The death has been announced of Richard Abimbola Akinjide; a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation. Richard Akinjide, a legal luminary and politician died early morning of Tuesday 21st April in his home at Ibadan, Oyo State at the age of 88.

Born on 4th November 1930, Akinjide had his early education in the Western Region, including Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife where he graduated in 1952 with distinction – aggregate 6. He proceeded to the United Kingdom for further studies and received his bachelor’s degree in law in 1955. He was called to the English bar and to the Nigerian bar on his return to the country. He went into private practice and established a law firm, Akinjide & Co.

Richard Akinjide’s love for journalism was vividly demonstrated by his several articles and analysis in The West African Pilot, the newspaper founded by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and the famous Daily Times of Nigeria newspaper. He had a stint with the University of Ibadan where he taught International Commercial Arbitration at the School of post graduate studies of the university.

The legal luminary ventured into politics early in his career. His efforts and active mobilization in party politics earned him a ministerial portfolio – the minister of education under the administration of Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa of the first republic.

He was a member of the judicial systems sub-committee of the second republic constitution drafting committee of 1975 to 1977. During the second republic, he pitched tent with the National Party of Nigeria, NPN and was appointed the party’s adviser. When the NPN won the presidential election in 1979; Richard Akinjide was made the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation under President Shehu Shagari. He was prominent in the election petition tribunal that interpreted what constitutes 2/3% of 19 of the then 19 states in Nigeria.

Late Akinjide recorded several milestones in his political and legal careers, among which are: temporary reversal of execution of armed robbers, abolition of the decree banning exiles from returning to Nigeria and eviction of many foreign nationals from Nigeria.

He was a member of the judicial council, a chieftain in the Olubadan of Ibadan’s court of clan of nobles and a member of the People Democratic Party (PDP).