Who Was Victor Adetokunboh Kayode?

Justice Victor Adetokunboh Kayode was the son of the highly respected Rev. Adedapo Kayode who came from Ile-Ife in south-western Nigeria. He was educated at Kings College, Lagos. In 1917 he matriculated at Selwyn College, Cambridge University and in 1920 he graduated and was awarded his M.A. degree in law. He did his masters at Cambridge as well and he graduated and was awarded his LLB masters degree in 1921. Victor Kayode enrolled at the Middle Temple and was called to the British Bar in 1922. He came top in his exams at both Cambridge University (both the first and second year tripos exams) and at the Middle Temple.

This remarkable feat was repeated by his son Chief Remi Fani-Kayode in 1943 and 1945 respectively when he followed in his illustrious father's footsteps and attended both institutions. Victor Kayode got married to Miss Aurora Fanimokun in Chelsea, London in 1919. Aurora Fanimokun was the first daughter of the respected Rev. Suberu Fanimokun of the Lagos colony (as it then was) and he was the Principal of the famous CMS Grammer School, Lagos. The first child of Victor and Aurora Kayode (nee Fanimokun) was Remi Fani-Kayode who was born in Chelsea, London in 1921. At that time London was the most affluent city in the western world yet 30 per cent of Londoners were living below the poverty line. This shows you that even the most developed cities and nations in the world once went through very hard times as well.

After being called to the British bar in 1922 Victor Kayode went back to Lagos, Nigeria where he set up one of the most successful legal practices of his day. He specialised in criminal law. He occassionally intervened in the politics of the day in Lagos colony but his forte was law and because he was acknowledged as one of the best lawyers of his day he was appointed as a magistrate in 1939. In those days there were no Nigerian magistrates and judges. They were all British.

Justice Jibowu was the first Nigerian to become a magistrate in 1938 and then Justice Adebiyi Desalu followed him in 1939. Justice Adetokunboh Ademola was the third and then came Justice Victor Kayode. These were the first four Nigerians to become magistrates and after that they all went on to the higher bench and did exceedingly well. Unfortunately Victor Kayode died in the early 40's whilst presiding over an important land case.

A few of years after his death his wife Mrs. Aurora Kayode remarried. Her second husband was Mr. Ernest ikoli, an ijaw man that was resident in Lagos, who was the financer and editor of two Lagos newspapers at the time, who was very active in Lagos politics, who was one of the founders of the Nigerian Youth Movement (which later metamorphosied into the Action Group) and who was the man that was Chief Obafemi Awolowo's mentor and benefactor and that funded his education in the United Kingdom where he went to study law. Ernest Ikoli was best of friends with Sir Adeyemo Alakija and many other Lagos elites in his day. Aurora Kayode had 8 children for Victor Kayode (4 sons and 3 daughter) but no children for Ernest Ikoli.

Justice Victor Kayode and Madame Aurora Kayode were the parents of Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, the former Minister for Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs and Deputy Premier of Nigeria's old Western Region and the grandparents of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Nigeria's former Minister of Aviation and former Minister of Culture and Tourism.

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Articles by Femi Fani Kayode