At 64, Olanipekun basks in philanthropy
LIFE, according to Indian philosopher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, finds its purpose and fulfilment in the expansion of happiness. But only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contributions, as asserted by a motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfilment. In other words, fulfilment can be defined by the number of people one is able to assist to accomplish their purpose in life, as opposed to what psychologists call narcissism: an exceptional interest in and admiration for only yourself.
Chief Oluwole Oladapo Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who is 64 years old today publicly declared in Lagos recently that with all God has done for him, the number of people who have fulfilled destinies in life, as well as the recent elevation of his son to the Inner Bar, he felt fulfilled in life. Olanipekun spoke at a dinner organised in celebration of his son, Dr. Oladapo Olumide Olanipekun who was among the legal practitioners recently conferred with the prestigious Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN ) title. Arguably, Dr. Dapo Olanipekun is the youngest SAN in the country today, sharing the title with his father who attained the same feat in 1991. But he clearly has surpassed his father in academic attainment with his Doctorate degree in Law.
The former Nigerian Bar Association President is indeed a fulfilled man given his own legacies, contributions and achievements in life. Olanipekun has been generally acknowledged as a gift to humanity whose ministry, tellingly, positively affects his generation and the next.
I knew Chief Olanipekun in 2002 when the Ikere-Ekiti born legal icon became the NBA president at Cultural Centre, Mokola, Ibadan. Olanipekun has since then, become a study in many respects. He was appointed the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Ibadan between 2009 and 2013.
Between then and now, Olanipekun has remained an enigma, one of the few erudite and most accomplished legal practitioners. Now, with all his four children becoming legal practitioners and the eldest stepping into the father’s shoes, what more can define life’s accomplishment and fulfilment? Dr. Dapo Olanipekun lectures at the Law Faculty of University of Lagos and has successfully handled many cases.
As a Christian, Chief Olanipekun reveals true humility. He is always ready to help others by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts. He carries out act of kindness with no expectation of reward. He has given hope to the hopeless such that those who would ordinarily not have imagined going to school are today, graduates, courtesy of Wole Olanipekun Scholarship Scheme which he instituted many years back.
Olanipekun believes education is the only weapon with which poverty could be crushed. During his tenure in UI as the Council Chairman, he never collected his stipends running into millions of naira. Rather, he directed that the money be given as scholarships to students in Law, Medicine and Computer Science. He spent a lot of his resources to enrich the University. One of his highest contributions to the University, apart from the 350 capacity lecture theatre, was his donation of the sum of N10 million to cushion the effect of the 2011 flood disaster experienced by the institution.
In recognition of his phenomenal kindness, the University, last year honoured him with an Honorary Degree of Law (LL.D). The Federal Government of Nigeria also honoured him with the award of Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR) in 2012. What more can bring fulfilment in life than a national acknowledgment of one’s relevance and importance?
Today, at 64, Olanipekun is challenging the youths to embrace the culture of hardwork and integrity. In a recent interview, the legal luminary said “without hardwork and discipline, it is difficult to be a top professional. I do not believe in excuses, I believe in hardwork as prime solvent of life’s problems. To me, there is simply no substitute for hardwork when it comes to achieving success.” Will this generation of fast food and microwave mentality listen to an avatar of due diligence?
Born in Ikere Ekiti, Ekiti State on November 18, 1951, Chief Olanipekun attended Amonye Grammar School, Ikere Ekiti between 1965 and 1969 where he obtained the West African School Certificate (WASC). His academic brilliance informed his appointment as the Senior Prefect. He proceeded to Ilesha Grammar School in 1970 from where he obtained the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 1971.
At Ilesha Grammar School, the young Olanipekun manifested his innate leadership qualities, thus becoming the Editor-in-Chief of the school magazine (The Spike). He was also the chairman, Students Representative Committee in 1971. In 1972, he gained admission into University of Lagos where he bagged the Bachelor of Law degree in 1975. He attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos from 1975 and 1976 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1976. He was a junior counsel in the firm of Messrs Oniyangi & Co Ilorin between 1977 and 1979. In 1980, he became the Principal Partner of Messrs Wole Olanipekun & Co. Perhaps one can only remind Chief Olanipekun of what God says concerning him and his like in the book of Isaiah 3:10, “Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.”
• Saanu is with the Directorate of Public Communication , University of Ibadan.