Leading litigator and senior lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN has emerged the new Chairman of the embattled Body of Benchers, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report.

Olanipekun assumed leadership of the august body following the completion of tour of duty by the immediate past chairman, retired Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour.

In an acceptance speech obtained by CITY LAWYER , Olanipekun said that “it will be an understatement to posit that I am humbled, honoured and ecstatic at the matchless and remarkable opportunity afforded me to lead and pilot the affairs of the Body of Benchers for the next one year, having been elected as the Vice-Chairman on 25th March, 2021.”

The fiery litigator noted that since November 27, 1971 when the body was inaugurated, “the transition to either the office of the Vice-Chairman or Chairman has always been smooth, seamless, straightforward, rancour-free and unwrinked,” adding that “Here, we do not mount the soap box or campaign for elections.”

Perhaps in a veiled reference to the controversy that has dogged the body over its alleged meddlesomeness in the affairs of one of its committees, the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) leading to the resignation of its chairman and two other members, Olanipekun said: “Without being immodest, but for the sake of emphasis and record purposes, as well as the present exigencies, I have always given my all to the legal profession, whether as a practicing lawyer in court rooms across the length and breadth of the country; or as Secretary and later Chairman of a branch of the NBA; or as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the old Ondo State ….” He reeled out more positions held by him in the legal profession.

He pledged “to continue to give my all to the services of the Body of Benchers as Chairman for the next year and, in doing so, I will be calling upon you all for your cooperation, understanding, assistance, advice and counsel.”

Saying that the legal profession “is under aggression and attack, both from within and without,” Olanipekun stated that it behoves the members “to rejig, redefine and reorientate our profession in order to restore its cherished nobility and glory.”

CITY LAWYER recalls that leading oil and gas lawyer, Mr. Lucius Nwosu SAN had in a February 17, 2022 petition asked the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to restrain Olanipekun, himself a former NBA president, from bidding for the chairmanship of the Body of Benchers.

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