A few days back, Lagos Lawyer, Wemimo Ogunde celebrated his 60th birthday.
At the event, this legal icon, who is the son of late theatre icon, Chief Hubert Ogunde spoke about the people who have affected his life in one way or another.
Below is the list of people who shaped his life.
A Christian biography is actually a story of how God through Christ directed the flow of life through His chosen channels to His purposed destination”.
This has been the life of Oluwemimo Ogunde’s father, Hubert Ogunde, unknown to many, was a Christian in the Aladura sect, and belonged to a Parish called Home Praying Band of Miracles and which was headed by a woman known as Mrs. Akinrele ( she was also known as ‘Mama Aladura’), a Nigerian of Igbo extraction married to a Yoruba man. When Oluwemimo’s mother, Adesewa, was pregnant with him, Mama A1adura directed that his pregnant mother should be taken out of their rented house at 4, Cemetery Street, Ebute Meta, Lagos where the Ogunde family lived. Mama A1adura gave the unborn child the name, Oluwemimo before he was born. Adesewa moved to a rented room close to the family house and remained there until Oluwemimo was born on 3rd September 1958.
Dorcas (Dunke Olusanya) was Oluwemimo’s paternal aunt, who had lost all her 3 children before Oluwemimo was even born. She was a second mother to him until Adesewa died on 2nd September 1970. After then, Dorcas became his bona fide mother until her death in September 2012. Dorcas was not wealthy. She was a trader, but she gave her all to ensure that Oluwemimo was educated, properly brought up, and particularly that he completed university education.
Oluwemimo attended a nursery school known as Cissy Obasa Day Nursery, Akinwunmi Street, Yaba from January 1963 till December 1963 and obtained his primary education from January 1964 till December 1970 at Ladi-Lak Institute, also at Akinwunmi Street, Yaba, Lagos State. It is noteworthy and sad that Adesewa died just a day before Oluwemimo’s 12th birthday. Oluwemimo had secured admission into Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos before she died but she never saw her son in his secondary school uniform.
Jesus Christ: Oluwemimo’s first taste of Christ was in 1965 when he was in Infant 2 in Mr. Adams’ class. Foursquare Gospel Church was right beside Ladi-Lak, his primary school. One day, he entered the church with his Ist term’s report card, went to the altar and pledged to start coming to church if God would only make him come first in class. God granted that request. True to his word, he promptly reported in church the next Sunday with his brother, Yomi, who was 3 years old at the time. However, that adventure was quickly aborted. Just like now, children whose parents belonged to a denomination were not too keen to permit them to go to another, particularly Foursquare Church, which was not well known in 1965.
LIFE’S FIRST LESSON
Oluwemimo had a friend in class called I Fofah (‘I’ stood for Igbotemure, but his name was too long to pronounce for 7-year-olds). He cannot now recall how he laid his hands on a math set and managed to pick out a pair of dividers, but he did and one day he set the sharp points of the dividers for his dear friend I Fofah to sit on. He was expecting some slight irritation and a good laugh
thereafter. He never expected what happened next. What he saw was spouts of blood and a pair of dividers stuck in I Fofah’s buttocks. The punishment that followed from Adesewa herself taught him one of life’s big lessons on compassion and friendship. It was one of the things that made 1965 a year to always remember.
A TURBULENT SECONDARY SCHOOL LIFE IN SEPTEMBER 1970
Adesewa’s death meant that independence had arrived a bit too early for Oluwemimo and with that came the responsibility of managing it. Being a day student and not a boarder from Form I to Form 5, the disciplines of punctuality, studying, revising notes and doing homework without supervision or sanction became an insurmountable challenge. The result was that all through the first five years of secondary school, Oluwemimo’s results were very poor or at best average. He was absent from school on many occasions, preferring to play football at Loco, in the Nigerian Railway Compound. The late rally before WASC was not enough for him to catch up and the WASC result at first attempt was something like Eng-P7, Math-PS, Geo-C5, Bio-P7 etc, 2 C’s, 6 P’s and I F. A re-sit in the next year was far better and ensured his progression to A -level.
JOHN AZUANI & WAHEED OLAGUNJU
Oluwemimo spent his re-sit year at home. During that year, June 1975- 1976, two channels of God, Waheed Olagunju and John Azuani began to help Oluwemimo develop responsibility. He had observed the advantage of organised family life and stability in marriage from the constant attention given to his classmate, Kunle Fayiga (deceased) by his mother and was determined to raise such a family. This determination to build a stable family and bring up children that would avoid his own errors was further developed by his association with John and the Olagunju’s family. He completed his A-levels, at Igbobi from September 1976-June 1978 and there was an obvious improvement. Oluwemimo and a colleague, Kingsley Dundun, represented Igbobi College at the FRCN Quiz competition and were even national champions.
In 1978, Oluwemimo was invited by Gbolahan, (a friend he grew up with at Alagomeji, Yaba) to join him in teaching candidates preparing for WASC and GCE O Level. Oluwemimo thought it was a great idea and started teaching Math, English, Literature, and Biology from 1978 till 1983. It became his source of income and came in handy as he commenced university education and it saw him throughout his period of study at UNILAG. He was earning N75 per month in 1978, which rose to about N120 per month in 1983. The discipline he lacked in secondary school had disappeared and he was able to combine his teaching job of 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm with his Law course and still finished in the second class upper, winning a prize. The turnaround from secondary school failure to University success was complete.
OLAYINKA & MRS MODUPE ADETUNJI
Oluwemimo first saw Olayinka at a literary and debating day held at Olayinka’s alma mater, Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Yaba in 1977. She was just 13. They met again on 21st July 1979 when she was just barely 15. From that time, he made a marriage
approach and Mrs. Adetunji never discouraged him. Mrs. Adetunji took a big gamble with him and thankfully it has turned out well. Praise God! Oluwemimo and Olayinka have been husband and wife for nearly 32 years now.
ABIODUN AKINYEMI, DAPO ABUDU, TAYO OYETIBO, MASHUD ABASS & GANI FAWEHINMI
Biodun, Dapo, Tayo, and Mashud were Oluwemimo’s classmates at the Faculty of Law, the University of Lagos at resumption in September 1979. They have built a strong bond since then. Nothing much happened before their graduation and call to Bar. Since then, they have become God’s channels. It was Abiodun who secured employment for Oluwemimo at Gani Fawehinmi’s Chambers in 1984. Tayo’s brand new Peugeot 505 saloon car was Oluwemimo’s wedding day car in November 1986. Mashud moved out of Lagos but kept close contact. From 1984, Biodun, Dapo, Tayo, and Oluwemimo were juniors at Gani Fawehinmi’s Chambers till August 1987, when Abiodun, Dapo and Oluwemimo resigned from Chief Gani’s Chambers to set up their own law firm, Abudu, Akinyemi and Ogunde.
Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s influence on Oluwemimo’s professional and private life is immeasurable. This space is too short to describe it. The opportunity to begin legal practice in Chiefs firm and his contribution of N2000 to his wedding will remain unforgettable.
Oluwemimo met A1haji Mahmud Atta in Gani Fawehinmi’s chambers in 1985. That began an association that lasted for 20 years. Wherever Alhaji Atta had any influence, he took Oluwemimo there. Through him, Oluwemimo became connected with many influential Nigerians. It is no exaggeration to say that Alhaji Atta’s “marketing” brought at least 75% of his income between 1987 and 2000.
TUNDE & FRED COKER
Oluwemimo met Tunde in 1988 on a flight to Abuja. This wonderful couple has been helpful since then and remains connected to him till today. Tunde’s help secured a considerable reduction in the purchase of a property in 2006.
Oluwemimo’s architect-friend who designed his first house. They met through Dapo Abudu in 1990 and the drawings were done free of charge. They have remained friends till today.
BAYO ADEDIRAN & VICTOR FOLORUNSO
Oluwemimo began his Christian journey in 1993 by attending an Anglican Parish Service in Ketu where he lived then with his family. He and Olayinka moved to RCCG, Acme parish from where they moved to Gateway parish in 1995. Adediran and Folorunso were Oluwemimo’s teachers at the workers-in training class at the RCCG, Gateway Parish in 1997. They have remained Oluwemimo’s spiritual helpers from that time till today.
PASTOR BOLA ODUTOLA
Oluwemimo met this great man of God in 1998. Their relationship has grown ever since. Pastor Odutola appointed him an Altar minister in 2002. He has provided platforms for preaching for Oluwemimo since then up till 2009 when Oluwemimo joined Solid Rock Parish.
Today, Pastor Odutola is his spiritual counselor, family friend, business advisor, and marital guide.
Oluwemimo set up Wemimo Ogunde & Co in August 1999, which was formally inaugurated on his 41 st birthday. He retained the flat at 44, Alhaja Kofoworola Crescent, Ikeja which was used by the partnership that was dissolved. Mr. Olabinjo, his landlord, not only froze the rent payable for a period of 2 years from 1999 till 2001, he also permitted Oluwemimo to determine the affordable rent he could pay till he moved out in 2008.
DOUGLAS IYOHA & KENNY MARTINS
Oluwemimo first met Douglas and through him met Chief Kenny Martins in 200I. Both became supporters of his fledgling practice at that time and have remained with him till today.
JIM & PAT NWOBODO
This remarkable couple met Oluwemimo in 2006 through Chief Kenny Martins. The relationship that was originally professional has blossomed into deep friendship ever since.
Oluwemimo first met Hon. Justice Sunday Olorundahunsi in 1994 when he came to Abudu, Akinyemi & Ogunde for Law School attachment. He also worked briefly there as a junior before going for NYSC. They met in 2005 in Abuja when Justice Olorundahunsi was Deputy Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court. He later played a great role in the professional career of Oluwemimo, which remains memorable till today.
GOVERNOR IBIKUNLE AMOSUN & TAIWO ADEOLUWA
In 2011, when His Excellency, Governor Ibikunle Amosun was constituting his cabinet, Taiwo Adeoluwa, the Ogun State SSG nominated Oluwemimo for the position of Attorney-General. It is to His Excellency, Governor Amosun’s credit that he accepted to appoint him, dropping four other candidates.
OLUWEMIMO ARRIVES INTO SEPTEMBER 2018
As shown in this annotated biography, he has been a product of God’s favour, who made him who he is, using many channels. His life story has been a story of mercy, failure, fightback, triumph, support, neglect, shame, hop-step-and jump, and steady progress. Not a line of it can be written outside of Christ.