Celebrating A Distinguished Jurist And Scholar Of Repute: Professor Akin Oyebode Who Retires At The Age Of 70 Years

Celebrating A Distinguished Jurist And Scholar Of Repute: Professor Akin Oyebode Who Retires At The Age Of 70 Years
Seye Adetunmbi
There couldn’t have been a better time to celebrate Professor Akindele Babatunde Oyebode than now that he has met the mandatory retirement age as a lecturer at University of Lagos, Nigeria.  The Professor of Law and Chairman, Office of International Relations, Partnerships and Prospects at University of Lagos, Nigeria has joined the septuagenarian league to the glory of God. Naturally in all human endeavours, whatever has a beginning must have an end; however what makes this one a unique happy ending is how eventful the academic career has been, coupled with the special grace of finishing well by celebrating 70th natal day anniversary which has made it a double celebration for the Oyebode family. No doubt, family members and friends of the erudite legal luminary have every reason to appreciate God for the marvelous thing He has done in the life of Professor Akin Oyebode. His students, professional colleagues, wide range of multifaceted associates, kinsmen and old school mates do have so many beautiful things to say about the brilliant professor of jurisprudence. That the academic and jurist of repute stands out in reputation may not be a surprise to those who have known him over the years.
Prof Akin Oyebode LLM, D. Jur. BL MNIM
Most of the distinguished people in the contemporary world often have something outstanding usually peculiar to them and what a remarkable gem is often noted for is a reflection of the inner self and values that drive the person’s convictions. One thing that cannot be taken away from Professor Akin Oyebode is the fact that he stands for honour, integrity and honorable ways generally. His word is his bond. A discerning person can figure out his position and views on national or world issues and you can know where he stands with you at every point in time without pretenses. Relatively, most upright people are comfortable with him while he keeps the company of respectable citizens. His inimitable personality earned him respect in the academic community and various constituencies he is associated with.

On December 9th 1947, the prominent Oyebode family of Ikole-Ekiti was blessed with the birth of an exceptional child, christened Akindele Babatunde. The notable child was born in Ado-Ekiti to Chief Zacheaus Oladipo Oyebode and Madam Janet Olarewaju Oyebode. His father was a product of Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti with the school number 38/012 and at various times the patriarch served in the army, worked as a school teacher, party apparatchik and social worker in the civil service. His parents wanted the best for their children as reflected in the schools Professor Oyebode and other members of the clan attended.

Prof Akin Oyebode (sitting 1st left) with other Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti in 1966 with the school principal, Canon L.D. Mason and Venerable R.A. Ogunlade

The academic brilliance of Professor Oyebode started in Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti where he had his secondary education from 1960 to 1966 with the school number 60/057 and his excellent character earned him a place among the school prefects in his senior class. He passed out with grade one in his West African School Certificate Examination. A product of Harvard Law School in 1974 to 1975, holds LL.M. with Highest Distinction (Otlichnik) from Kiev State University, Kiev, Ukraine in 1973 and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Canada in 1988. His scholarship, prizes and fellowship include JFK Essay Competition School Level Winner in 1966, Soviet Institute of World Economy and International Relations Scholarship in 1967, Harvard University Tuition Fellowship in 1974, Ford Foundation/International Legal Center Fellowship in 1974 and York University Graduate Assistantship 1981.

The inaugural lecture of Professor Akin Oyebode in 2011, University of Lagos auditorium was full to the brim

The professor started his academic career at University of Lagos in 1973 as an Assistant Lecturer. He became Lecturer Grade II in 1976, Lecturer Grade I in 1978 and Senior Lecturer in 1981. In 1992, he became professor and dean, faculty of law, Ondo State University now Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti. Some of his administrative activities included being a member of the university governing council in 1994 to 1997, member of finance and general purposes committee in 1994 to 1997, member of development committee in 1992 to 1997, member of committee of deans in 1992 to 1997, member of Senate in 1992 to 1997, member of appointments and promotions committee in 1992 to 1997, member of senior staff disciplinary committee in 1994 to 1997, member of housing loans committee in 1992 to 1994, member of joint committee for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor in 1993, chairman, security committee in 1994 to 1997, chairman of committee of inquiry into the missing dumpy level in 1994, chairman of committee on financing a functional university health centre in 1994 to 1995, chairman of committee on merger of the physical planning unit with the department of works and services in 1995, member of sub-committee on planning unit structure       in 1993 and chairman of committee on excess workload in 1995 to 1996. He held appointment as the Head of Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos and the Vice-Chancellor of Ekiti-State University in 2002-2004.

On 60th birthday of Prof Akin Oyebode in 2007

Oyebode clan
At University of Lagos, his exposure to administrative duties included being a member of appointments and promotions committee in 1999 to 2000 & 2006, member of Senate Honours Committee 2006, member of selection committee for the appointment of University Registrar in 2005, Head of Department in 2004, member of the board of school of postgraduate studies in 2004 to 2006, member of academic programmes committee, school of postgraduate studies in 2004 to 2006, chairman of postgraduate students’ disciplinary committee in 2005, chairman of International School Management Board in 2000, member of central research committee in 1999 to 2000,  chairman of faculty research committee in 1999 to 2000, co-ordinator of the faculty LL.M. programme in1989 to 1990, member of 5-year LL.B. curriculum committee in  1990, the faculty/departmental representative at post-graduate board of studies in 1986 to 1990, member of post-graduate school admissions committee in 1989/90, member of university publications committee in 1988 to1990, member of committee on sexual harassment in 1990, member of selection committee for the appointment of university registrar in 1988/89, member of advisory committee on students’ feeding  in 1988/89, member of senate of the University of Lagos in 1988 to 1990 and 1998 to 2017, chairman of ad-hoc panel of investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Master S.A. Ogundubore at the University of Lagos swimming pool in 1998, member of ad-hoc panel of investigation into the constitutional controversy within the university students’ union in 1989, chairman of the faculty committee on admission requirements in 1989, member of committee of inquiry to investigate alleged activities of proscribed students’ societies on campus in 1984, member of university library committee in 1981 to 1983, Assistant Warden, New Hall, Phase III in 1980 to 1982, member of the faculty admissions committee in 1979 to 1981, member of faculty departmentalization committee     in 1978, member of LL.B. (evening) regulations committee in 1977 and faculty examination officer in 1978/1979

Some of his travel grants and awards were:

·        First Foreign Graduate to be inducted into the Permanent Roll of Honour of Kiev State University in 1973
·        UN Travel Grant for the International Law Commission Seminar, Geneva  in 1976
·        UN Travel Grant for the Seminar on the New International Economic Order, Geneva in      1977
·        French Government Travel Grant for the Colloquium on the Life of the Law in Africa, Centre d’Etudes Jurisdiques Comparative, University of Paris 1, Sorbonne 1977
·        Travel Grant to attend the Joint Annual Convention of the British International Studies Association and the International Studies Association, London in 1980
·        Juche Academy of Science Study Tour of North Korea in1989
·        National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADL) Distinguished Jurist Award            , 2002
·        Nigerian Association of Law Teachers Long Service Award in 2004
·        Outstanding Law Teacher Award, Justice Chambers, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2005
·        Best Lecturer Award, Final-Year Students, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos in 2005, 2006

He is a member of front-line learned societies and leading professional associations such as Nigerian Society of International Law, American Society of International Law, International Law Association, Nigerian Association of Law Teachers, Nigerian Bar Association and Nigerian Institute of Management. He has over 31 books and monographs, over 82 journal articles as well as many research works and numerous unpublished major conference and seminar papers to his credit.

Maiden EXCO meeting of Ekitipanupo in 2005

When duty called for him to lead Ekitipanupo Forum, he responded accordingly as the pioneer leader of the indigenous intellectual roundtable of well meaning Ekiti people at home and abroad

Prof Akin Oyebode, the pioneer leader of Ekitipanupo at the 1st Ekitipanupo Public Lecture held at Adetiloye Hall on April 7, 2007 in Ado-Ekiti, flanked left to right by Prof Demola Omojola, Chief Aderiye, Dr Ayo Ajayi, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, High-Chief Babatola & Chief Bolanle Olatunde
At Ekiti Stakeholders’ meeting held in Ibadan in November 2006
Condolence visit to the family of Dr Ayo Daramola on behalf of Ekitipanupo Forum

Prof on 29/8/11 with Alagba Paul Olatoye, Chief Bukola Oluwadiya & Seye Adetunmbi in Lagos 

The other activities of Professor Oyebode include being a guest lecturer in public international law, law of the sea and outer space at Foreign Service Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lagos; member of board of directors of African and African-American Foundation on Science, Education and Economic Development Inc., New York; chairman and editor-in-chief, Nigerian Journal of Contemporary Law; member of editorial board, Lagos State University Law Journal; member of editorial board, University of Jos Law Journal; member of editorial board, Journal of Human Rights Law and Practice; member of editorial advisory council, The News; contributing editor, Environment Network; expert consultant, National Boundary Commission; consultant, Civil Liberties Organization; member, advisory board, Centre for Human Rights and Development; consultant, UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna; Chair, International Advisory Board, Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; chair, board of governors, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre; member of board of Trustees, National Association of Democratic Lawyers; member of board of directors, Centre for Advanced Social Science; editorial consultant, Guardian Newspapers; chairman, Catholic secretariat of Nigeria think-tank; member of advisory board of Leadership Watch; and member of the board of trustees, Ekitipanupo Community Development Association.

Wedding ceremony of Akintunde Oyebode

The international jurist and an academic of note is an exemplary family man. God in His faithfulness blessed his marriage to Chief Mrs Morenike Abosede Oyebode who retired as a senior official of West African Examination Council; with successful children: Akintunde, Akindeji and Olajumoke. To the glory of God he is a grandfather.

Professor Oyebode is indeed a blessing to Nigeria having produced many qualified lawyers in the country that have occupied and still occupying strategic positions in government at states and federal level. Naturally, he is a pride of Ekiti people which unequivocally earned him the position of pioneer leadership of Ekitipanupo Forum, the preeminent indigenous intellectual roundtable for Ekiti people at home and in Diaspora. He represented Ekiti State in the last national conference during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The last convocation of Prof Akin Oyebode as a staff of University of Lagos

Memorable valedictory session of the University of Lagos Senate on November 29th, 2017
What else can one say to this towering profile of an intellectual giant? It would amount to understating it that I admire Prof Oyebode a lot. It is a rare privilege for me to be associated with him. It gives me great joy that he has confidence in me and trust me as his stockbroker. When I needed him, he stood by me with his substance as one of my encouragers and inspirers in my professional career path. Thanks for believing and for the integrated support over the years each time I approached him for one thing or the other including Ekitipanupo initiative. I wish oga more years in good health with peace of mind in retirement. Happy 70th birthday and fruitful retired life sir.