It seems the season of death in Nigeria as one eminent citizen after another passes on.
The latest is the death this morning of one of Nigeria’s eminent jurists, the Ibadan based Justice Kayode Eso.
He was aged 87.
Family sources told P.M.NEWS that he died in London this morning.
His son, Olumide confirmed to P.M.NEWS that Justice Eso died at the Hammersmith Hospital in London today.
Justice Eso since the beginning of this year had stayed more in the UK than Nigeria. He only returned home in October to receive his country’s belated honor, Commander of the Order of the Niger. Eso was also decorated last December by civil society groups in Lagos, with the honor of the Defender of Anti-corruption.
Olumide described his father as a very resolute man and a wonderful father.
He said Justice Eso committed his entire life to the “goodness of Nigeria and the people around him. Above all, he was an adventurer”.
In a short biography, the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation presented Justice Eso’s story thus:
“Justice Bobakayode Eso was born on September 18, 1925 at Ilesa, in Osun State, Nigeria.
He proceeded to Trinity College, Dublin where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law with Hons Degree in Legal Science in 1953 and a Masters in 1956.
Described as the Father of Judicial Activism in Nigeria, Justice Kayode Eso is the greatest protagonist for an Independent Judiciary and very well known
for his relentless efforts in maintaining discipline and protecting the integrity of his court.
On his retirement from the Bench, Hon. Justice Eugene Ubaezonu, JCA, described our Awardee as a strong protagonist of judicial activism and the Lord Denning of Nigeria who refuses to be tied to the apron string of bad statutes or bad decisions.
Another Supreme Court Judge, Justice Pius Aderemi tendered Justice Kayode Eso as a “permanent exhibit”. He also added and I quote “Eso’s decisions as a Judge is legendary and a delight to study”, “Full of erudite scholarship, well reasoned and replete with legal authorities, there are fine statements of law and veritable guides for all in the legal profession or concerned with law”. Justice Aderemi concluded.
A fearless and Courageous Judge, some of Justice Eso’s celebrated landmark judgements speak for themselves, for example,
The mystery gunman case, which is the trial of Wole Soyinka over his role in a broadcast which the government of the defunct western region of Nigeria termed offensive. Justice Eso returned a verdict of not guilty on Soyinka, and shortly after the judgement, he was transferred from Ibadan to Akure, then regarded as a rural station;
The celebrated case of Chief Obafemi Awolowo Vs Alhaji Shehu Shagari, in 1979 will forever remain green in Nigeria’s jurisprudence. The Apex Court in deciding the law relating to election cases had by a majority of 6-1, affirmed the election of Alhaji Shagari as duly elected President. However, the courageous decision of Justice Eso in this case remains legendary. In his dissent opinion, Justice Eso held that at least two-third of 19 states could only be 13 and not 12 2/3
He had received several Awards and University honours too numerous to mention. He is Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON): In 1979, he received LL.D honoris Causa, University of Ibadan: 1990, and University of Nigeria, Nsukka: 2001, respectively.
He was the author of several books, articles and he has delivered various papers at National and International Seminars.
He was married to Helen Aina Eso and they are blessed with 2 children and five grand children.”
Nigeria has been rocked of recent by the deaths of Dr. Olusola Saraki, S
econd Republic senate leader and Chief Lam Adesina, the former governor of Oyo satte and a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria.