Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde, the Partner at Wole Olanipekun & Co at the centre of the controversial email to SAIPEM SPA that has led to a call for Body of Benchers Chairman, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN to recuse himself from the post, has temporarily quit legal practice over the debacle.
In a Press Release obtained by CITY LAWYER, Ogunde decried the controversies that have trailed her email, adding that “I will take a leave of absence from legal practice and get involved in community and social work pro bono, with a few selected NGOs.”
She stated that she “will also during this time undergo necessary courses to equip myself better in dealing with professional and life issues.”
She however vowed to return to legal practice, saying: “I will return to legal practice after some time, in consultation with my parents, senior colleagues, and well-wishers.”
CITY LAWYER had in an exclusive report cited a complaint by former Minister of Energy and Petroleum ministries, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia SAN over an email from Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde, a Partner in Wole Olanipekun & Co, allegedly soliciting to take over a brief his law firm was handling from his client, SAIPEM SPA. Following his demand for an apology, Wole Olanipekun & Co apologized for the debacle and disowned the Partner.
Below is the full text of the Press Release.
MY EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE OF 20TH JUNE 2022 AND SUBSEQUENT EVENTS
The email I sent to SAIPEM on 20th June 2022 has, for several weeks, become the subject of discussion, debate, and diatribe among lawyers and the general public on various social media platforms. My public statement issued on 27th June 2022, which was aimed at expressing remorse for the anguish the said email caused to Ajumogobia & Okeke, my Firm, Wole Olanipekun & Co., and my parents and also to debunk the wrong conclusions drawn by many lawyers that the partners and/or associates at the firm knew about or consented to the content or delivery of my email did not also achieve the purpose in the opinion of some people.
Since I issued that public statement, I have read on social media a complaint filed against me at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee by the First Vice-President of the NBA and the letter written to my Firm’s Founding Partner, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR that he should recuse himself from his position as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers.
I cannot deny the fact that I am at the centre of every main or collateral issue that has arisen out of the said email. It may appear as if neither Wole Olanipekun & Co nor me has taken any concrete step to ameliorate the effect of the email by way of discipline, education, reform, and rehabilitation concerning me. I wish to state that the firm took such steps but did not believe that its actions should be for the attention of the media.
Unfortunately, the matter has now become rather complicated and has not only affected me psychologically but also Wole Olanipekun & Co and my family. It has bred bad blood and, to my great pain, thoroughly embarrassed our Firm’s Founder, the innocent and dignified Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR, and as well as the Firm.
As the one through whom all these have arisen, I have consulted with my family and the Firm and after a deep and thorough examination of all the facets of this hydra-headed problem, I have decided to take the following steps:
1. I will take a leave of absence from legal practice and get involved in community and social work pro bono, with a few selected NGOs.
2. I will also during this time undergo necessary courses to equip myself better in dealing with professional and life issues.
3. I will return to legal practice after some time, in consultation with my parents, senior colleagues, and well-wishers.
This statement is issued to enable me to move to the next stage of my life. I will no longer be issuing any public statements.
I thank all those who have helped me to pass through this very trying period of my life, particularly my parents, partners, and associates of Wole Olanipekun & Co, my friends, and my parents’ friends.
God bless you all.
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