One of Nigerian foremost and early Corporate lawyers and businessmen, Chief Christopher Oladipo Ogunbanjo is dead. He would have attained his centenary on December 14, 2023 as he was born on December 14, 1923.
Chief Ogunbanjo was a Nigerian corporate lawyer and philanthropist from Ogun State. He was an early advocate of domiciliary accounts in Nigeria which later came to existence through the promulgation of the Foreign Currency Decree 18 of 1985. In the late 1960s, he was among the group of businessmen who supported local equity participation in foreign firms operating in Nigeria.
Chief Ogunbajo was born into the family of Daniel Ajayi Ogunbanjo, a catechist from Erunwon, Ijebu, Ogun State. He was educated at St Philips Primary School, Aiyetoro, Ile-Ife before proceeding to Oduduwa College, Ife for his secondary education in 1936. Two years later, he transferred to Igbobi College in Lagos.
He began work in 1942 as a junior clerk in the Judicial Dept in Enugu and was subsequently transferred to Port Harcourt. He left the civil service in 1946 to study law at the University of London, Ogunbanjo obtained a law degree in 1949 and was called to the bar in 1950. On his return from London, he worked briefly for the law firm of H.O. Davies before establishing his own private practice; his firm added two more partners, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Michael Odesanya in 1952 to become Samuel, Chris and Michael Solicitors. The partnership was dissolved in 1960 and his practice became Chris Ogunbanjo & Co. The new practice specialized in corporate law.
Ogunbanjo’s familiarity with corporate law led him to be a significant shareholder in various Nigerian companies like: West African Batteries, Metal Box Toyo, Union Securities, 3M Nigeria, ABB Nigeria, Roche Nigeria and Chemical and Allied Products Ltd.
One of the several lawyers that he mentored is Mr George Etomi, one of the most successful corporate lawyers in Nigeria today.
Etomi eulogized him thus: “The sun has set for my mentor, benefactor and father. Chief Christopher Oladipo Ogunbanjo who was God’s gift to mankind. Through him thoroughbred professionals like me, Udoma Udo Udoma, Asue Ighodalo, Bode Johnson would not have taken on the Business Law space like we did. His generosity of spirit and his sense of purpose meant that we could dare to be the best. For me personally, he accepted me the way he accepted his children and I am honored to be part of his proud heritage. In fact there is no GUE without COO! I bid the accomplished and fulfilled COO farewell and perfect peace in the bosom of our Lord”.
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