Alhaji Abdul Gafar Bakare, former Confidential Secretary to Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo while he was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State has narrated his experience when he worked with him for eight years.
A devoted Muslim, Alhaji Bakare had been a secretary at the Lagos State Ministry of Justice prior to the appointment of Osinbajo in 1999. But the appointment changed his life forever. He said he was a trained Secretary with no university education. “Prof not only encouraged me to further my education even at my relatively old age, he personally sponsored my B.Sc Accounting programme and even sponsored my pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina”
Alhaji Bakare recalled that he was not the only beneficiary of Osinbajo’s large heart. “He also sponsored some of our colleagues who became Lawyers while others are into other professions”.
To him, “Prof. is a distinctive person that one needs to emulate. He is a contented man who accommodates any serious minded individual. Even with his present position he still gives recognition to those he knows before becoming Vice President.
I am most grateful to Allah for the opportunity of working with this kind and generous boss. I also count it as a privilege to express my views about my boss”.
Alhaji Bakare has since retired from the state civil service.
While in office as Hon. Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Osinbajo undertook far-reaching judicial reform in Lagos State, addressing critical areas as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training and discipline. The emoluments of Lagos judges witnessed and increase of more than 300 per cent, a situation that made the judges to earn more than Supreme Court Justices. The Federal and State governments soon followed the good example he laid to gibe better packages to judicial officers.
He also addressed access to justice for the poor by the establishment of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC), the first of its kind in Nigeria. These offices have now been replicated in all states across the Federation. He transformed the office as well as his immediate staff.