Respected Federal High Court judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba and some senior advocates were among the first jurists to pay tribute to Dr. Khrushchev Ekwueme, the deceased Partner at tier-1 law firm, Olanihun Ajayi LP.
Justice Dimgba penned a fairly long post on the late senior lawyer, saying: “A star on earth left to rejoin the galaxy. This was not only my brother, but a deeply treasured friend. He was my biggest and strongest cheerleader. His frame could not habitate any sentiment or emotion that’s not pure – no space, no matter how tiny, for envy, bitterness, hatred or any such dark clouds; ever quick to forgive – like our Christ (yes, he was Christ’s follower). I watched as he rose, from ABSOLUTE NOTHING to what God has chosen us to be. When he was low, he carried it with grace and dignity (you could never tell from the outside the storms that brewed within); and when he was high as the Lord Himself chose to give, he carried himself with humility and with even greater grace. I never saw a human so complete like my brother and my friend Dr KUK Ekwueme. Our hearts are filled with the deepest sorrow, broken to pieces. Yet, we must not fail, and indeed do thank the Lord God for the gift of such a wonderful personage; the God whose name is mercy. We trust His mercy to come through at this very hour, because it is needed in abundance. Adieu my brother and my friend KUK, as you gaze down upon us from your place among the galaxy, and with that twinkle in your eyes. Our love for you will never wane. Adieu!”
Writing on Ekwueme’s demise, the Chairman of the 2022 Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA), Mr. Ayodele Akintunde SAN, wrote: “I am shocked. KUK was a brilliant mind. A sad loss. May God Almighty grant him eternal rest. My heartfelt condolences to his colleagues and family. R.I.P KUK.”
On his part, legal scholar and leading jurist, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN wrote: “Deeply deeply saddening. A good man has gone, and way too soon and sudden. A refined gentleman, Dr KUK Ekwueme practised law with the fear of God. He did so in the finest traditions of the Bar. He was warm and respectful to all he came across.
“Our deepest condolences to his beloved family and to our colleagues at Olaniwun Ajayi LP. Ndo nu. May KUK’s gentle soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”
Contributing to the flurry of tributes, prominent commercial lawyer, Mr. Uche Val Obi SAN wrote: “This is a loss of a dear brother and friend of over 3 decades. I’m still in shock. Words have failed me this time. KUK was a first class lawyer, urbane, witty, warm, humane, loyal and with a large heart. He was so full of positive aura and always with a charming smile that diffuses all manner of tensions. I just can’t imagine what the family should be going through at this point given the way we are feeling already. The world has certainly lost a very good man. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.”
On her part, former UAC Nigeria Plc Company Secretary/General Counsel, Ms. Nkem Agboti wrote: “I am really saddened by this. My condolences to you, Prof. Ajayi, and to the whole firm.”
While leading human rights activist and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu asked in disbelief, “Sorry, what happened to Kruschev????” Mr. Orji Agwu Uka wrote: “When I heard the news last night, I refused to believe it and hung on to the faint hope that it would turn out to be untrue. Dr Kru was a quintessential gentleman and an outstanding legal mind who touched many lives. His 2005 seminal work on Investment Law in Nigeria proved very vital to my LLM dissertation research. May his soul rest in peace, and may the good Lord grant you, the OAL family as well his family and friends, the fortitude to bear such a colossal loss.”
The Founding Partner at Olanihun Ajayi, Prof. Konyin Ajayi SAN had broken the news of Ekwueme’s passing when he wrote cryptically on his verified LINKEDIn handle, “The law & humanity has lost a Supernova,” spotlighting the photograph of the deceased.
He followed this up with another post which read: “The untimely & shocking departure of Dr. KUK Ekwueme. A most distinguished international scholar, commanding advocate, brilliant Solicitor, highly regarded and well respected – just as he was respecting. A moving library, great orator wonderful friend. Good night.”
Khrushchev was a Partner in the Dispute Resolution Practice of the firm. A former student of The Hague Academy of International Law and Visiting Researcher at the Harvard Law School, Khrushchev specialized in International Economic Law, and International Dispute Resolution, International Commercial Arbitration, Public Interest Litigation and White Collar Crime Prosecution. He was fluent in German.