Renowned legal scholar, Prof. Yemi Oke, has issued a robust response to what he termed “unfounded allegations” made against him by Venerable B. O. Okunuga.
The allegations were brought to light in an online document titled “Clergyman Call on LPPC to Disqualify Law Professor from SAN Rank alleging Fraudulent and Sharp Practices,” published on September 23, 2023, by Halima Abiola on loyalnigerianlawyer.com.
Prof. Oke, who is a member of the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Lagos, expressed his dismay at the public nature of the allegations, emphasizing that they were not only baseless but also “cheap and desperate” attempts to thwart his long-standing ambition to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Venerable Okunuga had previously submitted a similar petition against Prof. Oke’s SAN application in October 2020, which resulted in a suspension of his eligibility pending the resolution of the matter.
Prof. Oke appealed this decision, but it was unsuccessful.
Despite the ongoing legal dispute between the Ogunade Family and Venerable Okunuga over properties, Prof. Oke maintained that the allegation of collusion was unjust and malicious.
In his statement, Prof. Oke revealed his journey to apply for SAN, explaining that his eligibility was repeatedly hindered by the unresolved lawsuit, Suit. No. LD/2437LM/2019, which was only dismissed in 2022 after the shortlisting of applicants for SAN in that year.
Despite the adversity, Prof. Oke expressed his confidence in the fairness of the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) and their ability to differentiate between valid concerns and what he referred to as “transferred aggression.”
He also indicated that he would continue to follow due process, and if necessary, formally respond to the renewed allegations.
Prof. Oke concluded by asserting his commitment to defending his professional reputation and revealed that he had engaged his legal counsel to address the matter appropriately.
The legal community and the public at large now await further developments in this ongoing dispute, as the LPPC’s decision will ultimately determine Prof. Oke’s eligibility for the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Read the statement :
REJOINDER TO THE UNFOUND ALLEGATIONS OF A DESPERATE
“CLERGYMAN” VENERABLE OKUNUGA AND HIS SOCIAL MEDIA
(1)My attention has been drawn to yet another desperate moves byVenerable
- O. Okunuga to frustrate my long-held dream, desire and aspiration to becoming a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)through an on-line document captioned: “Clergyman Call on LPPC to Disqualify Law Professor from SAN Rank alleging Fraudulent and Sharp Practices” published on September 23, 2023 by Halima Abiola at: loyalnigerianlawyer.com.
(2)I have never met or set my eyes on Venerable Okunuga till date. While I appreciate the fact that, in line with the tradition of Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) to invite comments on suitability of applicants, comments may be made, but certainly gallery-dancing on social media over a private communicationwith the LPPC is, to the least cheap and desperate of Venerable Okunuga.
(3)Venerable Okunuga had earlier submitted the same petition against my application for SAN on 7thOctober,2020. My confirmation hadto be put on hold for the LPPC to thoroughly look into the misplaced allegations.
(4)I appeared before the LPPC in respect of the earlier petition of Venerable Okunuga. The LLPC ruled that Suit. No. LD/2437LM/2019 filed by Venerable Okunuga raised an allegation against myperson and that my eligibility to proceed will be put on hold until the suit is finally determined.
(5)I filed an appeal against the decision but my appeal was not successful.
(6)While the case was pending, I made attempts for apply for SAN again in 2021.TheLPPC wrote that I will not be eligible to apply until the suit was determined.
(7)I applied again in the year 2022 in the hope that the suit would have been determined. I continued to pray to God for victory. The suit, Suit. No. LD/2437LM/2019 was dismissed in 2022 after names of applicants for SAN in 2022 had been shortlisted.
(8)I contacted the LPPC through a letter. The LPPC wrote that, unfortunately, applications and processingfor the year 2022 SAN was almost concluded and that I can only apply for the next edition in 2023.
(9)I applied for the 2023 edition and was shoand that I can only apply for the next edition in 2023.
(9)I applied for the 2023 edition and was shortlisted only for the “Clergyman” to repeat the same malicious petition with minor additions.
(10)The issue of Ogunade Family over Nos. 366 and 368 Muritatala Mohammed Way dates back to1991. The Head of the Ogunade Family filed a suit in 2000, before I was called to the Nigerian barin January 2001. The suit, No. ID/198/2000 –Prince Ogunade & Ors vs Venerable Okunuga & Ors has continued till date. Parties are now on appeal.
(11)We became a tenant in No. 366 Muritala Mohammed Way through the Landlord, Prince Ogunade. We handledsome matters for the landlord.
(12)The unfound, maliciousallegation of “collusion” with Prince Ogunade simply because our firm is a Counsel is,to say the least, most wicked.
(13)Ours is a Partnership. I do mostly advisory, research and consultancy. I’m not the Counsel onrecord in the matter but the wicked Venerable Okunuga has mindlessly singled me outbecause of my aspiration to be made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
(14)If he has criminal allegations against Prince Ogunade or my person, he knows where to pursue same. I’d refrained from taking out suits against him for defamation to avoid beclouding the sense of judgement of the LPPC in respect of his earlier application of 7thOctober 2020.
(15)There is not truth in the misplaced, wicked and most malicious allegations of Venerable Okunuga. The Ogunade family and its headship have been
fighting over Nos. 366 and 368 since 1991 being the properties of their daughter, Late Mrs Morgan(Nee Ogunade). Family dispute over land should ordinarily not be taken personal against a Counsel.
(16)I’m very sure the LPPC is a fair professional institution and will not allow
the desperate Venerable Okunuga to again“re-litigate”his misplaced
grievances for which I’d been cleared by the LPPC after rigorous scrutiny.
(17)The ethics of the legal professionwill not allow me to say orwrite beyond debunking the unfoundallegations of Venerable Okunuga. His transferred aggression is misplacedand had better been directed at the Ogunades.
(18)I remain an applicant before the LPPC. I’ll be unable to say or volunteer further facts or vital documents or exhibits on social media just to show that the allegationsof Venerable Okunuga are baseless.
(19)By rules,if the LPPCdeems it necessary, I will be contacted to make a formal response to Venerable Okunuga’s renewed allegations for the second time.
(20)In view of the fact that my image and professional reputation is being unjustly maligned publicly, I have contacted my lawyers to do the needful.
Prof. Ganiu Adeyemi Oke, Ph.D, FCArb, FCTI
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