From the bar, a torrent of tributes
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) expressed shock at the death of Dr Tunji Braithwaite. He said the late Braithwaite was in fact and indeed a most outstanding Nigerian patriot who lived a life wholly committed to scholarship , service to God and humanity.
He said: “As a lawyer , he stood for and espoused the beauty of the law ; his advocacy was not just persuasive , but also disarming. He was a professional to the core. As a politician, he remained one of the very few Nigerian politicians who played and practiced politics of ideology and national rebirth. He never cross-carpeted from one party to the other as most of our politicians do without any qualm. He was a radical with a difference and distinction. As a Christian, he keyed fully into the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Undoubtedly , Nigeria has lost a most distinguished , honorable and noble statesman. We would sorely miss his frequent but timely interventions in the affairs of our nation. A moderator, teacher, counsellor, mentor and role model has passed on to the great beyond. May his amiable and prodigious soul find eternal repose in the bosom of the Lord.”
The chairman of the Legal Aid Council, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) described late Braithwaite as fiercely independent as an advocate even at the risk of his freedom and life. He noted that Braithwaite took on cases that most lawyers would consider as risky. According to him, he believed in the absolute independence of a lawyer to take on any brief once he is convinced of his position. “Politically he played his part but Nigeria was not ready yet for his brand of politics where politicians will not feed fat on the State. I don’t think that we are even ready now. May his soul rest in peace”, he said.
For Chief Emeka Ngige, (SAN), the death of Dr. Braithwaite marks another loss of depleting members of patriots who had fought for the political emancipation and development of Nigeria. His words: “He was a progressive politician, a fighter against dictatorship and tyranny. He was a conscience of the nation and highly detribalized. Nigeria will miss his cerebral contributions to our political discourse . May his gentle soul rest in peace.”
Adekunle Oyesanya (SAN) who had had the privilege of inviting him to Pastor S.A Odunaiya yearly Memorial Public Lecture, organised by Young Men Christian League of the Christ Apostolic Church, Ebute-Metta Zonal Headquarters, Lagos said his passage is a great loss.
He said: “With the passage of Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, the Legal Profession, indeed, the Nigerian Nation has lost a Collosus, a statesman and an unrepentant crusader for a restructured Nigeria. He was consistent all through his professional life about the need for social justice and equal opportunities in this country.
“It was for this reason that he ventured into politics and again he was uncompromising about his beliefs and ideals. Later in life,he brought his deep Christian convictions to bear on his politics. We shall never forget him. As he lays down his sword, may His maker grant his soul eternal repose.”
The president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Austin Alegeh (SAN) said Braithwaite was a formidable member of the Association. According to him, late Braithwaite is known everywhere for his forthrightness and strong believe in rule of law.
“He is known every where for his fight for the rule of law. The entire Bar will miss him. We believe that he has done his own and has gone to a better place. But the good work which he had done will remain in our memories”, he stated.
Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) said he had contributed a lot to the legal profession. “He was a politican, a great man! He did very well for Nigeria. He strived all the time to ensure that the legal profession in Nigeria became the best in the world. He was an illustrious member of our legal profession. May his soul rest in perfect peace”, he stated.
He was a professional to the core. As a politician, he remained one of the very few Nigerian politicians who played and practiced politics of ideology and national rebirth. He never cross-carpeted from one party to the other as most of our politicians do without any qualm. He was a radical with a difference and distinction. As a Christian, he keyed fully into the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Undoubtedly , Nigeria has lost a most distinguished , honorable and noble statesman. We would sorely miss his frequent but timely interventions in the affairs of our nation. A moderator, teacher, counsellor, mentor and role model has passed on to the great beyond. May his amiable and prodigious soul find eternal repose in the bosom of the Lord
Former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Abia State, Chief Awa Kalu (SAN) said even though Dr Braithwaite is gone, he will be remembered for his service to mankind. “He is gone but he will be remembered for his service to mankind in general and to Nigerians in particular.He fought doggedly for the enthronement of the rule of law and the prevalence of the rights of man. He fought a good fight and will be remembered for all he has done”, he stated.
According to Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN), Braithwaite was one of those lawyers who stood on principle all through his life. “He pursued a matter on principle because he believes it is right. It is a great loss indeed because there are not many people like that around. There are so many people who are influenced one way or the other by money. He was quite an upright man. He fought for causes he believed on”.
Dafe Akpedeye (SAN) said Nigeria has lost one of the greatest lawyer and social critics. “He was the best of his times. He extolled virtues and values, especially for the profession. He indeed bestrode the entire social strata like a collossus. He was one of the finest and one of the greatest. I commiserate with his family and pray that they will find the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and may his soul rest in perfect peace”, he prayed.
Lagos lawyer, Mr Emeka Nwadioke expressed shock and sadness over the death of Dr. Braithwaite.According to him, Dr. Braithwaite was undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s foremost, quintessential and undiluted patriots whose abiding quest was the common good and upliftment of the suffering masses.
“He was a vocal, courageous and forthright rights activist, lawyer, politician and intellectual who was convinced that only national rebirth and renaissance would lift the country out of its debilitating quagmire.
“Dr. Braithwaite was light years ahead of his time, having long warned that unless Nigeria dethroned what he rechristened ‘king corruption,’ the country was doomed to failure. Dr. Braithwaite deployed his prodigious lawyerly skills in fighting injustice and in chastising Nigeria’s traducers. His role in combating military dictatorship is legendary.
“Dr. Braithwaite longed for a dynamic country that can fully harness its potentials while demonstrating complete abhorrence to politics without conscience. He also longed for an electoral system that can accommodate people with integrity. We can best honour the memory of this great Nigerian by, as he always urged, taking our destiny in our own hands to wrought a just and egalitarian society”, Nwodioke stated, adding that his thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Human rights lawyers, Mr. Festus Keyamo in his tribute described late Braithwaite as a true and thorough revolutionary. “He used his revolutionary ideas to challenge the status quo and all anti-people policies of all regimes.
“I came into close contact with him many times when we planned various protests in his house in Victoria Island. The last notable one was the fuel subsidy protest in January, 2013, which we co-ordinated from his residence. Nigeria has lost a loud voice against oppression, against bad government and against the status quo”, he declared.
Similarly, the founder of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Federick Fasehun in a statement issued by his media
consultant, Felix Oboagwina described Braithwaite’s death as “personal loss”. Fasehun said Braithwaite had an unparalleled passion for the development of Yoruba land and people in particular and Nigeria ingeneral.
Fasehun, who is also the National Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) said: “He was a legal luminary, human rights gladiator, constructive commentator and selfless philanthropist. In Braithwaite’s death, I have lost a fellow soldier. His death is a sad and painful death.
“He should not have died at this time of Nigeria’s political history, when the country needs patriots, zealots and visionaries like him. People like Braithwaite have the patriotic zeal and vision capable of moving the nation forward. We wish the family the strength to bear this monumental loss.”
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