Bayo Ojo

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Christoper Adebayo Ojo
Federal Minister of Justice
In office
May 2003 – May 2007
Preceded by Kanu Agabi
Succeeded by Michael Aondoakaa
Personal details
Political party People's Democratic Party (Nigeria)
Spouse(s) Folashade
Profession Lawyer

Christopher Adebayo Ojo, SAN is a former Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.[1][2] As such, he is also a past head of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice. He is a legal practitioner and is licensed to practice in Nigeria, England and Wales. He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Early life and education[edit]

Ojo hails from Ife-Ijumu, Kogi State, in central Nigeria. He had his primary school education in Maiduguri and Kaduna and his post-primary education at Zaria in Kaduna State. He worked briefly as a civil servant in Ilorin, Kwara State, before he proceeded to the University of Lagos (in Lagos) where he obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Law in June 1977. He is married to Hon. Justice Folashade Bayo-Ojo, and they have two children, Babatomiwa and Olubusola. He has two brothers, Daniel Oluwasegun Ojo and Victor Olanrewaju Ojo.

Career[edit]

Ojo was called to the Nigerian Bar in July 1978. He had his first solo court appearance as defence counsel in a rape case before Hon. Justice Anthony Iguh of the High Court of Justice, Enugu, in 1978. The case was a legal aid brief and Ojo lost it because of the overwhelming evidence against his client. He was then a member of the National Youth Service Corps.

He worked at the Ministry of Justice, Kwara State, as a state counsel for four years. During this period, he obtained a certificate in Legal Drafting from Royal Institute of Public Administration, London in September, 1981. Thereafter, he proceeded to the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, to obtain LLM in September 1982. In March 1983, he opted out of government service to join the firm of Oniyangi & Co as head of chambers. In 1986, he founded the law firm of Bayo Ojo & Co.

He was elected President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in 2004. Subsequently, he was appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice[3] by President Olusegun Obasanjo. This appointment was considered controversial at the time because there is a clause in the constitution of the NBA forbidding incumbent presidents from seeking political appointments, or accepting such appointments where offered. Ojo was absolved of any wrongdoing at the time because he resigned the presidency of the NBA a day before his ministerial appointment was announced.

During his term as Attorney-General, he regularly appeared in court personally to argue cases on behalf of the government. Previous attorneys-general had mostly preferred to engage lawyers in private practice to appear for the government. He was noted for his brilliant efforts in decongesting Nigerian prisons by engaging lawyers in private practice to defend various individuals who were being held by the state without trial. He also had a limited measure of success in advocating for an improvement in the welfare of younger lawyers.

On a less positive note, he earned a degree of notoriety when he insisted the judgement of a Court of Appeal should not be obeyed until the Supreme Court has an opportunity to hear an appeal which one of the parties to the case had threatened to file. This was considered[by whom?] absurd at the time because the party threatening to appeal to the Supreme Court had not yet done so, and in any case, it would be the responsibility of the counsel to that party to seek a stay of action from the Supreme Court with respect to the ruling from the Court of Appeal.

As of 2007, he is a member of the United Nations International Law Commission. He remains a close associate of Nasir EL-Rufai and Nuhu Ribadu.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mehler, Andreas; Melber, Henning; Walraven, Klaas Van (January 2007). Africa yearbook. BRILL. pp. 158–. ISBN 978-90-04-16263-1. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Ojakaminor, Efeturi (2007). Aso Rock and the arrogance of power. Ambassador Publications. p. 272. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  3. ^ Tucker, Andrew (2009-01-02). Queer visibilities: space, identity and interaction in Cape Town. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 206–. ISBN 978-1-4051-8302-4. Retrieved 9 May 2011. 

Cabinet of President Olusegun Obasanjo 1999-2003