Pilot Law

Youngest SANs in Nigerian history

The rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) is a title that is conferred on legal practitioners in Nigeria of not less than 10-year standing in the legal profession and who have distinguished themselves in the profession. To be considered for the rank, a lawyer must have been practicing or be in the academics for not less than 10 years. The conferment is made in accordance with Legal Practitioner Act 207 Section 5(1) Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). The LPPC also consist of Attorney-General, one Justice of the Supreme Court, President of the Court of Appeal, five Chief Judges of states, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court and five senior advocates of Nigeria.
When the conferment of the rank began precisely on April 3, 1975, late Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams and Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas were the first set of lawyers to be honoured with the prestigious rank. Since then, over 500 lawyers have been conferred with the rank so far. While some are dead, others are alive.
However, not many of them were lucky to be conferred with the rank in their 30s and 40s because of the rigours of work needed to be done before achieving of the title. Here are a few of the very successful and notable lawyers who were conferred with the rank early in their careers and at an early age.
Professor Fabian Ikenna Ajogwu: Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN has practiced law for over two decades and is currently a professor of Corporate Governance at Lagos Business School and has authored several books and numerous papers published in professional Journals.
He obtained his first degree in Law (LL.B) from the University of Nigeria, his BL from the Nigerian Law School and was called to bar in 1991. He has a Master’s Degree in Law (LL.M) from the University of Lagos, an MBA from IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain, and a Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.) from University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is an Alumnus of the Said Business School of Oxford University, and an Alumnus of the Lagos Business School. He is a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria at the age of 39.
Babatunde Raji Fashola: Former governor of Lagos State and present minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola was called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in November 1988, after completing his course at the University of Benin and the professional training programme at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos which he undertook between 1987 and1988.
His legal career of over two decades, commenced in the law Firm of Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe and Belgore, where he cut his legal teeth as a litigator over such wide-ranging areas of specialisation as intellectual property (registration of trade marks), commercial law, covering general contracts, company activities, mergers, acquisitions, right issues, ownership of shares and equity of corporations, as well as land disputes, criminal law and chieftaincy matters, in all of which he has come to acquire appreciable expertise and vast experience.
He was honoured with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2004 when he was just 41-years-old and after he had been working as a lawyer for over a decade.
Kehinde Olamide Ogunwumiju: Kehinde Olamide Ogunwumiju could be described as currently one of the youngest Nigerian to be honoured with the title of Senior Advocate, having been conferred with the rank when he was just 36-years-old.
Ogunwumiju was born on December 24, 1981, to Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju of the Court of Appeal and Late Pharmacist Festus Kokumo Ogunwumiju. He started his career as a corps member in Afe Babalola chambers (Ibadan office) and later moved to the Abuja office and rose to the enviable position of a partner in Afe Babalola Chambers.
After working in active litigation for several years, he was conferred with the most coveted rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on September 18, 2017, at 12 years post-call. His area of specialty includes appeals, arbitration, criminal litigation and election petitions.
Alex Izinyon: The principal partner and the head of chambers of Alex A. Izinyon SAN and Company, Alex Izinyon, established his chambers on August 5, 1987. With a vast experience which covers every aspect of law from simple contractual documentation to the most intricate and complex legal matters, his vast knowledge and skills have led to his engagement as legal adviser to several organisations, parastatals, banks, commercial institutions, and various state governments in the country.
He obtained his PhD in arbitration in 2004 from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. He had his LL.M from the prestigious University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1991. He was called to the Nigerian Bar after he received his B.L from the Nigeria Law School at Lagos and LL.B from University of Ibadan in 1985 and 1986 respectively.
As a result of his vast experience and outstanding contributions to legal development in Nigeria, he was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1999 at the age of 41. He became the first Senior Advocate in Nigeria among practicing legal practitioners to be so appointed in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. He is also a Notary Public of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Ahmed Raji: Ahmed Raji is the founder and principal counsel of Ahmed Raji and Co. (ARC) a reputable international law firm. He has considerable experience in the public sector having being a resident electoral commissioner in different states in Nigeria.
He established ARC in 1999 as a medium size law firm. ARC lawyers were primarily solicitors to banks and financial institutions. A sustained growth in clientele and portfolio spurred an expansion in the size of the firm with offices in Abuja, Lagos and Kano.
He attended the prestigious Kings College, University of London and one of the foremost Universities in Nigeria, University of Ife, before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School.
He obtained a Masters Degree in law (LLM) from the King’s College, University of London, United Kingdom. He was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in September, 2012 at the age of 49. He is a certified capital market solicitor and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK). He was appointed resident electoral commissioner where he served in five different states in Nigeria for a period of eight years.
Joseph Bodunrin Daudu: Joseph Bodunrin Daudu was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1980 after graduating with LL.B Hons in 1979 from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He did the compulsory National Youth Corps programme in Port Harcourt, Rivers State of Nigeria where he cut his teeth in the law firms of Boma Obuoforibo and Co. and C V Georgewill and Co. He went into full private legal practice with the firm of Dr Hamed Kusamotu and Co, Zaria and in 1986 went on to establish the firm of J B Daudu and Co, which now has offices in Abuja, Kaduna and Zaria.
B Daudu is a legal giant and a specialist in criminal law, Appeals, administrative law, constitutional law, election petition among others. He has successfully handled several notable cases in these key areas of law.
Born in 1959, he became a Senior Advocate in 1995 when he was just 36-years-old.
Yusuf Olaolu Ali: Yusuf Olaolu Ali is a Nigerian lawyer who was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983. He had his first degree at the University of Ife, where he achieved a Second-Class Upper Division for his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1982. He attended Nigerian Law School, where he passed with a 2nd Class Upper Division. In 1989 he was appointed as a notary public. Ali earned his Master of Laws degree at his alma mater.
The principal and founder of the law firm, Yusuf O. Ali & Co, Ghalib Chambers, was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate in 1997, just eight years after he was made Notary Public.
He is a member of many professional bodies, including: Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association, American Bar Association and Commonwealth Lawyers Association He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, (FCIArb) (UK); Fellow Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) (Nigeria); Member Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN); Fellow Society for Peace Studies and Practice (FSPSP); Fellow Dispute Resolution Institute (F. DRI).
Muyiwa Atoyebi: Muyiwa Atoyebi, an Alumnus of University of Ilorin was listed among the 38 others approved for the legal top brass announced by Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) recently. Atoyebi is the managing Partner of Omaplex Law Firm and is in charge of the Firm’s Government Business Practice as well as Litigation, International Dispute Resolution, Maritime and Shipping Law. He is a World Class Oil and Gas Lawyer as well as Litigation, International Dispute Resolution, Maritime and Shipping Law amongst others. He is presently the team leader of the Commercial and Emerging Areas of Practice of the Firm, which focuses on Public Expenditure Management, Project and Corporate Finance, Privatization, General Corporate Governance, Compliance, Obtaining Practicing Licenses and Approval by Regulatory Agencies. He is a trusted advisor to many Government Agencies and International Organisations. Tola brings a charismatic, structured approach to solving problems and an unwavering commitment to achieving clients’ goals.
Atoyebi is the youngest Nigerian lawyer to become a SAN at the age of 34 years old.
Culled from www.exsplur.com

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