By Dele Adesina SAN
It is a great honour for me to write this short tribute to a great woman of value and virtue, a trailblazer and a pace-setter, who was conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria 40 years ago.
This makes her the very first woman to wear the silk and sit at the Inner Bar. Success does not come by chance. Nobody ever succeeds by accident. Chief Folake Solanke SAN planned to succeed and she has succeeded. Her success story validates the statement that “you think of where you are going to be tomorrow today, otherwise you don’t get there.” Of course, like I say quite often, your picture determines your future.
Let me say with all sense of responsibility that the Honouree’s autobiography titled “Reaching for the Stars” is an eloquent testimony that once you are determined to succeed, you are unstoppable.
From the beginning of the beginning, to be a Star was her goal. To be a pace-setter was her ambition. Today, it is beyond any controversy that she has not only reached the Stars, she has become one of the Stars, not only in the legal profession but in life generally. Also, the book “The Trailblazer”, a selection of essays in her honour, is another evidence of her identity.
Indeed, Chief Mrs. Folake Solanke is a trailblazer, a legal icon and an astute, erudite, well-groomed personality.
Always well spoken and impeccably dressed. You want to know what is the regulation dress at any legal function, just look for her. A quintessential Legal Practitioner. Chief Folake Solanke SAN is strikingly a role model, not just in the profession but also in life. She wears the ethics of the profession like a garment. She is a personification of nobility, honour and integrity.
She carries herself with visible and demonstrable Grace, candour, radiance and self-confidence. I can never exhaust the desire to speak about this graceful lady of profound stature and immense moral and ethical standards. These among other things were responsible for ensuring that I succeeded in making her the chairperson of my three-in-one events in February 2018 in Lagos.
Learned Chief, 40 years at the Inner Bar, the 1st Lady Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and 89 years (few days to come), you keep increasing because of the value you are adding to people. You are a great value addition and a patriot to the profession and to the Nation. Patriots are custodians of nations, custodians of conscience and guardians of civilisation. You remain a Patriot, a Star, a Pace-setter and a Trailblazer.
We owe it to ourselves and to our Profession to follow the footsteps of this great giant of the Legal Profession, in learning, in character and in integrity. We must, as lawyers, raise our head high at all times. We must believe in ourselves. We must be assertive. And we must be self-confident. These are some of the fruits of Chief Folake Solanke SAN, a woman of sartorial elegance.
My Learned Chief, I celebrate with you whole-heartedly on your 40 years Anniversary of your call to the Inner Bar, March 5, 2021 and your forth-coming 89th Birthday. May God’s Grace continue to rest upon you and prosper you, Spirit, Soul and Body. As your days, so shall your strength be.
Happy Birthday in advance.
Dele Adesina SAN, FCIArb, Past General Secretary, NBA, and Life Member, Body of Benchers, wrote this tribute to celebrate Chief Mrs Solanke’s 40 years at the inner bar, and 89th birthday