Justice Kayode Esho Dies

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It seems the season
of death in Nigeria as one eminent citizen after another passes on.
The latest is the
death this morning of one of Nigeria’s eminent jurists, the Ibadan based
Justice Kayode Esho. He was aged 87.

Family sources told
P.M.NEWS that he died in London this morning.

Justice Esho since
the beginning of this year had stayed more in the UK than Nigeria. He only
returned home in October to receive his country’s belated honor, Commander of
the Order of the Niger. Esho was also decorated last December by civil society
groups in Lagos, with the honor of the Defender of Anti-corruption.
In a short biography,
the hallmarks of Labour Foundation presented Justice Esho’s story thus:
“Justice Bobakayode
Eso was born on September 18, 1925 at Ilesa, in Osun State, Nigeria.
He proceeded to
Trinity College, Dublin where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law with Hons
Degree in Legal Science in 1953 and a Masters in 1956.
Described as the
Father of Judicial Activism in Nigeria, Justice Kayode Eso is the greatest protagonist
for an Independent Judiciary and very well known
for his relentless efforts in maintaining discipline and protecting the
integrity of his court.
On his retirement
from the Bench, Hon. Justice Eugene Ubaezonu, JCA, described our Awardee as a
strong protagonist of judicial activism and the Lord Denning of Nigeria who
refuses to be tied to the apron string of bad statutes or bad decisions.
Another Supreme Court
Judge, Justice Pius Aderemi tendered Justice Kayode Eso as a “permanent
exhibit”. He also added and I quote “Eso’s decisions as a Judge is legendary
and a delight to study”, “Full of erudite scholarship, well reasoned and
replete with legal authorities, there are fine statements of law and veritable
guides for all in the legal profession or concerned with law”. Justice Aderemi
concluded.
A fearless and
Courageous Judge, some of Justice Eso’s celebrated landmark judgements speak
for themselves, for example,
ü The mystery gunman
case, which is the trial of Wole Soyinka over his role in a broadcast which the
government of the defunct western region of Nigeria termed offensive. Justice
Eso returned a verdict of not guilty on Soyinka, and shortly after the
judgement, he was transferred from Ibadan to Akure, then regarded as a rural
station;
ü The celebrated case
of Chief Obafemi Awolowo Vs Alhaji Shehu Shagari, in 1979 will forever remain
green in Nigeria’s jurisprudence. The Apex Court in deciding the law relating
to election cases had by a majority of 6-1, affirmed the election of Alhaji
Shagari as duly elected President. However, the courageous decision of Justice
Eso in this case remains legendary. In his dissent opinion, Justice Eso held
that at least two-third of 19 states could only be 13 and not 12 2/3
He had received
several Awards and University honours too numerous to mention. He is Commander
of the Order of the Niger (CON): In 1979, he received LL.D honoris Causa,
University of Ibadan: 1990, and University of Nigeria, Nsukka: 2001,
respectively.
He was the author of
several books, articles and he has delivered various papers at National and
International Seminars.
He was married to Helen Aina Eso and they are blessed with 2 children and five
grand children.”
Nigeria has been
rocked of recent by the deaths of Dr. Olusola Saraki, Second Republic senate
leader and Chief Lam Adesina, the former governor of Oyo satte and a chieftain
of the Action Congress of Nigeria

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