to him in terms of recognition. He was indisputably recognized as a brilliant jurist and was deservedly accorded the honour. He was Queens Counsel (QC), a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a life bencher who brought his wealth of experience to the Nigerian Bar.
“As a statesman, he served his country diligently being Minister of Education in the first Republic and in the second republic, he was the Chief Legal Officer. Chief Akinjide would forever be remembered for his contribution to the body of knowledge in the legal profession with some prominent lawyers of today taking tutelage by his feet,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has also mourned the former justice minister.
PDP in a statement by its publicity secretary, Akeem Olatunji, described Mr Akinjide as a staunch party faithful and one of the founding fathers of PDP in Nigeria adding that he was a great pillar of the party in Oyo State.
The party stated that the death of the former attorney general of the federation was a big blow to the entire PDP family in Oyo and Nigeria at large.
PDP described the death of Mr Akinjide “as an irreplaceable loss” and prayed that God grant his family the fortitude to bear the irredeemable loss.
Similarly, the major opposition political party in the state, All Progressives Congress (APC), said Ibadan and Oyo State in general had lost another political titan.
APC publicity secretary, AbdulAzeez Olatunde, said “Mr Akinjide was one of the few illustrious sons of Ibadan whose brilliance was missed as Governor of Old Oyo State when political competition was issue based as he unarguably met his match in eventual winner of 1979 Governorship contest, Late Chief Bola Ige (SAN).”
“The demise of Chief Richard Akinjide has robbed Ibadan, Oyo State and Nigeria of another Political titan. This was a man who served Nigeria as Minister of Education in the First Republic in his twenties, just as he graduated in law.
“Chief Akinjide was one of the few illustrious sons of Ibadan whose brilliance was missed as Governor of Old Oyo State when political competition was issue based as he unarguably met his match in eventual winner of 1979 Governorship contest, Late Chief Bola Ige (SAN).
“There is no denying the Brilliance of someone who made Grade One Distinction with Aggregate 6 in passing out of Oduduwa College Ile Ife in late 40s before jetting out to United Kingdom in 1951 for his Law Degree.
“Chief Akinjide participated in a lot Constitutional Conferences and Judicial Reforms which evolved into what Nigeria’s development is today,” the party added.