A Tribute to Late Tunji Ayanlaja, SAN

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By Hon. Justice Eniola Fabamwo 

I join my colleagues ex-Alums of Ayanlaja Adesanya & Co to extend my condolences to the family and the legal profession for such a great loss.

Mr TUNJI Ayanlaja SAN (now of blessed memory ) was an exceptional lawyer. He was indeed an icon.

In our youthful exuberance and trying to make sense of our newly acquired profession as young lawyers, we thought the duo of Mr TUNJI Ayanlaja SAN and Mr Bambo Adesanya SAN were “slave drivers” at the time but I dare say, the work ethics “imposed” upon us at that time, howbeit unwillingly, played a great role in molding us and making us persons of repute today. I say this with all sense of modesty taking into consideration the calibre of personalities on this forum.

Mr Ayanlaja SAN seemed larger than life and I would have thought he would live to be at least 90 years but then, our times are in the hands of the Almighty. 77 years itself seems like perfection as it is not how long but how well.

I recall an occasion where Mr TUNJI Ayanlaja SAN regaled the audience with stories of his beginnings and fascination with the legal profession. He said anytime he accompanied his father and they walked past a court house, his father will hush him to keep quiet and remove his cap and slowly and reverently walk past the court house with his head bowed in complete obeisance. I think if I can recall, his father believed that the Judge who had the power to pass judgment of death was next to God!
The reverence for the temple of justice was what fascinated Mr TUNJI Ayanlaja SAN to study Law.

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Being an Ijebu man, but a Lagos lawyer (as his Chambers was in Lagos) Mr Ayanlaja SAN and Mr Adesanya SAN never forgot their roots. Unlike many Lagos lawyers, the duo would always attend our Legal Year Service in Ogun State unfailingly every year and it was always a pleasure to see them.

The last legal year they attended in 2021, after the Covid Pandemic, I decided to take a picture with them in full regalia. Little did I know I was doing this for posterity and this will be the last time I will have such pleasure.

Adieu MR TUNJI Ayanlaya SAN, a fine gentleman. You bestrode this world like a colossus! (Apologies to Julius Ceasers’ Shakespeare)

Justice Eniola Fabamwo (née Koleoso) is a Judge of the High Court of  Ogun State, Nigeria 

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