Yesterday, news broke about the passing away of John Olusegun Odubela(SAN), a leading lawyer who served as a Commissioner in Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s administration in Ogun state when he was Governor.
Not too long ago,he spoke to Citypeople about his life.
John Olusegun Odubela was the Managing Partner at Rickey Tarfa & Co. Lagos. He was the head of Chambers of the firm. He was a Notary Public of the Federal Repucblic of Nigeria. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Ogun State University with a Bachelor degree in Law.
He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990 and he obtained a Masters of Law degree from the University of Lagos in 1995. He is a member of the International Bar Association and Nigeria Bar Association.
In 2011, he took leave of absence from the Law firm to fulfill a political appointment in Ogun State, as the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, under the first term of governor Ibikunle Amosun government., He spoke to ISAAC ABIMBADE about his life and career at their new Lagos home,in Lekki, Lagos. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Between now and when you were 50, how has life been?
Life has been good. I know it’s the grace of God to be 52 and I thank God because in this part of the world where we have so many challenges; Each day you wake up, you are grateful to God. So, I would say that I’m thankful to God. He has kept me and I’m happy to also celebrate with my wife at 50. So, I’m very thankful.
We understand you served as Commissioner under Governor Amosun in his first term, how was it like being a Commissioner?
Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the Governor of Ogun State is my client. I have represented him on many legal matters and after he won the election in 2011, he invited me to be a Commissioner and I joined that government. I was Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology for 4 years, between 2011 and 2015.
And of course as a Lawyer, after my first 4 years, I felt that I have done my part by serving the good people of Ogun State. So, I decided to come back to my profession and I’m happy to say that, this year, I’m one of the 30 Lawyers that are to be conferred with the Senior Advocate of Nigeria title. God willing September 18, I will be formally conferred with the rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria. So, I’m happy to say that at least I joined this rank (SAN) when my wife clocked 50. And politics has been very good; you know it’s about service. I’m happy to have served my people for that 4 years.
So, I’m happy to say that at least I joined this rank (SAN) when my wife clocked 50. And politics has been very good; you know it’s about service. I’m happy to have served my people for that 4 years.
People wondered why you didn’t continue in politics?
You know that, first, I’m not a politician. Though, I enjoyed it; serving people I enjoyed it but as at today I’m still in touch with the governor. In fact, I was recently elected National delegation for the convention of the party. Even though you could see that I’m not having any political appointment but I still relate to my people. I go to them. I was elected just a few weeks ago among the 3 delegates that will represent my local government at the national convention.
Honestly, it’s about service. I would say I enjoyed it in that 4 years, and I’m still enjoying it.
You also worked at Rickey Tarfa & Co before you went into politics; tell us about the Law firm?
I’m still there. I’m the head of Chambers, and Partner in the Law firm called Rickey Tarfa & Co. This is my 27 years in that Law firm. I did my Youth Service in 1990 in that Law firm, since that time has remained in that law firm until today. That means I have worked for 27 years. Though, I went to Abeokuta as a Commissioner. I applied for leave of absence and I was granted leave of absence for 4 years. In fact, initially, my principal, Rickey Tarfa (SAN) did not want me to but the governor personally wrote a letter to him and he eventually agreed because it’s a service. So, I went to Abeokuta for 4 years. We are the largest Law firm presently in Nigeria; we have about over 70 Lawyers in that Law firm. We have offices in Lagos, Porth Harcourt, Abuja, and Yola.
Tell us about your wife, Chief Olubimpe Odubela?
Its God’s designed and destined how we met. My aunty, my guardian was the one I took to a hair saloon; she was going to clock 50 then. I was inside the car and I parked. I saw her passing with her niece and we looked at each other, we probably had met somewhere.
So we started talking; are you from Ikenne and she said yes! Did you go to Ogun State University? Apparently, we went to the same University, Ogun State University but we did not know ourselves and we started talking and that was how the whole relationship started. Let me tell you, she is God’s sent to me and to our children. She is very loving, very caring. I can tell you that she is also God’s fearing. She believes in prayers. In fact, in everything, she will tell you God can do it.
She believes that nothing is impossible for God. She has been there for the children, for me and the entire family. I would say she’s been good, she is God fearing and I pray God spares her life to spend many more years in good health.
What is your next aspiration, probably in 4 to 6 years time?
First of all, I want to thank God for the new rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
I want to enjoy every bit of that rank. You know in our legal profession, that is the ultimate, the apex; you want to really enjoy that rank and I pray for good health so as to enjoy the new rank. I’m still open to politics anytime I am called for further service.
Tell us a bit of your background?
My name is John Olusegun Odubela. I was born at Ikenne in Ogun State. I grew up at Ikenne. I went to Wesley primary school, Ikenne. I then came to Lagos. I went to Lagos City College, Sabo Yaba, for my O’level. I then proceeded to Anwaru Islam College also known as Amadiha College Agege, where I did my A-level. I proceeded to Ogun State University, now Olabisi Onabanjo University. We are the third set of the university. I graduated in 1989, from there to Law School and I was called to Nigerian bar in 1990 and I did my Youth Service at the Law firm called Rickey Tarfa & Co. since 1990 and that is where I have remained. I became a Notary Public in 1997 and thank God, this year I got elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
We are the third set of the university. I graduated in 1989, from there to Law School and I was called to Nigerian bar in 1990 and I did my Youth Service at the Law firm called Rickey Tarfa & Co. since 1990 and that is where I have remained. I became a Notary Public in 1997 and thank God, this year I got elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.