•All The Glitz & Glamour From The Grand Reception
That it would be a night to remember for a long time was evident in the grand preparation to usher in the event. Everything reeked of class, panache, power, influence and royalty. It was a reception to celebrate the elevation of Olabode Olanipekun to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Bode is a scion of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and frontline lawyer in the country.
It could not have been classier with the array of guests at the high octane occasion. Captains of industry, members of the diplomatic corps, top government functionaries, legal luminaries, foremost traditional rulers and clergymen of note gathered at the Landmark Event Centre, Oniru, Victoria Island to celebrate Bode Olanipekun.
The event was made more spectacular with the impressive resume of Olabode as the youngest Senior advocate and obviously a chip of the old bloc who has held his own in the legal firmament. Most of the guests noted that they were enthralled by the brilliance of the 35-year old Olabode, prompting to honour the invitation as a way of paying respect to the renowned family of lawyers.
The event kicked off at 7:45pm with an opening prayer by the Bishop of the Lagos Diocese of the Anglican communion, Rt. Revd (Dr.) Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye. He noted that God has blessed the family of the Olanipekun, adding that the patriarch of the family, Chief Wole Olanipekun has made his mark as a philanthropist and lawyer of note.
“We thank God for Chief Wole Olanipekun’s family. We thank God for Bode, that we are celebrating today. The glory of today will be a rising glory. The rod of the avenger will never touch him and I pray that he will be greater than his father”.
The Chairman of the occasion, Tony Elumelu, congratulated Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, and his wife, Erelu Omolara Olanipekun for providing the third Senior advocate of Nigeria in the family.
Elumelu, who is the chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Heirs Holding Limited commended the parents of the new silk for giving them the best of education and ensuring their moral uprightness.
“You have trained them well. I am quite impressed that a young man of 35 is being decorated as a SAN. Bode, you are a worthy son of your parent”.
Elumelu noted that he had always admired the new silk and he know he would do very well in his future endeavors. He added that the patriarch of the family, Chief Wole Olanipekun is worthy of emulation with the way he nurtured Bode and his older sibling, Oladapo.
“Oladapo Olanipekun SAN, indeed opened the way for you Bode. I am happy with the progress of the family and this is indeed the sort of success I like to identify with.
“Excellence will drive success for you and I am very optimistic that you will succeed” he said.
The Banker cum philanthropist also noted that enterprise and discipline should be a guiding philosophy of anyone who hopes to achieve greatness in life.
“These are principles I know you (Bode) have. I will be surprised if you are not a man of excellence and execution having grown under the tutelage of your father.
“We need to work hard to ensure that our children surpasses what we do” he said.
Elumelu’s opening remarks set the tone for an surpass event as the next topic was an intellectual discourse anchored by the first son of Chief Wole Olanipekun, Dr Oladapo Olanipekun SAN.
Oladapo himself, became a SAN at a relatively young age and is well acquainted with the profession as a Lecturer at the University of Lagos and also the Editor-in-Chief of the Banking and Finance Law report.
Moderating the discussion on how the youths in the society can seize opportunities amidst the challenges and obstacles mitigating against growth, Oladapo threw pertinent questions at the discussants, the former governor of Cross River State and presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the forthcoming presidential election, Mr. Donald Duke and a partner with Price Water house and Coopers, Mr. Uyi Akpata.
Akpata set the ball rolling by noting that the youths are afraid to take on challenges that seem to place them at a vantage position. He noted that they are often overwhelmed by the circumstances that could be political, environmental and psychological. He added that good education is a springboard to lift the youths to an enviable position, but the will and
“It is very easy to just look at Bode and say he is an example of a young man that has excelled. It is very important to have early education and also take it upon yourself to find solution to challenges.
“Other young men would have been overwhelmed and rather let their parents do the job while they lap in luxury but Bode did not take the challenge of self-development for granted. He constantly upped his game even though he also has a privileged background’ he said.
Akpata noted in a nutshell that professional conduct, right background, good education, adherence to ethics and hard work will give the youths an edge.
Duke was a little simplistic on his approach to the issue of seizing opportunities and turning them to advantage. He noted that the ability to constantly re-invent oneself and the drive to do better than the rest would push the youths to achieve success in any
“Earlier on, I was teasing Oladapo on sibling rivalry. I told him that he was the youngest when he became a
“what we make of our opportunities are left to us. You must have personal vision, a clarity and the will to bring your vision to fruition.
“Those are the components that make anybody achieve at an early age like Bode. He had a vision and the will to pursue it.
The moderator further asked the discussants to give success nuggets to the teeming youths at the gathering to encourage them on how they can break barriers despite obstacles.
Akpata noted that the issue of mentorship must be taken seriously by any youth that intends to excel.
“I have just spent 34 years in the profession. At the age of 28, I became a partner in PWC. In those years, I have had the rare privilege of rendering services across
“You must share the vision of your firm. In the last 23 years, I have had the opportunity of mentoring people” Akpata said.
Duke stated emphatically that whoever is afraid of failing in any endeavour is not prepared for success.
“I was called to the bar 25 years ago. I read law to please my father. At 37, I was a governor. One critical thing is to be not afraid at all.
“People learn from their failure and even get better with it. If you excel at the expense of the larger society, you have failed, but if you excel to the betterment of the society, you have succeeded’ he said.
After a very insightful discourse, guests took turn to pay glowing tribute to a family that has used power, talent and moral example to transform many lives.
Leading the pack was the President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Mr. Paul Usoro SAN. He noted that he has enjoyed a chummy relationship with the Olanipekun’s for several years, adding that Bode was personally known to him.
“Today, I wear different caps. I am here as the NBA President and I am also here as a member of the Olanipekun’s family. Bode is a chip off the old bloc and I am immensely proud of him. I see a great future for him and I congratulate him and his father, Chief WoleOlanipekun SAN” he said.
Former Minister of Petroleum and a leading businessman, Chief Don Etiebet didn’t mince words in describing the new silk. He noted that the family has been renowned for excellence in all facet of human endeavor.
Stating in explicit term his association with the family over the years, Etiebet said that hardwork and dedication to his profession is what set Bode apart from his peers.
“From his upbringing, you will know that he cannot but do well. It is not a fluke, it is hardwork.
“I have been a client of Chief Wole Olanipekun for several years and I know he puts so much into his work. Bode is only living true to type. His senior brother, Dapo is an encyclopedia of the profession and I am not surprised that they are both doing well.
“Your father, (Wole Olanipekun) is a professional who represents his clients very well and I know you (Bode) also have a great future. “he noted.
A family friend and client of Wole Olanipekun and Co, Professor Ndi Onyuike Okereke could not hide her admiration for the new silk. Onyuike-Okereke who was the former Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) disclosed that she knew “Bode would go places”.
“Wole himself, is thorough. Dapo is brilliant and I know he will soon be a professor. Bode is fantastic. I am so happy to be here to share their joy. Erelu Omolara Olanipekun has done well as an excellent mother. It is good to get this kind of honour when you are alive. I am proud of the family” she said.
One person who added humour to the eulogies for Bode was his former teacher in the University, Professor Taiwo Osipitan SAN. The University don noted that he taught Bode in the university but Bode had faced him in legal battles in the court several times after his call to the bar
“I came in hoping to quietly sit down, enjoy my meal and banter with my colleagues but here I am, being told to make a comment or two.
“Where do I start from? Bode was my student in the faculty of law in the University of Lagos. I stand here to attest that he was one of my best students.
“Both Dapo and Bode were my students and I am still their mentor. Bode is hardworking, focus and very strategic. We have had to square up with one another in the court and the moment I become victorious, he comes to ask jokingly that, “Excuse me sir, you never taught me everything I needed to know otherwise I would have floored you”, to which I will tell him that a teacher will not teach his student everything so that he keeps coming back to ask for advice. He noted that, “there is always a Joker a teacher pulls when things become knotty”. This drew a wild laughter from the guests.
Osipitan further noted that he was proud to witness the elevation of Bode to the rank of SAN, adding that, “Whenever your student appear against you in court, you feel proud that you have done the right thing. It is every teacher’s prayer that his students excel and even greater than him. “he said.
From the royal trove comes a distinction for the new silk. The ogoga of Ikere-Ekiti, Oba Ade Jimi Adu, showered encomium on Bode.
Describing him as an illustrious son of his kingdom, Oba Adu noted that Bode is a man who is constantly thirsty to knowledge.
“I am a master mariner and that is what I have done so well. I recall that Bode once told me that he needed some experience in maritime law and wanted some enlightenment in that regard. That was when I knew Bode’s quench for knowledge is insatiable’ he said.
The foremost traditional ruler commended the Olanipekun’s for doing their native Ikere town proud, adding that the family has left its mark in the Ikere hall of fame.
“In my kingdom, I have five Senior advocate of Nigeria. Not many towns can boast of that. Now, I know three generations of Olanipekun; Wole himself, Dapo and now Bode.
“I know Bode is desirous of making success of his profession. Bode, there are challenges before you. I am happy that people have attested to your brilliance. You have a father that is conscious of his integrity.
“Your father has high ethical and moral standard. I pray that you will be bigger than your father in your chosen field. I pray that through you, other SANs would emerge from Ikere. I congratulate myself and the Ikere Community on your success”
A classmate of the new silk at Olashore International School, Iloko-Ijesha,Babatunde Dada also noted that Bode was very smart during their school years. Dada who is the managing director of Anchoria Investments and Securities Limited noted with glee, that most of Bode’s classmates are not surprised that he has become a good ambassador of his alma mater.
“We were in the same room and class. Bode is very intelligent and brilliant. He plays a lot and you couldn’t tell when he is serous or not.
“Nobody knows when he reads because he plays a lot but if you play with him, you must be cautious because he will do very well in his exams. We are proud of him. He has done us proud’ he said.
Another guest, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who prefers anonymity also noted that Bode is deserving of his new status. He noted that people often misconstrued the younger Olanipekun’sachievement as a direct fall out of his father’s influence.
“There is a Yoruba adage that says,:omo to bashipani baba re ngbe. It means it is only a child that has shown willingness to excel that his father will encourage.
“I know wole personally and I know he will not tolerate indolence and laziness. I am sure Bode had gone ahead to obtain the form to qualify him for Sanship. You heard him say he went to ask the General Overseer of Redeemed Church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye to pray for him. Did his father take him there too?
“Don’t forget he was screened thoroughly by a team. I heard on good authority that he did exceptionally well at the screening.
“There is no doubting that the enormous goodwill of his father could also have contributed to his success but please go and challenge those boys (Dapo and Bode) to a debate.
“Have you seen Bode in court? Do you know that Dapo was offered an international job and he declined? Let us give honour to whom it is due my brother. This is not about Wole Olanipekun, it is about giving your children good upbringing and necessary tools to excel.
“Bode worked as an intern at Mike Igbokwe Chambers. Please go and talk to Mike on the character and brilliance of Bode. Go and ask several lawyers that have seen him in court” ,he said.
In a short remarks by the mother of the new silk, Erelu Omolara Olanipekun, she thanked all the guests for “sharing in our joy”, adding that God has been good to her family.
“Bode, my son! When a mother says ‘my son’, that means she is proud of her son’s accomplishment. I am proud of you and I am happy to call myself your mother.
“I am drawing from Ecclesiastes 3:14, whatever God doeth is forever. I return all glory to God. It is not of him that runneth but of him that obtain mercy”.
The highlight of the event was the emotion laden speech by the celebrator himself. When he took to the microphone, he held his audience spell bound with his ennobling speech which was delivered extempore.
He paid respect to his father and declared that “but for my dad, I may not be encouraged to give my best”.
He continued: “I want to pay special tribute to my worthy mentor, my first and last resort on advice on critical issues. Daddy, I am grateful for teaching me that nothing is impossible.
“Daddy, I thank you for teaching me that I must only earn income I can defend” he said.
He acknowledged his wife, Tolulope, describing her as a virtuous woman with “zero capacity for evil”
“She has made the home a peaceful haven for myself and the children. I am grateful for everything you have done to keep us going real good”
Bode further revealed his success nugget when he reached for his pocket and drew out a letter his father wrote to him in 1994 whilst still at Olashore International School, Iloko Ilesa.
It reads: “Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon you from now till evermore. (Amen) .Thanks for your letter which I received two days ago. I am happy to note that you are doing very well. Please continue to be and remain a good boy.
“I noticed that your handwriting is getting worse. This is due mainly to your stylish way of writing. Years back, even when you were still in the primary school, you used to write very well. But suddenly, your handwriting changed for the worse simply because you wanted and still want to be fanciful.
“You have to sit up properly and ensure that you write well. You should note that your handwriting depicts the type of person you are. Apart from your handwriting, you have to be mindful of your grammar because as at now, it appears you have little or no respect for punctuation rules. You insert comas and full stops anyhow and start any word with a capital letter not minding whether or not it is appropriate to so do.
“All these things count very much and I am sure your English teacher would have told you. The word “simultaneously” which you used in your last letter ordinarily means “doing two things or taking two actions at the same time.” In other words, you should have completed that sentence by saying that “we are doing our test simultaneously with our normal lessons.
“Please try to emulate your senior brother, Dapo. You will realise that he writes very well and one can rarely find any grammatical mistake in his letters or essays. You are also aware of his good performance in his JSS 3 exams inspite of the fact that he was sick during the exams. I am not saying that you are not doing well but asking you to do better. I know that you have the ability to improve and come first in your class during your next exams. I will not be able to see you on the 8th of October, because of some other engagements. However, your mummy will be around by the grace of God. I send my love and greetings through her to you’’.
After reeling out the content of the letter, Bode noted with gusto, “it is records like these that guides me and my siblings. I thank Dapo, my elder brother, who has led the way and set a very difficult record to break. I also thank the staff of Wole Olanipekun and Co for accepting my leadership, not because I am the best. I often tell people that I lead a group of geniuses” he said.
Watching with a sense of patriarchal satisfaction and admiration, an emotion laden Wole, with teary eyes clapped for his son as the guests applauded the oratory prowess of the celebrator.
As if in unanimous agreement with the content of the letter, most guests described the father’s letter to his son as a statement in good parenting. They further noted the decline in moral values and opined that parents no longer create time to ensure a proper upbringing of their children.
A guest noted: “How many parents send letters to their children these days? How many parents pay particular attention to their children’s home work?
“ We are talking about laying a solid foundation. Do you see why we are in trouble in this country? Parents should be held responsible for the moral decadence in our society . They neglect their wards ,chasing money and other earthly materials to the detriment of these children.
“The children who lacks attention would eventually take to drugs and live on the fast lane. Olanipekun’s letter to his son should set the tone for a national rebirth and rethink of our value system that has been eroded for long. This is a lesson to all parents”.
Giving a vote of thanks, an elated Wole Olanipekun described the moment as “enthralling”. He thanked the guests for “sharing in our moment of joy”.
“It is not everyday that this happens in the life of a man. Dapo and Bode have made me proud. Their sisters are equally a source of joy to me and my wife has been very supportive. I have had the privilege of knowing some of the best people in the country and you are all sitting here.
“I feel humbled and deeply grateful for the honour that you have all done us. God bless you all” he said.
Dignitaries at the event include Mr. Tony Elumelu, Mr. Donald Duke, Rt Revd Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye, Justice Oyebanji, Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Hakeem Oshodi of Lagos High Court, The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, Mr. Chuka Agbu SAN, Mr. Tunde Busari SAN, Mr. Dele Adesina SAN, the Managing Director of Wema Bank, Mr. Demola Adebise, Managing Director of Polaris Bank, Mr Adetokunbo Abiru, Chairman, Coscharis Group, Chief Cosmos Maduka, Mrs. FunkeAboyade SAN, Mr. KemiBalogun SAN, Mr. Yele Delano SAN, Mr. Folu George Oguntade SAN.
Others are, former NBA President, Mrs.Priscilia Kuye, Dr. Muiz Banire SAN, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, Mr. Uyi Akpata,former governor of Katsina State,Ibrahim Shema, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Mrs Sena Anthony ,Chief Ife Adedipe SAN, Professor Amos Utuama SAN, Mr. Jim Ovia, Mr. YinkaOdumakin, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, Chief BiodunShobanjo, Prof. KoyinsolaAjayi SAN, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu SAN, Prof. TaiwoOsipitan SAN, Dr. Kunle Olajide,Minister for Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, ChiefDon Etiebet, Prof. Wale Omole, AIG Tunde Ogunsakin (