By Josephine Agbonkhese
IT was a day of honour for the late legal luminary, late Emeritus Professor Adedokun Adebayo Adeyemi, as academics and legal luminaries in the country eulogised him at a special valedictory session organised to celebrate his life and times, especially his contributions to advancement of criminal law and justice delivery.
The programme held at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, saw the eminent Nigerians at the ocassion acknowledging his contribution to the development of law both locally and internationally, in his almost 50 years of service.
Among those who paid tributes to the legal icon, who died in November 2016, at the event organised by the institution’s Faculty of Law in collaboration with its School of Post-Graduate Studies and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, NIALS, were the Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Professor Rahamon Bello; Director General, NIALS, Professor Adedeji Adekunle; Dean, Faculty of Law, UNILAG, Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa; Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Professor Solomon Akinboye, and a host of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), who were taught by the late professor.
The vice chancellor who called for a professorial chair to immortalise the late professor, described late Adeyemi who died at age 76 as a man who imparted lives effortlessly. He said: “Even when he became Emeritus Professor, he did not stop imparting knowledge. His contribution to national life in terms of his contributions to legal development cannot be forgotten. If a chair can be instituted in his name, that will be what can be used to remember him for life because that chair will always be there. The nation can support that because indeed, all the laws he initiated are what we use for our own lives today. He was an expert of criminal law, whose impact was felt both in Nigeria, Africa and internationally.”
Meanwhile, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at late Adeyemi’s funeral service at Mapo, Ibadan, described the deceased as his father, friend and mentor, saying he was a loving creature, who would be greatly missed. “My later teacher lived an exemplary and fulfilled life,” he said.
Professor Atsenuwa, one of his successors, remembered the late professor for his efforts towards developing the capacity of junior colleagues by constantly exposing them to administrative responsibilities, as well as his contribution to national and international law.
According to Atsenuwa, “Nigeria has lost a well-respected intellectual; one that made the country a force to be reckoned with. Professor Adeyemi is perhaps to date the best known Nigerian Professor of Law with the greatest contribution to the United Nations System in the area of criminal justice and criminology.
“As the second Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies from 1984 to 1986, the legal colossus laid the legal framework for the institutional restructuring of the School of Postgraduate Studies along the lines we operated today,” recalled Professor Akinboye, Dean of School of Postgraduate Studies. For Professors Adekunle, Adeyemi, Taiwo Osinpintan (SAN) and Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN) also paid glowing tributes. His eldest daughter, Ms Aderonke Adeyemi, who spoke on behalf of the Adeyemi family, said Professor Adeyemi, though an academic, had a balanced life.
Other dignitaries at the occasion were the former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Adolphus G. Karibi-Whyte; Chairman, Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Mr. Kefas Magaji; Dean, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Demola Popoola.