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Bola Ige: The Luminary SAN

James Ajibola Idowu Ige was born on this day in 1930 in Osun state. He spent his formative years in Kaduna before moving to the then-western region when he was 14. After his education at the University of Ibadan, he headed to the University College, London where he graduated with a Law degree in 1959. In 1961, he was called to bar in London’s Inner Temple. That same year, he established Bola Ige and Co.

In 1967-1970, Ige was named the Commissioner of Agriculture of the Western Region under the Yakubu Gowon administration.


By the beginning of the Second Republic, he was appointed governor of Oyo state under the administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo. In 1983, he ran again under UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria) but lost to Dr Victor Olunloyo. Three months later, he was unseated by the coup staged by Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon.

Ige was arrested on the grounds of corruption but was released in 1985. In 1990, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) published People, Politics And Politicians of Nigeria: 1940–1979. One of the founding fathers of Aniferere (a socio-cultural organisation for the Yorubas), he was a critic of the military governments of Nigeria.

After Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, Bola Ige contested for president under the Alliance for Democracy. Between 1999 to 2000, President Obasanjo appointed the author minister of Mines and Power.

Between 2000-2001, he was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. One of his remarkable moves include: the constitution in digital form and fought against the Sharia law on adultery.

The orator was chosen as African’s Representative on the United Nations International Law Commission before he was murdered on the 23 of December in Ibadan.

17 years on, his killers are yet to be found.

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Bola Ige
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