Osogbo – Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun on Friday in Osogbo declared three days of mourning following the death of eminent jurist Justice Kayode Esho.
Aregbesola, who made the announcement at a special sitting in honour of the legal icon at the state House of Assembly, also said that the state government would fly the flag half mast.
The governor described Esho’s death as very painful and shocking, stressing that he was an incorruptible judge known for judicial activism in the legal profession.
“The exit of the legal icon is sad and we pray against such unfortunate incident. His life was dedicated to both the rich and the poor and he was a patriot par excellence,” he said.
Aregbesola said that Esho served humanity and God and he was a great ambassador whose death would be a huge loss to the anti-corruption crusade and the legal profession.
In his own address, Mr Najeem Salaam, Speaker of the House expressed pain on the demise of Esho, who he described as world class jurist, eminent scholar and a honest judge.
The Speaker said, “the ‘legal legend’ was not just any jurist or legal mind but a special breed who exhibited honesty, integrity and the virtues of ‘Omoluabi’ (the virtuous)”.
The daughter of the deceased Mrs Funmilayo Esho-Williams, Special Adviser to the Governor on Women Affairs said that the death of her father really upset her.
Esho Williams, who spoke on phone from the UK, said that her father was a loving, kind and generous person whose death had opened a vacuum that would be difficult to fill.
Also commenting, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, former Minister of Transport under the military regime, said that Esho’s death had thrown the whole country into a mourning session.
Babatope, who said that the late jurist was his uncle in the family circle, described him as a forthright, brilliant and honest man as well as flawless in his judicial decisions.
The Minister of State for Defence, Mrs Olusola Obada, in her own condolence message said: “Esho was my first and foremost uncle in whom am well pleased.
“He was my father figure whose immense contribution to my life ever remains indelible.
He was a distinguished jurist who served the nation meritoriously without any blemish.
“Kayode Esho, was a brilliant judge and a great patriot whose style of judgment will for long remain a reference point in the nation’s judicial system,” he said.
Esho, who was born in Ilesa died at 87, attended Trinity College Dublin and graduated with a Bachelor and Master of Law degrees in 1953 and 1956 respectively.
He had displayed courage in notable cases, including the celebrated trial of Prof. Wole Soyinka, in which he declared the Nobel Laureate not guilty in an alleged offensive role in a broadcast.
The deceased also played a prominent role in the post election litigation involving the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and former President Shehu Shagari in 1979, among many others. (NAN)