Death, the compulsory end of all, has again struck, throwing the Kwara State Judiciary arm of government into sobriety. The sector is in pensive mood, mourning the death of their member; Justice Safiya Titilayo Daibu.
The death of Justice Daibu, a senior High Court Judge in the state Judiciary, came barely 24 hours after the Vice Chancellor of the Kwara State University, Professor Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi SAN was consigned to the grave at his late father’s residence, off Ahmadu Bello Way, GRA, Ilorin.
According to the Judicial hirachical arrangement, Justice Daibu was about to reach the pinnacle of her career when the tragedy struck, leaving everyone in bewilderment.
The fine jurist as been referenced by her clerk and lawyers, was supposed to become the number one judicial officer in Kwara State by ascending the seat of the Chief Judge (CJ) in January, 2023 following the retirement of the incumbent CJ, Justice Suleiman Kawu, which will take effect from that same month.
To many legal practitioners at the Bar and the Bench, Kwara judicial jurisdiction lost golden chance of having female as CJ, the seat which has long been clamoured for after Justice Raliat Elelu bowed out of service many years ago.
If the hirachical arrangement still subsists, the death has now paved way for Justice A.A Adebara, who was the far third ranked judicial officer.
The death of the two giant legal personalities now brings to mind the quote of Talmud, “So live that people may speak well of thee at thy grave. The just needs no memorial, for his deeds are his monument.”
Meanwhile,condolences have continued to pour in over the departure of the eminent jurist. The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Suleiman Junior described Late Daibu as one of the finest jurists in Kwara state.
“It’s no doubt a great loss to the Kwara State Judiciary and Ilorin as a whole. She was a thorough, diligent and hard-working woman who allowed the fear of God to prevail over all her doings,” he said.
The chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch, Barrister Gambari, in an exclusive chat with Pilot Law, also lamented over the death of the jurist saying her death was sudden and painful but she had lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation.
Former Governor of the state and the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on his verified Twitter handle, expressed grief over the loss, describing the jurist as a calm but firm person who’s conscientious, honest, stable and committed to her job, family, and, more importantly, to the cause of Allah (SWT).
“It is very sad to learn about the death of a sister and wife to a brother, Justice Titi Daibu. The late Judge was one of my closest advisers as Governor of our dear State, Kwara. I always admired how she was able to effectively draw the line while playing the role of a sister to me and also complying with the ethics of an officer in the temple of justice.
On his part, Barrister Olaolu Yusuf Ali SAN, said the jurist and Professor Akanbi SAN were his family friends who were good at what they did, he said, “We were so close, the former Vice Chancellor was a brother a professional colleague, I’ve known him in all of his life, but Allah has passed his judgement. I pray Allah Grant him eternal rest. May Allah keep all his family members, friends and the rest of us.
“For Justice Daibu, very close family friend, my daughter married into her family even my son, we’ve become family, but coming as it were, we surrender to Almighty Allah. Allah judgement is beyond our understanding, it’s a big loss for this City, the state and our country.
In an emotional ladden voice, Barrister Saka Isau SAN exclaimed, saying it’s a shock he’s yet to recover from.
“Ever since the demise of the two prominent personalities, I’ve been in touch with their families. The news struck us. These are my people, it’s a sad occurrence for the Judiciary, Ilorin particular. But as a Muslim, we know we come from God and to him, we will all return.
Brief profiles of past CJs in Kwara State
The first Chief Justice in the state was Hon. Justice Saidu Kawu who was in office between 1975 and 1984, afterwards, four others held the position namely; Justice Timothy Oyeyipo who served from 1984 to 2005, Justice Saka Yusuf also had a short stint between 2006 and 2007, Justice Elelu resumed office thereafter and served from 2008 till 2012. Justice Bamigbola equally served in 2014 while the current serving CJ took over the mantle in 2014. This account shows that Elelu was the first and the only female among the past Kwara CJs and Daibu, who would have held the position by January, was cheated by death.