16th August, 2010
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Sunday described the death of the oldest Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), Prince Tanimose Bankole-Oki, as a blow to the crusade for true federalism in Nigeria.
Bankole-Oki, who was until his death, the Chairman, Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria and life member of the Body of Benchers, was a recipient of two national honours â€“ Officer of the Order of Niger (1976) and Commander of the Order of Niger (2004).
He died at the age of 91 years on Aug. 13 during a brief illness at his Waziri Ibrahim Crescent residence in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Extolling the legal icon, the outgoing NBA President, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) said Bankole-Oki was a legal giant under whose feet a countless number of equally resourceful and successful practitioners cut their teeth.
â€œHe was one of the rare breed of lawyers trained in the best traditions of the Bar. His work experience spanned several decades of painstaking tutelage, mentoring and practice in and out of government.
â€œA combination that is very rare these days. He was also an embodiment of discipline, decorum and strict compliance to the ethics of the legal profession,â€ Akeredolu said in a statement emailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that Bankole-Okiâ€™s life, which was dedicated to the enthronement of genuine federalism, would remain a veritable lesson for the Bar, Lagos State and the country in general.
While acknowledging that Bankole-Okiâ€™s life was exemplary and devoid of arrogance, Akeredolu prayed to God to grant the late SANâ€™s family the fortitude to bear the loss.
A former Minister, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, said: â€œWe have lost a great Nigerian, he will be missed virtually in all spheres especially in the legal profession.â€
Bankole-Oki, who was conferred with SAN in 1978, was the first Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in Lagos State and a former Director of Public Prosecutions in the defunct Western Region.
He also served as the Commissioner for Boundary Settlement in Western State and was called to the English Bar in 1950.
NAN reports that eminent Nigerians who called at his residence included Otunba Adekunle Ojora and his wife; an industrialist, Chief Samuel Adedoyin and Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi.
They were received by Mrs. Lolade Oki, wife of the deceased and his daughter, Ms. Shade Bankole-Oki, a lawyer.