Akinteye: Toast to a humble judg
On Friday, the crème de la crème of the Nigerian bar, its first chapter, fondly called the Premier Bar, having been formed in 1954, converged to honour Honourable Justice Solomon Adegboyega Akinteye (Rtd) on his 70th birthday. Born on June 23, 1953, in Igbo-Ora, Ibarapa Central Local Government of Oyo State, Akinteye is an alumnus of the then University of Ife, graduating in 1980 and called to the bar in 1981. From a legal practice that began in 1982, he got elevated to the bench of the High Court of Oyo State on January 30, 1997 and got sworn in as one of eleven judges on that day by the then Military Governor of Oyo State, Colonel Hammed Usman.
While he was at the High Court of the Oyo State judiciary, Akinteye served in Ibadan, Ogbomoso, and Oyo judicial divisions, as well as serving as Chairman of Election Petition Tribunals at the state and federal levels. He was Member, Governorship and Legislative Houses of Assembly Election/Tribunal in Enugu State in 1998; Chairman, Oyo State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal, 2004; Chairman, Oyo State Local Government Election Petition Appeal Tribunal in 2009; Chairman, National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Katsina State in 2011; Chairman, National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal 2, Cross River State, in 2011.
Akinteye was subsequently appointed by the then Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as the pioneer President of the Customary Court of Appeal of Oyo State, a position he occupied from February 12, 2018 to the date of his retirement. He spent 21 years, four months and twenty days on the Bench, out of which he spent four months and ten days as President of the Customary Court.
The Nigerian judiciary, especially the bench, is today being pelted with rotten tomatoes. This is especially coming against the backdrop of a recent outlandish confession by a Nigerian senator, Adamu Bulkachuwa, that he influenced judgments in matters before his wife, Zainab, a retired judge and President of the Court of Appeal. There is no doubt that the Bulkachuwa confession has totally destroyed public confidence in the Nigerian judiciary. Apart from financial inducements that have become a pestilence in the judiciary, many judges have also rubbished the ancient Lord Denning qualities in a judge, becoming indistinguishable from social rats. Not only do some of them mingle openly and without any restraint in places of comfort, they daily drag down the renown of the judiciary. An Akinteye is a testimony that there are still persons in the Nigerian judiciary who wear their judicial chastity proudly on their lapel.
During the birthday celebration, the humility, modesty and incorruptibility of Akinteye were on hand for celebration. On a personal note, he has taught me the lessons in contentedness with the modesty that is his life. Here is wishing MiLord a happy celebration.