The body of Prince Bola Ajibola, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and ex-jurist of the International Court at The Hague, Netherlands, has finally been laid to rest in his hometown, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The remains of Ajibola were interred within the premises of the Islamic Mission for Africa, IMA, premises, Abiola Way Area of Abeokuta, the state capital after the Islamic Janazah prayer led by Chief Imam of Egbaland, Sheik Sa’dallah Bamgbola.
The burial was attended by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Ogun Deputy Governor, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Aremo Segun Osoba.
Others are the Chief Justice of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu and Chief Imam of Egbaland, Sheik Sa’dallah Bamgbola.
Ajibola, who was also a former High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Former Minister of Justice, died at midnight on Saturday, at 89. His eldest child Segun disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, in Abeokuta.
According to the statement, Ajibola, the founder of Crescent University, Abeokuta, died early Sunday.
“Truly to Allah we belong and unto Him is our final return.
“This is to announce the passing on of our revered and dearly beloved father, Judge Abdul-Jabbar Bolasodun Adesumbo Ajibola which occurred over midnight today, 9th April 2023.
“Judge Ajibola will always be remembered as an icon of Law and Judicature, an embodiment of both the Bar and the Bench.
“Judge Ajibola not only served nationally and internationally, he is warmly loved in his homestead of Abeokuta where he held the traditional title of Oluomo of Egbaland and Olori Omo Oba of Owu Kingdom.
“We pray that Almighty Allah will pardon his shortcomings, accept his return and grant him a lofty station among His honoured friends in Paradise (Jannatul Firdaws),” the statement read.
Born on 22 March 1934 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Ajibola attended Baptist Boys High School, Oke Saje, Abeokuta and the University of London.
Ajibola was the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) between 1984 and 1985.
He was the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of Nigeria from 1985 to 1991 and a Judge of the International Court of Justice, Hague, Netherlands from 1991 to 1994.
Ajibola was appointed the High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2002.
His passage has attracted glowing tributes from dignitaries across the country led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The President, in a condolence message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Sunday, in Abuja, commiserated with the legal community in Nigeria and worldwide over the death of the former minister.
He noted that the outstanding lawyer and eminent Jurist used his God-given knowledge, intellect and talent to advocate for justice, fairness and equity in all his undertakings within and outside Nigeria.
The President said the legendary arbitrator was at different times, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (1984-1985), President, The World Association of Judges, Chairman, Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria and President, World Bank Administrative Tribunal, among other notable accomplishments.
Buhari maintained that the late Ajibola, having risen to the pinnacle of his career, took his brilliance in law practice to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, where he served meritoriously between 1991 and 1994.
He was also the Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2002.
“His contributions to the development of our legal system cannot be overstated, serving as the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice at a critical period in the nation’s history.
”His patriotic inclinations, integrity and passion for service and advancement of humanity will continue to resonate after him,” the President said.
The President also sympathised with the government and people of Ogun State as they continue to mourn this illustrious citizen for the educational and social development he brought to his community and environs.
He prayed that the Almighty would grant him Aljannah.
Also, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun commiserated with President Muhammadu Buhari and the nation’s judiciary on the death of Ajibola in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, in Abeokuta.
Abiodun described Ajibola’s death as a big loss to the judiciary, saying his legacies in the judiciary, philanthropy and educational development would never be forgotten.
The governor also commiserates with the Owu Royal Family of the former Minister of Justice, his friends, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as members of the Baptist Boys’ High School Old Students Association.
He described the legal icon’s death as “saddening, devastating and the end of an era.”
He added that the death of the illustrious son of the state, a celebrated jurist and judicial activist, public intellectual and elder statesman was a severe blow to everyone who knew him.
“Words can not adequately convey my heartfelt sorrow over Papa’s death, for he was a kind and beautiful soul who spread love to all who encountered him,” he said.
The governor recalled that Ajibola, after serving as President of the Nigerian Bar Association, also served as the nation’s number one Law Officer, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
He noted that Ajibola also answered the call of higher duties at the International Court of Justice, Hague, Netherlands.
“He was a jewel of the Law Profession and an accomplished judicial officer of prodigious hue. Baba was a go-getter who delivered on any assignment committed to his hands because of his belief that service should always come first.
“Besides, he was a great religious influencer and philanthropist who established the faith-based Crescent University in his hometown, Abeokuta,” he said.
The governor, however, urged the Olowu of Owu, Oba Saka Matemilola, the Olowu-in-Council, sons and daughters of the Ajibola lineage and the entire Gbadela Royal Dynasty of Owu to be consoled by the fact that the deceased selflessly served God, humanity during his impactful life.
“On behalf of the government and people of Ogun State, I commiserate with the immediate family of the deceased on this very huge loss.
“May the Almighty Allah grant the family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss,” Abiodun said.