*The DEFENDER Board reacts
*He was a Baobab Tree of all climes – Our Reporter
*Profile of late Bola Ajibola
By BASHIR ADEFAKA
One of few The DEFENDER Newspaper’s biggest backers and former Judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands, Prince Abdul-Jabbar Adesumbo Bolashodun Ajibola, popularly called Bola Ajibola (SAN), has passed away.
Judge Ajibola, first President ever of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), former Nigerian Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, passed away midnight on Sunday Ramadan 18th, 1444 A.H. equivalent to April 9, 2023 at the age of 89.
The Founder and Proprietor of Crescent University in Abeokuta, Nigeria, Ajibola, died after a protracted sickness emanating from old age, and leaving behind very highly successful family and legacies across board.
Barrister Maruf Adesegun Ajibola (SAN), the late jurist eldest child, announced the death of the quintessentially uncommon world class leader and Muslim personality rated among first 500 in the world, in a statement in Abeokuta on Sunday.
Segun Ajibola (SAN) wrote, “With very deep heart and gratitude to Almighty Allah.
“Our Dad, Prince Bola Ajibola, departed this world over midnight. May Almighty Allah bless him with Aljanah Firdaus.”
Like the death of Alhaji Kola Animasaun, the late Journalism icon and former Chairman Editorial Board of Vanguard Newspapers who died in Ramadan 27, 1440 A.H. equivalent to May 30, 2019, Prince Bola Ajibola’s death will continue to leave the management team of The DEFENDER Newspaper in perpetual pains as his role in the moral, fatherly and economic development of the Nigeria’s fast growing only multi-lingual (print/online) newspaper is one that cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
The AIG Mu’azu Idris Hadeija (Rtd)-led Advisory Board of The DEFENDER Newspaper has mourned the shocking death of the Olori Omo Oba of Owu Kingdom, who in many sections of the international legal iconism is indisputably considered to be a Baobab Tree known as Igi Araba in Yoruba parlance.
“The fact that he died in the month of Ramadan is a testimony that Allah has accepted his great, good and sincere works on the surface of the earth.
“May Allah forgive his sins, pardon his shortcomings and repose his soul in Al-Jannah Firdaus, Amiin,” AIG Hadeija said.
We report that Bola Ajibola, at whose instance the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s Presidency sited one of three Federal Universities of Agriculture in Abeokuta, served Nigeria as Minister for six years, six months and three weeks without collecting salaries.
Profile of late Bola Ajibola
His Excellency Late Judge Bola Abdul Jabbar Ajibola, (SAN, KBE, D.Sc,D.Litt,FNIALS,FCIArb,CFR)
Born on 22nd March, 1934 to the Owu Royal Family, His Excellency Judge Bola Abdul Jabbar Ajibola attended Owu Baptist Day School, Ago Owu and Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, Ogun State for his primary and secondary school education between 1942 and 1955. In 1958, he was enrolled at Holborn College of Law, University of London from where he graduated in 1962 with a degree in law before he was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn on 27 November 1962.
He was President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), 1984-1985 and Attorney-General/Minister of Justice (1985-1991). From there, he moved to the International Court of Justice, Den Hague, Netherlands. After a three-year stint at the World Court in 1994, he further served as Judge Ad Hoc of the World Court from 1994 to 2002. He was appointed Judge of the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also served as the Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom between 1999 and 2002.
He was Chairman of Nigerian delegation to the Nigerian-Cameroon Mixed Commission on the Bakassi Peninsula. Prince Ajibola served as Vice President and later President of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal from 1994 to 2005; President, World Association of the World Jurists and Arbitrator, Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Dispute Commission.
A voracious reader, prolific writer, renowned administrator, jurist and arbitrator of global acclaim, Prince Ajibola has attended numerous international conferences and has held international positions and arbitration assignments too numerous to mention here. In his professional career, he has provided outstanding legal consultancy services to several companies including Avon Cosmetics Limited; Masms Solicitors and Co. of London; Exxon, Houston, Texas, USA and Arthur Anderson and Co., London and Lagos.
In recognition of his outstanding imprints on the sands of time, Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto, awarded him Doctor of Literature (D. Litt) in 2003 while the Federal University of Agriculture conferred on him an Honorary Doctor of Agriculture (D. Agric) in 2004. As the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice between 1985 and 1991, he never took home a salary, asking that same should be distributed to the coffers of Federal Government (35%), Nigerian Bar Association (25%) and Charitable/humanitarian organisations (40%). The first Nigerian to be so selfless.
He also founded African Concern, a non-governmental organisation in Lusaka, Zambia in May, 1995 to promote peace, justice and harmony among peoples of Africa in order to eradicate the problems of refugees arising from political conflicts and natural disasters. This, he accomplished in association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to give succour to refugees in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda.
Prince Ajibola, an altruist, founded Islamic Mission for Africa in 1996, which gave birth to Crescent University, Abeokuta, a visionary initiative capable of building a new generation of graduates imbued with industry, moral uprightness and diligence as well as the inculcation of spiritual redevelopment in young men and women.
Furthermore, the reputed legal icon and Islam’s ambassador has to his credit other awards and honours among which are: Knight of the Order of British Empire (KBE), 1989; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitration (FCIArb); World Jurist Award 1987; Senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), 1986; Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR) among others.
Judge Bola Ajibola is the Founder/Proprietor, Crescent University, Abeokuta. Built on the pedestal of knowledge and faith, the university was established as a private academic institution under the banner of Islamic Mission for Africa(IMA).
It was established in consonance with her doctrine and vision: learning and character. The operating licence from the Federal Government of Nigeria was obtained from National Universities Commission(NUC) on June 9, 2005 by the then Minister of Education, Mrs Chinwe Nora Obaji.
Judge Bola Ajibola founded the university after selling his assets both in Nigeria and abroad to achieve the noble cause of assisting the Nigerian populace in closing the widening gap between attainable potential students’ population and limited space in public universities.Of his vision,accomplishment of Crescent University is the ultimate.
The university which prides itself as Citadel of Academic and Moral Excellence has graduated 12 sets at undergraduate level and 5 sets at Master’s level.Today,many of these products are performing excellently well both in further studies and employment.Some of them who made First Class in their first degree have also clinched Distinction/PhD grades in their MSc programmes abroad and government-owned universities in Nigeria.Only recently,Adedeji Ajayi,who bagged his BSc and MSc degrees from Crescent University got a keenly contested appointment as a senior journalist (Planning) with the British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) while employers of labour have consistently lauded Crescent University products for good conduct.
This is, in fact, in concord with Judge Ajibola’s mission that “we are not out to produce brilliant beasts but global citizens” who will bring about peaceful coexistence among nations of the world.