The Chairman, Body of Benchers in Nigeria, Chief Bandele Adedeji Aiku (SAN), died in Ibadan on Sunday after a brief illness. He was aged 81.
The London-trained lawyer, Aiku, to his teeming admirers across the globe, was a man of many parts, especially in Nigeria’s judicial administration by virtue of his membership of the International Bar Association and that of the highest policy- making body in the legal profession in Nigeria – the body of Benchers. He was appointed the Chairman of the Body in1987 and retained the position until he breathed his last.
As a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria spanning 50 years, Aiku began his law practice in Nigeria in 1964 as the Principal Partner of Bandele Aiku & Co. He was called to the English Bar in May 1963, having earlier enrolled in the Inner Temple, London in 1960, from where he was trained in the best traditions of the Bar.
His part in several landmark decisions, fundamental to the rule of law, earned him the honour of wearing the silk by the invitation to join the Inner Bar as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in July, 1990. He was Number 73 on the prestigious Roll Call.
Chief Dele Aiku was born on Tuesday, August 18, 1936 in Ijebu-Jesa, headquarters of the present Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State, to an ‘osomaalo’ family. That was the breed of exceptional business men and women who introduced hire purchase system into the native Nigerian market place. It is remarkable that his father had the distinction of being the first man, among his peers, to sell Beer in Ibadan.