A tribute to Dr Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, a truly inspirational bar leader, on his birthday:
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and ability to affect those around him positively.” Robert Nesta Marley.
I have known Dr Babatunde Ajibade, SAN for at least 18 years and worked closely with him in the last one year. For a man with his pedigree, his humility is at once enchanting and disarming. In a world filled with haughtiness, very few would expect a man who obtained a PHD from King’s College, University of London at the age of 28 years, who was admitted to the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria before he turned 40 years and whose father was Attorney-General of the defunct Western Region to exude the pure, unadulterated and non-pretentious humility for which Dr Ajibade, SAN is known. I have listened countless times to his former and current colleagues speak passionately of how he treats everyone with respect and dignity regardless of their station in life. I have heard them speak freely of his humanity, his forthrightness, the depth of his knowledge, his commitment to excellence, his passion for the law and the legal profession and his transformational leadership. All of this, they say, he does in a self-effacing and noiseless manner.
These testimonies resonate with me and with everyone who has dealt with or come in contact with Dr Ajibade, SAN. Perhaps, the one quality of Dr Ajibade, SAN’s that most notably sets him apart is his integrity. I recall a conversation I had with a younger colleague, Mr Ike Augustine, during which he said regarding Dr Ajibade, SAN that: “you know a man is good when the only criticism of him by his opposers is that they fear that he may be inflexible in the application of the principles he holds dear”. Dr Ajibade, SAN has, through his actions over the years, created a legacy that inspires many to learn more, become more and do better. He has, by his consistent conduct, long before the formation of any present aspiration, shown himself to be competent and trustworthy. As famously stated by Abraham Lincoln, “if there is anything that a man can do well, let him do it. Give him a chance”. This statement rings resoundingly true about Dr Ajibade, SAN.
Distinguished colleagues, please join me in wishing Dr Ajibade, SAN, a friend, role model, public intellectual and a truly inspirational bar leader a very happy birthday.
Let’s do better!
Immediate Past Chairman
Nigerian Bar Association