Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday said the late former Attorney General of the Federation, Prince Bola Ajibola, SAN, was his mentor, a role model and a man of uncommon integrity who served Nigeria selflessly.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this at the interment of the late elder stateman in Abeokuta.
Ajibola, who was also a Judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), died in the early hours of Sunday aged 89.
Accompanied by his wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, the VP was received by his first son, Mr. Segun Ajibola, SAN, at the premises of the Islamic Mission for Africa – an institution established by the former World Court Judge and where he was also interred.
The VP joined dignitaries at the event including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba.
The Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele was also present as special prayers were observed after the burial.
The Vice President also met with the wife of the departed elder stateman, Alhaja Amatulaye Ajibola and their children, expressing his condolences and offering prayers.
Asked by journalists afterwards what he would remember the late Ajibola for, the Vice President described him as a man of integrity who had a deep commitment to the unity and progress of Nigeria.
Osinbajo, in a statement on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, added that the former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom was “an excellent role model.”
According to him, “he was a man who believed that the worth of a person is what he is able to give back to society and he demonstrated it throughout his own life. So, I think it is a life that ought to be celebrated and it is a life that is an example to us all. “
The VP said “something he demonstrated while I worked with him was a belief in this nation, a belief in our country as a united nation. But more importantly, is that one could serve in the public domain with integrity and with altruism. He demonstrated this all his life.
“First, he did not accept to be paid a salary when he was Attorney-General. At some point in his life, he told me that he wanted to establish a university, which turned out to be the Crescent University and that he was going to sell everything that he owned to establish that university.
“I recall that he sold all the houses that he owned and several other things to be able to establish Crescent University. This place where we stand is also a place he established for primary education and secondary education.”
Earlier during a special prayer session, the VP spoke about his personal feelings and interaction with the late elder statesman.
“I am sad that he is gone. As Segun the first son said, I am actually ‘his first son.’ It is really a great honour to have known him and to have been mentored by him.
“It was when I worked for him that I gained the knowledge and experience that eventually helped me when I became Attorney-General in Lagos State.
“I used to tell my former Attorney General colleagues back then that none of them had the sort of experience and exposure I had because I learnt so much from Bola Ajibola for 5 years before I became Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State,” the VP added.
While emphasizing the significance of Prince Ajibola’s contributions while alive, the VP said “we can’t talk about him briefly; we would have to keep going on and on. I’m thankful that I knew him. He was not only known in Nigeria but internationally.
“He was an International Arbitrator even before he became Attorney General of the Federation and then later a World Court Judge. Even being a World Court Judge doesn’t come through appointment but rather through election by the United Nations. We are thankful to God for all his achievements during his lifetime. We pray for his wife, the children, all of us, that we will be comforted and that all of us will live long.”