A former Vice Chancelor, Lagos State University, Ojo, Prof. Jadesola Akande, is dead.
Professor Akande's Interview with the Achebe Foundation
A former Vice Chancelor, Lagos State University, Ojo, Prof. Jadesola Akande, is deadThe deceased, a lawyer, researcher and administrator, was 67.
One of her children, Dayo Debo-Akande, confirmed her passage at her Ikoyi, Lagos residence on Tuesday.
"One of her aides told me that she died in her sleep. We will miss her a lot. Her wealth of experience was second to none, " Dayo told one of our correspondents on the telephone.
The Akande and Esan families also confirmed the renowned academic's death in a statement.
"The families of Chief Debo Akande (SAN) and Chief Esan of Ibadanland announce the passing away quietly in her sleep on April 29, 2008 of their daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunty, Prof. Jadesola Olayinka Debo-Akande, OFR," they said.
A lady, who identified herself as Akande's personal assistant said her boss "did not complain of any sickness" before she left her (Akande) residence on Monday.
The deceased's son-in-law, Mr. Tokunbo Coker, told one of our correspondents that Akande visited their house around 5.30pm on Monday and discussed with him and her daughter after which she took mango with them.
"It was unbelievable when I learnt that my mother-in-law died in her sleep this (Tuesday) morning. Her body was still warm when I got to her residence at Ikoyi at 11 am," he said.
Akande's last public outing was of at lecture marking the 70th birthday of a human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), in Lagos on Monday.
At the event, Akande, who until her death was an Executive Director with the Women, Law and Development Centre, officiated the cutting of Fawehinmi's birthday cake and prayed for his quick recovery.
Among those who reacted to her passage were Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), the President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba; a former Vice -Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, and his successor, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi.
Others were the President, Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, the Executive Director, Women Advocate for Research and Documentation Centre, Mrs. Abiola Akiode-Afolabi; and Dr. Keziah Awosika.
The Special Adviser (Media) to Fashola, Mr. Akeem Bello, said in a statement that the governor visited the family house of the former vice-chancellor in company with his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Fashola advised the "family members who were equally shocked by the sudden transition of the respected legal scholar to take solace in the fact that she lived a very fruitful and fulfilled life."
In the condolence register opened for the deceased, the governor wrote, "Dear Aunty Jade, rest in the bosom of your Creator."
He described her as a "distinguished Nigerian who built many leaders as well as the nation."
In the condolence register, Agbakoba (SAN) wrote, "This is a shocking and terrible news. A great loss to the legal profession and Nigeria. A legal icon and an academic giant."
Agbakoba later issued a statement in which he described Akande as "a legal giant and a woman of substance."
While Ibidapo-Obe said the deceased was "an unrelenting advocate for womenÔÇśs rights and empowerment," Odugbemi described her as a "pleasant and brilliant academic," who would be missed by academics and those in the legal profession.
A Judge of High Court of Lagos, Justice Joseph Oyewole, said Akande lived a fulfilled life.
Awosika, who is Akande's partner at WLDC, said they both spoke on the telephone between 10.30 and 11pm on Monday night about a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
"We talked and discussed about the meeting we were supposed to have in the office today (Tuesday)," she said, before breaking down in tears.
Akiode-Afolabi said Akande's death was a great loss to Nigeria.
"She was a woman of courage, a woman of profound intellect and very resourceful. She was the last woman standing and she had contributed her quota to the struggle for a better society," she said.
Also, the Pro-National Conference Organisation said in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Wale Okunniyi, that Akande would be remembered for drafting the people's constitution launched by PRONACO on May 22, 2007.
"PRONACO and the entire democratic movement will no doubt miss her fearless contributions to the renewed effort at reforming the Nigerian polity, " he said.
Born on November 15, 1940, Akande, a distinguished jurist, was a law graduate of the University College, London. She was called to the bar at Inner Temple in 1963.
Akande returned to the country in 1965 and worked in the West Regional Civil Service as an administrative officer/state council for a year before she proceeded to the Nigerian Law School.