The passing away of Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN came to me as a great shock. I am still trying to grapple with the fact that the great legal luminary and a mentor to me has departed this world.
Chief Richard O. A. Akinjide, SAN was an international and national legal luminary who had a great passion for legal practice. He made his mark in the legal profession both in England and Nigeria. He studied Law in England and was called to the English Bar in 1955. Upon his return to Nigeria, he was appointed minister of Education during the first Republic in the administration of Alhaji Tafewa Balewa and was later appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation during the second Republic in the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He later became the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) between 1970 – 1973.
Chief Richard O. A. Akinjide, SAN was not only an outstanding legal practitioner but was also an outstanding politician. He was a devoted Bar man, well respected and loved by everyone that came across him especially by all of us in the legal profession.
I had my first encounter with Chief Richard O. A. Akinjide, SAN in 2008 when I was the Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Branch. The Lagos Branch Exco paid a courtesy visit to the late legal luminary and we had an interactive session with him. Chief Richard O. A. Akinjide, SAN informed us of the need for lawyers to pay insurance premium annually in order for them to be allowed to practice law in the country as it is done in developed countries. For instance, in England where he also practiced Law, lawyers pay for practice insurance annually and when a lawyer is found guilty of a negligent act, it is the insurance company of the lawyer that pays the victim for the lawyer’s negligent act and not the lawyer himself. He took his time to show us his policy for that year without which he will not be able to practice for the year. After the interactive session we had with Chief Richard O. A. Akinjide, SAN, we had the privilege of being taken round the Chambers by the great legal luminary himself. It was indeed an awesome experience and an encounter I will never forget in a hurry.
Through dedication to practice and hardwork, Chief Richard O. A. Akinjide, SAN was one of the Best Senior Advocates that legal profession ever had.
Chief Richard O. A. Akinjide, SAN will not only be missed by his family but will also be greatly missed by his community, legal profession, political class and the whole world at large. I pray God grants everybody the fortitude to bear this great and irreparable loss especially his immediate family that he left behind.