A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Idowu Sofola (SAN), is dead.
Tribune Online exclusively gathered that the Ikenne born passed away at the age of 84 years at his Lagos residence at about 8.00pm in the evening of Friday.
He will be buried today at Ikenne by 4.00 p.m. according to Islamic injunctions.
The late Sofola was an accomplished jurist, Benched and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association.
He was formerly the Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benches. He was the first black to be appointed Secretary of the International Bar Association.
Until his death, Sofola was a prominent member of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), and the principal partner at his law firm, Idowu Sofola & co, ‘Ereke Chambers.’
Sofola was called to the English Bar at Middle Temple Inn of Court, London on July 17, 1962, and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria on July 30, 1962.
He immediately commenced legal practice and has been in active legal practice since then. He was in 1989 elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the equivalent of the English Queen’s Counsel.
Chief Idowu was born on September 1934 at Ikenne-Remo, a town in Ogun State, southwestern Nigeria. He was enrolled at St. Saviour’s School, Ikenne in 1945 for his primary education. In 1952, he was admitted into Eko Boys High School, where he completed his Secondary education.
Upon completion of his secondary school education, he joined the Lagos State Judiciary in 1958 as a Court Clerk, having decided this to be a pathway to understanding the practice of Law.
He thereafter journeyed to the United Kingdom where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law from the London School of Commerce and Holborn College.
He was called to the English bar at Lincolns Inn in July 1962, the same year he returned to Nigeria for legal practice.
Idowu began his career at the Supreme Court of Nigeria on July 30, 1962 when he was enrolled as a Solicitor and Advocate by Honourable Justice Sir Adetokunbo Ademola KBE, GCON, PC, SAN, having been sponsored by Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode QC, SAN and Kehinde Sofola CON, SAN.
Some of his contemporaries were late Chief M.A Kuku (Ogbeni Oja of Ijebu Ode), Chief Akin Delano among several successful lawyers.
On May 1989, he rose to the zenith of his career as Senior Advocate of Nigeria and in 1980, he was elected as president of the Nigerian Bar Association, a position he held until his tenure elapsed in 1982.
On March 30, 2012, he was elected Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benchers to succeed Dahiru Musdapher. Idowu is the first African to be elected as the Secretary-General of the International Bar Association.
He is a brother to Kehinde Sofola SAN, the father of Kayode Sofola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former Chairman of United Bank for Africa.
He got married to Chief Mrs Olusola Sofola with whom he has five children; most prominent of which is Olusina Sofola SAN. He also has a daughter who is a member of the Lagos State Judiciary, Her Worship, Yetunde Pinheiro (married to prominent Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN).
The other three children are Kola Sofola (a former banker turned businessman), Leke Sofola (a former banker turned businessman) and Femi Sofola (an insurance practitioner, working with FBN Insurance Limited).