Chief Ofodile SAN, OFR (1921- 2014) was born on November 20, 1921, in Onitsha, Anambra State.
He attended Immanuel Church Infant School, St. Mary’s Primary School and Christ the King College (CKC), all in Onitsha. He taught briefly at the Holy Trinity School, Onitsha in 1941 and later worked at the P&T (Post and Telegraphs) Department, Enugu. As was the case in his days, a stint as a Teacher at Holy Trinity School, Onitsha waterside followed inevitably. Life’s sojourn took him to the defunct P & T (Posts and Telegraphs) Department as a staff and his tour of duty took him to different parts of Nigeria such as Lagos, Enugu, Abakaliki, Bende and lastly, Aba.
Onowu Chike Ofodile resigned his appointment with the P & T in 1954 and diligently found his way to the United Kingdom. He thereafter proceeded to Balham and Tooting College, London and North-Western Polytechnic, London, for further studies. He was at the Inns of Court School of Law, London, in 1959 and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple, London, in 1959. He was equally called to the Nigerian Bar in Lagos, 1960.
His legal teeth were cut in the chambers of his illustrious cousin, late Justice Ikpeazu, he worked in the chambers of Hon. Justice C. Ikpeazu as a junior from 1959-1964. When Barrister Chuba Ikpeazu, QC was elevated as a Judge, the late Onowu had to pick the gauntlet to fight numerous legal battles and his doggedness resulted in celebrated cases which presently litter the law reports. He went into private legal practice from 1964 to 1983.
The military administration of General Muhammadu Buhari appointed him the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in which office he held sway between 1984-1985 and was thus a member of the Junta’s highest decision making body, the Supreme Military Council. He was elevated to the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) as well as a Life Bencher in 1979. In appreciation of his contributions to nation-building, President Yar’ Adua conferred on him the National Honour, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), in 2008.
The Obi of Onitsha conferred on him the traditional title, Onowu Iyasele of Onitsha in 2003 and he distinguished himself by serving creditably in that capacity until his death. Ofodile retired from active legal practice in 2009 after 50 years at the Bar.
The late Ofodile will be remembered for his numerous contributions to the development of the Nigerian legal system. He was a brilliant lawyer who authored many law books. He wrote his Autobiography titled: IN HIS TIME Re collections of CHIKE OFODILE. He was a role model whose shining example is worthy of emulation.
He died at the age of 92 on August 3, 2014.
Adenike Adesanya is a Brilliant young wig who is passionate about preserving the legacy of the legal profession. Nike wishes to bring back to our memories our heroes past. Email to Nike: email@example.com
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