By Mumini Abdulkareem
The Kwara State Director of Public Prosecution, Barrister Mumini Adebimpe Jimoh has made history as the first civil servant to be conferred with the prestigious award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in the state.
The DPP, from Asa and two others, Akin Akintoye and Taiye Oladipo were the other two conferees who practiced and hailed from Kwara State respectively.
Their announcement was made last week by the Legal Practitioners Privilege Committee (LPPC) which conferred the title on seventy two lawyers across the country.
Bolaji Owasanoye, chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), was also named a senior advocate of Nigeria.
A total of 137 lawyers were shortlisted for the rank in 2020 — with 116 advocate applicants and 21 academic applicants. Of the 137 candidates shortlisted, 72 were successful, while 60 did not make the cut.
Other Kwarans who also applied for the award include the State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Salman Jawondo and Prof AbdulRasheed Ijaodola among others.
The 2020 list of successful applicants doubles the numbers recorded for 2019 when Festus Keyamo, minister of state for Niger Delta; and Akinlolu Osinbajo, brother to the vice-president and the longest-serving attorney general in Ogun state history, were among only over 30 successful candidates.
The title was first conferred on April 3, 1975, to two senior lawyers; Rotimi Williams and Nabo Graham-Douglas. Folake Solanke became the first female SAN in 1981.
Reacting to the issue, the Kwara State DPP told National Pilot in a telephone chat on Sunday that “I received my appointment as a sign of Allah’s blessing on me and of course the Kwara state civil service generally. This is because it is the first time in the history of the state, when a civil servant will emerge a SAN. This is a pride not only to my personal family, but the state as a whole. I pray that we have more of this from the state. I’m grateful to God for using me as instrument toward establishing this tradition in Kwara”.
He added that his next move is to give his service to the state. “I have always given my best to the state and I will continue to so do until I retired from the service. It is a very keen competition and you can see that I emerged from the merit list which is from 1-15 and I thank God for that which is even a pride and a blessing to me it goes to show that Allah made it”, he noted.
On his part, Akintoye said “I want to give God all the praise and glory and thank Him for making it possible. It’s like a reward for years of hard work and dedication. This is also a challenge to do more and higher responsibility. I believe God will want me to make a difference with the elevation. “I am happy about it and I’m grateful to God about it, I’m also praying that God will enable me to live up to expectations, that I will not disappoint Him and humanity.
The public opinion or attitude towards senior advocates now some of them are not too complimentary. I’m hoping that in my own little way, I will be able to make the change and begin to alert the public to have confidence in the Senior Advocates of Nigeria” he added.
Speaking to National Pilot on Sunday, Yusuf Ali (SAN) who said he has personally called to congratulate the DPP on the feat noted that the development underscored the professionalism in the state ministry of justice.
Also in his reaction, the immediate past chairman of the NBA in Ilorin described it as good development and historical.
“This is well deserved and most welcomed. Other northern states that are not as vibrant as ours like Kebbi and Katsina states where civil servants have all bagged the award some dating back to 7 years. So why with all our legal prowess, vibrancy and knowledge of law here, we have not produced any. This is an inspiration to the rest of us. This is a happy moment for us”, Akande added.
By Mumini Abdulkareem