How 1987 OAU law class impacted legal profession, society
The President of the University of Ife Law Class of 1987 Association, Mr. Caleb Arogundade has described his set as the class of distinction.
Arogundade re-emphasised that the set prides itself as the “Class of Distinction” because its members have distinguished themselves in the legal profession and positively impacted society.
He spoke during an event to honour four members of his set who achieved success in the profession.
The honourees were Justice of the Court of Appeal (JCA) Olabode Adegbehingbe, erstwhile Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN); newly elevated silk, Mr Robert Emukperuo, (SAN); and the dean, faculty of law, LASU, Prof Gbadebo Olagunju, who happens to be the latest professor produced by the class.
He noted that Justice Adegbehingbe JCA was the first to be appointed a Judge among the class members, having been appointed as a Judge of the Ondo State High Court in the year 2002. He is also one of the Judges recently elevated to the Court of Appeal.
He said: “This befitting appellation stemmed from the record of achievements of our members since our graduation from the University of Ife in July 1987. With all sense of humility, our class has eight Justices of the High Court nationwide and a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
“This class has produced eight Senior Advocates of Nigeria, and seven professors with two of them serving as current Deans at the Faculties of Law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU) and Lagos State University, (LASU) respectively.
“One of us has served as the Vice-Chancellor of a frontline university. Beyond the giant strides of our members in the Judiciary, Legal Practice, and Academia, members of this class have distinguished themselves as industrialists, private entrepreneurs, banking and insurance executives, reputable tax consultants, top civil servants, spiritual leaders, and top law practitioners. These achievers are all pulling their weights both at home and abroad.
“In the political arena, some of our members have held notable political offices and are still pulling their weights in various States of the Federation. As a matter of fact, as late as 1999, one of our members was Deputy Governor of Ondo State. Another member has served as a two-time Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ekiti State. We have had members at the National Assembly and some have served and are still serving in various capacities at various levels in Nigeria’s political landscape today. Our class is well represented in the Traditional Institutions as one of us is a revered monarch in a beautiful town in Ogun State.”
Justice Habeeb Abiru (JCA) chaired the event, which was well attended by members of the class across the world, while Prof Is-haq Oloyede was the guest speaker.
Oloyede, in his keynote speech, urged Nigerians to insist on credible leadership, adding that the impact of poor leadership reflects in the lingering dysfunctional educational system as well as the food insecurity and other concerns in Nigeria.
“The day Prof Oloyede returned billions to the coffers of the Federal Government, some Nigerians were saying who asked him to return the money? Who asked him? Money they are going to steal at the end of the day? Why did he return the money to the National Assembly for the money to be appropriated or re-appropriated? For the larger majority of Nigerians, money being appropriated by the National Assembly has little effect on their lives,” he said.
The honourees expressed joy and gratitude to their colleagues for the awards. They also reflected on national issues.
Justice Adegbehingbe urged Nigerians to insist on competent leadership.
“We must not just be talking about leadership, we must be talking about competent leadership and Nigeria must learn to put people in places where they can manifest their best competence. It is difficult for you to find fault with somebody who is competent. We must look for people who are competent,” he advised.
Prof. Olagunju harped on unity and advised Nigerians to do their best for the growth of the country.
“We don’t have another country. If it disintegrates today, where will 100 million-plus people run to? So, it means that we must all contribute our quota by ensuring that the country remains together,” Olagunju said.