It was a mixed atmosphere as family members, academics, professional colleagues, students, and well-wishers converged on the University of Lagos, Faculty of Law Annex on Thursday, 12th January to celebrate the life and times of late Emeritus Professor Adedeokun Adebayo Adeyemi.
In an event which was organized by University of Lagos faculty of Law, in a collaboration with the school of post graduate studies (SPGS) and Nigerian institute of advanced legal studies, the vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos, Rahamon Bello in his opening remark extoled the virtues of excellence which Prof. Adeyemi was known for by describing him as a colossus of the Faculty of Law and indeed the academic community at large.
Prof, Bello pointed out some key areas the late Emeritus Professor of Law had made sterling achievements including a membership of the university Senate where he served as chairman of many important committees. As Dean, school of Post graduate Studies (aposition he held from 1984 to 1986), he was instrumental to the development and enactment of the basic legal frameworks which served as the foundation of the organization and structuring of the PG school as it is today.
The vice-chancellor thanked the late Emeritus Professor for bringing this wealth of experience to the Facultyof Law, noting that his effort- as well as those of his colleagues past and present- have elevated the Faculty to the position of the foremost Faculty of Law in Nigeria.
“All those who now have Ph.Ds and Master degrees from the School of Post Graduate Studies cannot but give thanks to the likes of Prof Adeyemi who did all he could to ensure that the school remains the best in the country. No wonder then, our students make the best results from the various areas of Law examined at Law school every year.” He said.
Dean, Faculty of law Prof. AyodeleAtsenuwa in eulogising the late Academic,described him as a development Lawyer and a social Engineer.
“Prof. was a Mentor, Teacher and a Lawyer for whom the business of Law was about bringing changes to the society. Once in a discussion, he told me that Law had no value except in so far as it isconceived to orchestrate social and developmental changes. It is on record that there is hardly any legal framework on the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in Nigeria today that was not either championed or imputed by Prof. Adeyemi. He was Pan-Nigeria to the core. For although he had all his tertiary education in England, he never for once affected his Ibadan accent, carrying it instead wherever he went proudly as a as a mark of identity.
“He taught us the value of rendering service to others, and occasioned what we at the Faculty of Law now call ‘the Prof’s Conspiracy’-which is that, we must not destroy our students. That is the man we celebrate today; and we all know that he will surely missed, although the legacies he has left behind will forever endure”. She concluded.
The renowned professor of criminology was also eulogised by Prof. Yemisi Bamgbose. In painting a glorious picture, the former Dean Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan recounted how as a young undergraduate student, Prof. Adeyemi had influenced, and sustained her decision to study criminal law.
“He was a teacher who loved to teach law with the very simple everyday things of life. He was very detailed and graphical in his approach; he was my mentor.” She said.
Many other distinguished attendees took turns to pay tribute to a founding father of Criminal Law in Nigeria. The Director-General Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) Prof. Adedeji Adekunle described him as, “A person of prodigious and unassuming intellect.” Others who spoke included Profs. Solomon Akingboye; Odunlagbe; Oyelowo Oyewo; Babjide Alo; Demola Popoola; Isabella Okagbue ; P.K Fogan; Taiwo Oshipitan amongst others.
In a closing remark, daughter of the deceased thanked all guests present and announced that in an attempt to immortalise her father, a book would be launched on Monday 16th January as part of activities marking the final burial rites. She also intimated that the family was working closely with the Faculty of Law to create an endowment fund in honour of the late Professor.
The event lasted about four hours and had in attendance all principal officers of the University of Lagos; representatives of the National Judicial Council, and Lagos state Judiciary, members of the university Alumni; former Chairman Nigerian Bar Association (ikeja Branch); representative of the United Nations; former Vice- Chancellor, Bells University of Nigeria as well as other notable Nigerians and friends such as former Justice of the Supreme Court, Karibe Whyte and the Oba of Lagos, HRH Oba Riliwanu Akinolu.
Late Emeritus professor Adedokun Adeyemi (aged Seventy- Six), obtained a Law degree from the University of Hull, England in October 1960 and had his post graduate education at the London School of Economics; and the University of Cambridge, England respectively. His academic sojourn lasted over four decades- spent majorly as a Lecturer at the University of Lagos; NIALS; and as a consultant for world bodies such as UNESCO and the AU. Known, and called by many different names including: Personal Counselor; Astute Administrator;Personal Confidant, Grandpa; Chief; Academic Compass; the Grandmaster; and most fondly as the man behind the pile of books; Prof. Adeyemi was elevated to the status of an Emeritus Professor of Law by the Vice Chancellor University of Lagos in a letter dated 28th December, 2013. He is among other things described as a wonderful family man who served God faithfully in others until his death in late last year.