The Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN at the weekend reiterated his total commitment to the course of justice in Nigeria with a vow: “if it remains one minute for me to compromise the course of justice or that of my clients, may God call me home”.
Since July 2022, the NBA under the leadership of Mr. Olumide Akpata has mounted pressure on Chief Olanipekun to recuse himself from his chairmanship of BoB on allegations that a partner in his Chambers wrote a letter soliciting for a brief. Despite the fact that the said partner dissociated him from the letter and that the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) threw out the allegations as baseless, the incumbent NBA President, Yakubu Maikyau SAN in December 2022, asked the Chairman again to recuse himself from presiding over the call to bar of new wigs just graduating from the Nigerian Law School. The body however rejected his call, and he eventually boycotted the call to the bar.
All through the controversy, Chief Olanipekun who had remained silent over the issue on Thursday opened up and said he has never and will never use his position to compromise the course of justice. “If it remains a minute for me to compromise the course of justice may God call me home”. He said this during the dedication of the multi-million naira court complex he donated to Ekiti State government in his home town, Ikere-Ekiti.
This is just as the NBA Ikere-Ekiti branch dissociated the branch from campaign of calumny against Olanipekun whom they called their mentor.
Waxing spiritually at the event, Chief Olanipekun said: “The legal profession constitutes my natural habitat; and through the profession, which I believe is my calling, my own ministry from the Almighty God through which I have bountifully received grace, favour, mercy, blessings and benevolence from the Creator. It is the ministry God has blessed me with to make my own contributions to mankind. Everyone has their ministry. May the day never come that I will compromise my calling”.
He said: “The Holy Writ makes it clear that whatever we have, whatever we possess, whatever we own and whatever we achieve or attain comes from God, the creator of the earth and all those who dwell therein. He is also the one who blesses, prospers and endows us with all our possessions. No wonder it is written that there is nothing we have that has not been given. Arising from the foregoing is the fact that the totality of our being should be lived and geared towards appreciating God for His benevolence, as the one who gives all, through his awesome grace”.
However, the Chairman of the Ikere-Ekiti NBA branch, Dr Michael Sunday Afolayan, has dissociated his branch from the campaign of calumny against Olanipekun. “I have the resolution and mandate of the branch to inform the whole world that Chief Olanipekun remains our standard bearer, leader, and moral ambassador. NBA Ikere-Ekiti branch will therefore never be a part to any agenda to rubbish, witch-hunt, or label this icon any name which is intended to lower his reputation in the legal profession”.
The governor of Ekiti State, Mr Biodun Oyebanji extolled the virtues of Olanipekun, particularly his integrity and numerous contributions to the development of Ekiti State. “Apart from Aare Afe Babalola SAN, there’s no other known person that has contributed more to the development of Ekiti State”, Oyebanji said.
The Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice John Oyewole Adeyeye narrated how Olanipekun built the complex within four months and four days. “When the setting of the structure by way of pegging of the building was performed on September 15, 2022, little was known that the commissioning of the same in a fully furnished state would come up within a space of four months and four days. That the project was delivered within such a record time is not only a testimony to determination and commitment but also a manifestation of a promise kept”, Justice Adeyeye said.
The court comprises of two courtrooms, library, Judges chambers, Conference rooms, registry, pre trial room, changing rooms for lawyers, exhibit room, general office, holding cell, toilets, cashier’s office, and Generator. The two courts were named after Justice Emmanuel Ogundare, and Justice Olajide Olatawure, two Ekiti born jurists that got to the pinnacle of the judiciary as Supreme Court Justices. The library is named after Aare Afe Babalola SAN, foremost lawyer from Ekiti and founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti.
Chief Olanipekun made it clear that the complex has become the property of Ekiti State Judiciary. “May state it loud and clear that this court complex neither belongs to the law firm of Wole Olanipekun and Co, nor my person. It remains forever the property of the Ekiti State Judiciary, vested in it in perpetuity”, the chief said.
Olanipekun’s footprints are all over his hometown; a feat attributed to his family background. His father, Late Pa Isaac Olanipekun could not be described as rich in material things, but his service and dedication to God was remarkable. For 17 years, Pa Olanipekun who passed on in 1999, served at St. Peter’s Church, Ikere Ekiti, sweeping the floor, planting flowers and cutting grasses without collecting salaries. No wonder his son, Oluwole built the vicarage of the church in his memory in 2012 signifying the blessings of God over the sacrifices and service of the father.
Earlier in 2007, Chief Olanipekun built a Computer Laboratory hub fully equipped with laptop and desktop computers for his Alma mater, Amoye Grammar School, Ikere-Ekiti. The hub was further refurbished in 2019.
In 2014, Chief Olanipekun built a 350-capacity Bar Centre for the NBA Ikere-Ekiti branch, and in August, 2019, he purchased a brand new 16-capacity bus for the Branch.
In 2015, he built and donated the Iyaafin Abosede Amenity Ward with the state-of-the-art facilities, to the Ekiti State government within the premises of the State Specialist Hospital, Ikere-Ekiti.
On February 18, 2020, the multi-million naira and architectural masterpiece church building he built for the same St. Peter’s Anglican Church was dedicated. It was a replacement of the old building. The dedication of the ultra-modern building drew dignitaries from every part of Nigeria, including the Vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo SAN, one-time Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, almost all the governors of South West, among other dignitaries. The dedication ceremony which was both sober and spiritual, was also replete with pomp and pageantry. It was a day of giving glory to God.
The church, a magnificent and tastefully furnished edifice of enviable opulence solely championed to completion by the legal colossus and his beautiful wife, Lady Omolara Olanipekun, has a capacity for 1,500 worshippers with state-of-the-art facilities such as modern music hybrid, fully marbled pulpits, audio visual gadgets and new complete set of musical instruments. It is impressive, picturesque and exquisite. To say the least, the church is a beautiful place of blessing. On the same date, his budding FM Radio Station was commissioned.
Chief Olanipekun also donated a ventilator and N10 million to Ekiti State Covid-19 eradication in Ekiti State.
Since 1996, the Wole Olanipekun Scholarship Scheme has been in existence and as at the last award exercise in November 2019, over 649 indigent students from various secondary schools and universities in Nigeria have benefited from the scheme. At the same event, he paid for the 2020 JAMB fees of 94 students of St. Louis Grammar School, Ikere, 46 of whom are Ikere indigenes, while the remaining 47 are from other parts of the country.
Taking the kind gesture a notch higher, Chief Olanipekun sacrificially gave his substance ceaselessly when he was appointed by the government as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of University of Ibadan. He used his influence to open up Ajibode, the second phase of the institution. In 2011, when the flood ravaged the university, he personally donated N10million towards the amelioration of the situation. Before his tenure expired, he donated a 350-sitting capacity lecture theatre to the Faculty of Law, known as Wole Olanipekun Law Lecture Building.
Shortly after his stint in UI, Chief Olanipekun was also appointed as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of Ajayi Crowther University. Along with his wife, he donated the “Wole and Lara Olanipekun Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge.”
The Ajayi Crowther University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dapo Asaju said, “While Chief and his wife were building the lodge, I tried in a very surreptitious way to ascertain the cost from the contractor with a view to assisting financially. The contractor told me that he was under strict instruction not to disclose the cost to anybody. Chief Olanipekun and his wife therefore financed the lodge all alone.”
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