The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) died Friday in Lagos according to a relative who confirmed that arrangements are on for his burial.
Born May 29, 193, Late Chief Ajayi was called to the bar at 24 and enrolled a SAN in 1978 along with Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Professor Ben Nwabueze and Chief Richard Akinjide.
Chief Godwin Olusegun Kolawole (G.O.K.) Ajayi, SAN, would be remembered for storming out of an Ikeja High Court, in protest against trial judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole’s refusal to stay proceedings in an eight-month old matter, in trial of a $242million advance fee fraud (a.k.a. 419 scam).
Called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in 1955 when he was only 24 years old and to the Nigerian Bar two years later, Ajayi, more popularly known by his initials “G.O.K.” has had a tremendously successful legal practice over the decades and is one of the very few practitioners whose pre-eminence in the profession has moved them beyond the portals of mere respectability to the shores of awe- inducing reverence.
In 1978, twenty-one years after he was called to the Nigerian Bar, G.O.K was made a silk, bagging the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in company of twelve other legal practitioners to wit:- 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.
So brilliant and trusted as a progressive and competent lawyer was he that he was the foremost legal warrior in the Second Republic for the Unity Party of Nigeria led by the immortal Obafemi Awolowo. He was the lead counsel in the famous 12 2/3 case Awolowo vs Shagari (presidential election dispute) in 1979 and was lead counsel in the equally famous 1983 political cases like Adekunle Ajasin v Omoboriowo (Ondo State Gubernatorial Election Dispute), Bola Ige v Victor Olunloyo (Oyo State Gubernatorial Election Dispute).
Earlier in 1981, he had successfully handled the landmark case of AbduRahman Shugaba v Minister of Internal Affairs. This was a curious case in which Shugaba the minority leader in the Borno State House of Assembly was suddenly arrested and deported to Chad by the National Party Nigeria controlled Federal Government on the grounds that the politician was never a Nigerian citizen.