Dr. Festus Adebisi Ajayi

Nigeria just lost another illustrious son. He was my elder brother Dr. Festus Adebisi Ajayi, who stood in as our father since his death in 1979.

He died weeks before his 92nd birthday on July 14. But Dr. Ajayi wasn’t just special to me, he was important to the country that he made great contributions to, as he, along with the late Rotimi Williams, a prominent lawyer, crafted Nigeria’s the first constitution. Dr. Ajayi was a humble man despite his academic achievements, which included obtaining a law degree from the University of London.

He was an intellectual. A man that allowed others to speak about their accomplishments. He was objective, and did not believe in anything loud, and in no circumstances did he blow his own trumpet.

Dr. Ajayi bestrode the legal world before Nigeria attained independence. He was the country’s Deputy Commissioner for Law Revision Ministry of Justice, Western Nigeria’s legal draftsman, Attorney General, and the first black Senior Assistant Secretary.

An icon always lets his or her work speak for him. And my elder brother, Dr. Festus Adebisi Ajayi, the great intellectual of Nigeria’s modern day, did just that.

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