To write about a man as Osinbajo is often a daunting task as everything about him is beneficial to any reader and therefore, worth writing. Notwithstanding this, Professor Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo (SAN) is one man who needs no introduction in the legal profession in Nigeria. This is not unconnected with his enormous achievements as an advocate and as a law teacher. In tracing the root of his excellence in the legal profession, it is evident that Prof. Osinbajo is a man who knew his onions from inception. Born into the family of Adeyemi Osinbajo on 8th March 1957 in Lagos state, Osinbajo attended the Corona primary school Lagos. Thereafter, he was admitted into the Igbobi College Yaba where he studied from 1969 to 1975. After a brilliant performance, he enrolled for his undergraduate studies in the faculty of law, University of Lagos from 1975 to 1978 and graduated with a second class upper. Based on the requirement of the Council of Legal Education that persons desirous of practicing as legal practitioners need to undergo a one year program at the Nigerian law school, Osinbajo proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and was called to the bar shortly after. His quest for knowledge propelled him to further his studies at the London school of Economics where he was awarded a master’s degree in law in 1980.

His contributions to nation building started in 1981 when he was employed by the University of Lagos as a lecturer in the faculty of law. Not long afterwards, he became a professor of law in 1990. But even before then, he was appointed as an adviser (legal advice & litigation) to the then Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice from 1988 to 1992. He was later appointed as the Attorney-General of Lagos state from 1999 to 2003 and re-appointed from 2003 to 2007. As an Attorney-General, his role in the design of the Criminal justice system of Lagos state cannot be easily forgotten. He was the architect of the Lagos state justice reform project which among other things provided for free legal services and legal representations to indigent citizens of the state, and access to justice by the poor through its establishment of the appropriate institutions. In 2002, he was awarded the prestigious rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) - the highest attainable height and mark of honour a legal practitioner can ever get in Nigeria. In 2007, he continued with legal practice in the law firm SimmonsCooper Partners, as a senior partner.

Professor Yemi Osinbajo has contributed to the legal profession through advocacy and the publication of legal materials. Few among the books he authored or co-authored, and his publications are: “The Annotated Civil Procedure Rules of the Superior Courts in Nigeria”; “Cross Examination: A Trial Lawyer’s Most Potent Weapon”; The Unification and Reform of the Nigerian Criminal Law and Procedure Codes”; “Domestic and International Protection for Women: Landmarks on the Journey so far in Women and Children under Nigerian Law”; “Interpretation of Section 131 (a) of the Evidence Act”; and “Allegations of Crime in Civil Proceedings”.

Professor Osinbajo’s relevance and importance is felt across the different countries of the world. He served in both local and international organizations, and was a member of many bodies. He was a member to the United Nations Secretary General’s Committee of Experts on Conduct and Discipline of UN Peacekeeping Personnel around the globe; a staff member to the United Nations Operations in Somalia; International Criminal Court Counsel; Ethics Adviser to the African Development Bank; consultant to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Assessing the Efficiency and Impact of African Anti-Corruption Commissions; a member of the International Bar Association; Consultant to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Arusha on training of Prosecutors; consultant to the United Nations African Institute for Crime Prevention, among several others.

It is said that those whose palm kernels were cracked by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble. Well, if arrogance is a product of achievements, then Prof. Osinbajo has every reason to be arrogant. As it were, he personally cracked his palm kernel without any assistance from the gods when he earned so many credits and awards through sheer hardwork, diligence and commitment at every phase of his life, and to whatever task that was assigned to him. Among the several prizes and awards he won were the State Merit Award 1971; the School Prize for English Oratory, 1972; Adeoba Prize for English Oratory 1972-1975; Elias Prize for Best Performance in History (WASC) 1973; School Prize for Literature (HSC), 1975; African Statesmen Intercollegiate Best Speaker’s Prize, 1974; Graham-Douglas Prize for Commercial Law, 1978; Gani Fawehinmi Integrity Award, 2015.

His impact in the ruling All Progressive Party (APC) was felt and he was nominated along other Nigerians to design the manifesto for the newly formed party. This culminated to the presentation of the “Roadmap project”- an economic plan for the Buhari Government if voted into power. On 17th December 2014, Osinbajo was nominated as the running mate to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari under the platform of the All Progressive Party (APC). They won the presidential election which held on 28th March 2015 and were duly sworn in on 29th May 2015.

Professor Osinbajo is a man of no mean reputation. He is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church in Banana Island, Lagos, and guards his integrity with his life. In 2007, Professor Osinbajo and his wife founded ‘The Orderly Society Trust”, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of Christian ethics and orderliness. He believes in godly leadership and governance and is always ready to contribute his quota towards ensuring same. He has a clean plate of honesty throughout his political career. Little wonder he eventually emerged as the running mate to Gen. Buhari who is so emphatic on integrity in public service. From whatever angle, Professor Osinbajo is indeed a blessing and a true helping hand to the Gen. Buhari’s administration. Prof. Osinbajo is happily married to Dolapo (Obafemi Awolowo’s granddaughter), and the union is blessed with three children.

About the Author:
 Author Photo Bandawa writes from Abuja, Nigeria. You can follow on twitter @NBandawa

E-mail: ntayibandawa@gmail.com