Tribute to Otunba Yomi Oshikoya (1933-2018)
• Nigeria’s Foremost Aviation Lawyer
Sir Otunba Yomi Oshikoya, who died on Boxing Day at the ripe age of 85 years, was Nigeria’s foremost aviation lawyer. He was born in Lagos on September 4, 1933 into the Royal families of the Anoko Royal Ruling House of Sagamu Remo Land and the Rademo Royal Ruling House of Ikorodu and also the Ajisebutu Dynasty of Ayanbadejo Royal Ruling House of Ikorodu.
A legal practitioner of note, he attended Holy Cross Catholic School and Eko Boys High School, both in Lagos, before proceeding to England for further studies. While in England, he attended North Western Polytechnic London and later Holborn College of Law, London, where he obtained his LLB (Hons) degree as an external student of the University of London. He was eventually called to the English bar in 1963 as a Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple.
On completion of his legal studies he was engaged as a tax officer at the Surtax office Hinchleywood Surrey, England, as a Legal Assistant in the Legal Department of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, White Hall, London, before he returned to Nigeria in 1966. Upon his return to Nigeria in 1966, he enrolled at the Nigerian Law School and was eventually called to bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria that same year.
Back in Nigeria, he first worked for British Petroleum (now AP) as an Assistant Legal Officer and Property Superintendent. He later moved to Nigeria Airways Limited and rose to the position of Company Secretary and Director of Legal Affairs respectively, between 1974 and 1985. He also acted as the managing director of the defunct airline.
Upon leaving Nigeria Airways, he became actively engaged in mainstream legal practice, having previously set up the law firm of Yomi Oshikoya & Co. in 1984. In 1992, he was appointed Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Lagos State under the regime of late Sir Michael Otedola.While in public office, he was: A member of the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission; Chairman of the Lagos State Council of Prerogative of Mercy; Member and Occasional Chairman of the Lagos State Government Tenders Board and a member of the Body of Benchers.
Upon completing his assignment as Attorney General of Lagos State, he once again returned to active legal practice, specializing particularly in aviation matters, having garnered extensive exposure and experience in civil aviation matters during his stint at Nigeria Airways. He started to build his practice by excelling himself as a resource person and presenting several papers on aviation law and practice. He then tapped into and built upon the several relationships he had already established with international affiliates in the aviation business abroad. Within a short period of time, whenever these affiliates needed an opinion or lawyer to act for them in Nigeria, Yomi Oshikoya & Co. became their first point of call. The extent of his domination of the aviation sector in legal practice reflected in the fact that out of about 20 aircraft accidents in
Nigeria in recent years, Yomi Oshikoya and Co. has handled 18 of these aircraft accident claims.
Some of the Aircraft Accident Claims handled as the Correspondent for Overseas Solicitors to Foreign Insurers/London Underwriters include:
• Oriental Airlines accident of September 19, 1994 at Tamaraset, Algeria.
• Nigeria Airways accident of November 13, 1995 at Kaduna State, Nigeria
• Ethiopia airlines accident of November 23, 1996 at Comoros Island.
• Aero Contractors of Nigeria – Emergency Evacuation Incident of October 24, 2010.
• Dana Airlines accident of June 3, 2012 at Iju Ishaga, Lagos State.
• Advising foreign Insurers on insurance claims with regards to the Nigerian Presidential Air Fleet/Coverage (Incident on 16th November 2016, NAF Base, Makurdi).
• Defence and Advisory Counsel of Foreign Insurers of Cargo Airline(s) Claims and accidents (i.e. Avient Cargo Airlines 2012 to date, Veteran Avia-Accident at Abuja (Air Claims) December 3, 2013 to 2015).
Otunba Oshikoya also attended several seminars and conferences in the UK, USA, Europe, Middle-East and in Nigeria on a wide range of aviation related legal matters. He was also one of Nigeria’s principal Consultants in the sale and lease of aircrafts including negotiating and preparing documentation with regard to such transactions. Otunba Yomi Oshikoya was also honoured and conferred with several chieftaincy titles and was, until his passing, the Chairman of the Honourary Otunbas in Ikorodu. He was a devout Christian who was also a member and former President of the Men’s Christain League, Hoares Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Yaba as a well as member of Wesley Guild.
He leaves behind his wife of several years – Princess M. F. Oshikoya (the daughter of His Royal Majesty, late Oba Moses S. Awolesi). The marriage was blessed with six children, three of who are lawyers and partners in the law firm he successfully built over the years.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.
• Kola-Balogun, a legal practitioner, is his son-in-law
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