Adebonajo Badejo (SAN): Tribute to a brilliant, affable legal luminary
On June 6, 2020, we woke up to a very sad message on our Nigeria Law School Class of 1980 WhatsApp forum, posted by our learned colleague, Prof. Koyinsola Ajayi (SAN), which read as follows: “With great sadness in my heart, tears streaming down my face, anguish in my soul, I announce the most untimely passage to glory of Bonajo Badejo (SAN)!!!”
The impact of this message was severe and heavy, as it awakened our consciousness to the reality, finality and unpredictable nature of death….
“A necessary end, which will come when it will come”- Shakespeare in “Julius Caesar.” When Prof. Ajayi and I were requested to write tributes in honour of our departed classmate and colleague, memories of our old school days in the university, some 44 years ago, came flooding in torrents.
I met Adebonajo Badejo (SAN) in 1976 at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (the great citadel of learning and culture), now known as Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun State, where we had both been admitted as undergraduates for the LLB (Hons) Degree in Law.
Badejo or Bona, as we simply called him was at that time, a young impressionable youth of about 16 years, with a roundish, handsome and ever smiling face. He was one of the brightest students in our class, very simple, unassuming and cheerful.
He attended lectures regularly and would as soon as lectures were over, proceed to the University Central Library to conduct his extra private research and compile a comprehensive evaluation and analytical report on each topic of the various courses taught each day! His research compendium became legal authorities of sorts and were greatly sought after by his classmates, who wanted additional information on each new topic. He was astute, meticulous and had quite a fascinating and organized mental process.
By his distinctive approach to legal scholarship, Badejo became a rallying point for evening tutorial lessons and brainstorming sessions in the law auditorium or study rooms in the University’s College of Humanities.
Badejo read Law in the University of Ife throughout with National Scholarship, graduating in 1979 with a Second Class (Upper Division). He was called to the outer Bar and enrolled in the Supreme Court of Nigeria in July 1980 to practice as a solicitor and advocate.
By dint of hard-work, consistency and excellence in the practice of our noble profession, coupled with his dedication and devotion to the principles and ethics of the profession, he was admitted to the inner Bar in 2010 as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and decorated with the long wig and silk gown.
Adebonajo Badejo (SAN) was a fine and noble gentleman with a confident aura and a charming personality. He was, indeed, a rare gem in the legal profession. Badejo was an epitome of humility and selflessness. He was a genius in comparative Company Law and distinguished himself as a brilliant Solicitor and Advocate, having been firmly grounded in the renowned Lagos Law firm of Burke and Company, international consultants in trademarks, patents and business transactions. He was an intellectual pundit and a brilliant scholar par excellence, who lived a life of goodness and Godliness until he breathed his last on June 5, 2020.
Borrowing the words of the famous playwright, William Shakespeare in his 1599 tragedy “Julius Caesar”: “His life was gentle and the elements so well mixed in him, that nature might stand up and say to all the world, This Was A Man!”
A plethora of effusive accolades, tributes and condolence messages by our colleagues and classmates of the Nigerian Law School Class of 1980 to Bonajo Badejo (SAN) following his sad demise, are reproduced hereunder as follows:
• “I remember him from our early days in litigation practice in Lagos. Very friendly. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen! – Professor Peter Umeadi (former Chief of Judge of Anambra State).
• What a shock! It hurts to hear that our friend, erudite colleague and learned silk, Bonajo has suddenly surrendered his mortal frame. We will definitely miss his charming personality and kindly disposition – Olufemi Ifaturoti Esq
• Great friend, brilliant advocate! Good night. May your soul rest in peace! – Offiong Offiong (SAN)
• Oh what a sad loss of a true gentleman and minister of the Lord. May his soul rest in peace!— Edem Esq
• A gentleman extraordinary! – Joseph Daudu (SAN)
• Oh my God!! This is devastating. He was a fine gentleman! – Justice Sumbo Goodluck
• Oh my gosh! What a great and painful passage of a nice and lively buddy! A veritable and altruistic knight of the Methodist Church” —Adedayo Mobolaji Esq (Mozagetty)
• “A very quiet easy- going person that was Bonnie. May his soul rest in perfect peace! Amen”— Funsho Fabunmi Esq
• “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow for what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for little time, and then vanisheth away” – James 4:14 KJV – “Life Is Indeed A Vapor” – Aleruchi Cookey – Gam
• He died with Christ in him! Good night Bona, my brother and a friend, indeed — Moses Okocha Esq
• “So, so sad. Bonajo was a real gentleman, an astute lawyer, a cautious silk, who knew his onions— Justice Yetunde Idowu
•Bonajo was a cheerful, bubbly and sociable gentleman”— Kunle Carew Esq
• “This is shocking and unbelievable. Badejo, “My friend o”. When we met last at the Court of Appeal before the lockdown, …I never knew that was the last. Truly, a complete gentleman! — Johnson Esezoobo Esq
• “A sad day, God knows the best. He will be sorely missed. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in perfect peace! – Prof Epiphany Azinge (SAN). Adieu Badejo! A true Christian soldier! Now, be still and rest in peace!!! We shall miss you sorely, but will remember you fondly!!!