Fallen Legal Heroes – Chief Tanimoshe Bankole Oki SAN

Bankole Oki

Chief Tanimoshe Bankole Oki (1919 – 2010)

Bankole Oki was born in Agege, Lagos when the community was still a farming village. His father, Abibu Oki was a wealthy trader who held the title of Balogun of Lagos. Bankole Oki attended St Paul’s Primary School, Lagos, then Methodist School, finishing his secondary education at CMS Grammar School, Lagos in 1939. As a secondary school student his interests included athletics in which he was a 1-mile winner at the Lagos Grier Club, in addition, he was also fond of scouting. In 1940, he joined the Nigeria civil service as a third class clerk.

During World War II, he joined the Royal Air Force, beginning in 1943, he spent two years in navigation training completing studies when the war was over but stayed with the RAF until 1947. He earned some grants which enabled him to fund a law education and was called to the bar in late 1950. Oki returned to Nigeria in February 1951 and joined the chambers of H.O. Davies. In 1953, after having left the civil service a decade earlier, he returned to civil service and became a principal state counsel. From 1953 to 1959, he worked in Ibadan in an official capacity and returned to Lagos in November 1959.

In 1960, when a request was made by Tafawa Balewa to the expatriate attorney-general for a legal practitioner with military background to work with the UN force in Congo, Oki was recommended. He spent a year and a half in Brazzaville in the legal office of the UN peace keeping force.

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Bankole Oki served as Commissioner for Boundary Settlement in Western State and later commissioner of justice in Lagos state. He was the Attorney-General of Lagos State from 1973 to 1975. In 1978, he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN.

Bankole-Oki was past Chairman, Body of Benchers (1992-1993) and was made a life Member of the Body. He was a recipient of two national honours – Officer of the Order of Niger (OON)  and Commander of the Order of Niger (CON).

He was until his death Chairman, Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria and the oldest SAN in Nigeria.

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