BREAKING: Awomolo, SAN, is now Body of Benchers’ Chairman


As outgoing CJN, Justice Ariwoola, emerges BoB’s Vice Chairman

Highly respected member of the inner bar, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN has been unanimously endorsed by the Body of Benchers  as its new Chairman.

His emergence followed the completion of the tenure of Justice Mary Odili as chairman of the elite body.

Until his elevation, Chief Awomolo, SAN, was the body’s vice chairman.

Similarly, the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has emerged the Vice-Chairman of the Body of Benchers.

He took over from Chief Awomolo, SAN, at the meeting of the Body of Benchers on Thursday.

In an acceptance speech, Chief  Awomolo stated “Today’s honour is not by my learning, might or strength as an individual but the goodwill of all you the noblest in the legal profession and importance attached to the letters of law, respect for the rule of law as opposed to the rule of might.”

He applauded Justice Odili’s style of leadership which he said was characterized by her “inclusivity” and consensus building.

He however said that the BoB still has a huge task ahead of it especially in light of proposed amendment of Nigeria’s Constitution and the Legal Practitioners Act.

His words: “There was report in the media yesterday of the proposed alteration of the Constitution which would make appointment, discipline and removal of judicial officers in the States the prerogative of the Governors.

“This move is alarming and will create a threat to the independence of the Judiciary.

“The Body cannot be passive or ‘siddon’ look. The danger in this move is to take the Judiciary back to pre-1999,” he said.

Meanwhile, the body has appointed six of its members as Life Benchers including Justice C. N. Uwa of the Supreme Court; Chief Emeka Ngige SAN, Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, and former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN.

Two members including Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and Mr. Mela Nunghe SAN were also appointed as Benchers, even as the Appointments Committee bemoaned the fact that it could not treat 17 nominees for appointment as Benchers due to a legal cap of 20 members for that category.

The committee noted that unless the Body of Benchers Regulations are amended, it would continue to be hamstrung in recommending more aspirants for appointment as Benchers.

Meanwhile, distinguished bar leaders including the incumbent Attorney-General of Ondo State, Dr Olukayode Ajulo, SAN have begun to congratulate the duo of Chief Awomolo, SAN and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ariwoola on their appointment.

In a statement signed by Dr Ajulo, SAN on Thursday, he said Chief Awomolo, SAN and Justice Ariwoola well deserved the position.

The statement reads: “I humbly extend my warmest congratulations to Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, on his recent appointment as the esteemed Chairman of the distinguished and illustrious Body of Benchers.

“This prestigious role is a testament to his exceptional legal acumen, unwavering commitment, and remarkable contributions to the legal profession.

“Under Chief Awomolo’s exemplary leadership and extensive experience, the Body of Benchers will undoubtedly uphold the highest standards of justice, integrity, and professionalism.

“I am confident that his able guidance will inspire the legal fraternity to flourish, and ensure that the principles of fairness and equity are steadfastly upheld.

“Additionally, I wish to convey heartfelt congratulations to the newly elected Vice Chairman, Honourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, who assumes this distinguished role with great honour and responsibility.

“His esteemed reputation and steadfast dedication and unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law will undoubtedly enhance the success of the Body of Benchers.

“I also express deep appreciation to the outgoing Chairman, Honourable Justice Mary Odili, JSC (Rtd), for her exemplary leadership and unwavering dedication throughout her tenure. Her pivotal role in upholding the integrity of the legal profession and promoting justice in our society is truly commendable.

“As we celebrate these momentous achievements, let us acknowledge the paramount importance of the Body of Benchers in shaping our legal system and upholding the noble principles of justice. I have no doubt that with the collective wisdom and guidance of distinguished leaders such as Chief Awomolo, SAN, and Honorable Justice Ariwoola, GCON, the legal profession will continue to thrive as an indomitable pillar of our society.

“May their tenure be adorned with resounding success, profound wisdom, and an unwavering pursuit of justice for all,” he signed off.

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN was unanimously endorsed by the Body of Benchers  as its new Vice Chairman in March 2023

The Body took the decision as the Body’s outgone Chairman, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, handed over the baton to Justice Mary Odili, who was his Vice Chairman.

A versatile and amiable gentleman, Awomolo studied Law at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, between 1974 and 1977; and attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, in 1978. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978.

In addition to his legal education, Awomolo, a devout Christian and Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, attended the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho, between 2003 and 2004, where he obtained a Diploma Certificate.

A Life Bencher, Church Usher, Life Member of Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship, and a Volunteer Legal Adviser to the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Awomolo has a unique and diverse work experience.

The respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria was appointed Life Member, Body of Benchers, by then Chief Justice of the Federation, the Hon. Justice Mohammed Bello.

He has been Member, Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria since 1992.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of Nigeria, and Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the Ilorin Branch of the NBA, in 2016, appointed Awomolo Member, Board of Trustees, Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, a position he holds to date.

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