MKO Abiola's Lawyer, GOK Ajayi, Dead


A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Olusegun Kolawole Ajayi, one of Nigeria's legal luminaries died on Friday.

Mr. Ajayi death came after a prolonged sickness that sidelined him from active legal practice in the last few years.

Once one of Nigeria's most sought after lawyers, Mr. Ajayi represented Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election.

Over the last decade, Mr. Ajayi made few public appearances due to his poor health, the family source said.

He was 83 years old. Members of Ajayi's family and friends around the world are discussing a plan for a befitting funeral.

Apart from representing MKO Abiola, one of Mr. Ajayi's most high profile cases was representation of Abdurraham Shugaba Darma, a prominent member of the Great Nigeria People's Party (GNPP), a majority leader of the Borno State house of Assembly, who in 1980, was dramatically deported to a village in Chad republic on the orders of the Nigerian internal affairs minister, Bello Maitama, under the Shagari regime, Mr. Ajayi took the embattled Shubgaba's case up to the Supreme Court which reversed the politician's deportation and awarded him N350,000.

In addition, Ajayi, SAN, represented the late human human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, against the Nigeria government and other entities.

Ajayi undertook legal studies in the United Kingdom and was called to the Middle Temple bar in 1955 when he was only 24. Two years later at 26 he was called to the Nigerian bar and began his distinguished legal career.

“His death brings to an end one of the most storied legal practices in Nigeria's history”, said the family source.

Sahara Reporters