This week, precisely September 13, 2016, the late Chief Bola Ige, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, would have been 86 years old. He was born in Esa Oke, Osun State in the South Western part of Nigeria on September 13, 1930. He studied at Ibadan Grammar School between 1943 and 1948 and then at the University of Ibadan where he studied Classics. From there, he went to the University College, London where he graduated with a law degree in 1959. He was called to the bar in London’s Inner Temple in 1961. He practised privately after he established his law firm, Bola Ige and Co in 1961 and later became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Because of his oratory prowess, as well as his advocacy work in civil rights and democracy, he became well known.
He joined the Unity Party of Nigeria, the successor to the Action Group during the Second Republic.He was elected as governor of the old Oyo State from 1979 to 1983 but was defeated when he ran for reelection in 1983 by Dr. Omololu Olunloyo of the National Party of Nigeria. Ige unsuccessfully challenged the election in court.
He was a founding member of the influential Yoruba pressure group, Afenifere. Following the restoration of democracy in 1999, Ige sought the nomination of the Alliance for Democracy party as a presidential candidate, but he did not succeed. President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as Minister of Mines and Power and later Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation. On December 23, 2001, the minister was shot dead at his home in Ibadan by unknown men.
In this interview with OLUFEMI ATOYEBI, his daughter, Mrs. Funso Adegbola recalls with nostalgia the family life of the late erudite lawyer and expresses hope that the revisit of the murder case promised by the present government would do justice to the memory of the departed.