By Egena Sunday Ode
President Muhammadu Buhari has joined the Nigerian Body of Benchers and Nigerian Bar Association in celebrating former Justice of the Supreme Court and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Justice George Adesola Oguntade, on his 80th birthday, March 10, 2020.
This was contained in a statement on Monday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
The statement noted that in a tribute to Justice Oguntade, also a former Chancellor, University of Lagos, President Buhari said the High Commissioner earned his respect while serving at the Supreme Court, before his retirement in 2010, by the way he conducted himself with “virtue, honesty and conviction to do the right thing.’’
The President, in his letter to the legal luminary, was quoted to have said:
“What a sterling character! A man with the courage of his convictions, a jurist of the Puritan kind, and a great patriot. Justice Oguntade, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is a man who made a name and a reputation in his chosen career of legal practice. No wonder, he rose to the very peak, retiring as Justice of the Supreme Court.
“To be an outstanding jurist, you must be ready to be different, even if it means standing alone. I will never forget my legal challenge of the presidential election of 2007. It was such a disorderly, chaotic and badly manipulated poll, that the man declared winner, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, himself admitted the process was highly flawed.
“However, the Supreme Court, in its judgement, upheld the election, except for a minority position maintained by three justices, led by Justice Oguntade. He nullified the poll for not complying with the Electoral Act. It was a split of four against three. You don’t have too many like this great jurist anymore.
“He was not afraid to stand alone, when it came to upholding the truth. For that display of virtue, honesty and conviction to do the right thing, Justice Oguntade earned my respect. And as he turns 80, I wish him a grand celebration.
“To Justice Oguntade, I say good health, longer life and service to our country. Happy birthday, and may the Oguntade clan continue to increase.’’