Alao Aka-Bashorun

Alao Aka-Bashorun
Alao Aka-Bashorun. Photo: Punch NG

Alao Aka-Bashorun; President of the Nigerian Bar Association and one of the most prominent democracy activists of the General Babangida era. Aka-Bashorun was actively involved with the Beninois national conference lobby, which was responsible for putting together the Sovereign National Conference that resulted in the collapse of the Kerekou regime. In the 1980s, his law chamber in Ebute-Metta was the last hope for many student activists at loggerheads with the university authorities and the military. Importantly, he was legal counsel to the purported winner of the June 12 1993 Nigerian Presidential election, MKO Abiola[i].

Born December 5, 1930 in Lagos Island in a middle class family, Alao played football when he was studying at Eko Boys High School, Lagos. When he was young, he partook in Eyo festival and was an Eyo masquerader. He also enjoyed watching football and boxing. He was married to Medinat and had nine children most of whom he trained in Britain.

He initially wanted to study mathematics when he travelled to England. But there were two papers among the ones he passed at once which surprised a Ghanaian friend he met there. Hence, because the courses were related to law, his friend advised him to study law instead which he did. He later studied Industrial Relations. Novelist, Chinua Achebe, taught him before he went to England to study. In England, he  became friends with some fellow students like Kwame Nkrumah. When he returned home, he did not initially practise law. He farmed in Badagry until his elder brother died. He started practising law shortly after the death of his brother to have a regular income to cater for the children he left behind. Alao Aka-Bashorun was called to the English Bar in 1955. He engaged in private legal practice form 1965 and was member of Nigerian Bar Association from 1964, returning elected as President, Nigerian Bar Association in 1987[ii].

The Ikeja Chapter of the NBA holds what it tags the ‘Alao Aka-Bashorun Annual Memorial Lecture in which his family also participates. Also, the Lagos State Government named a Recreational Park and Garden in Gbagada Phase II after his death in 2005[iii].

[i] Out of the Shadows, Kayode Fayemi, Amandla, Ibadan, 2010

[ii] Newswatch Who is Who, 1991

[iii] Punch, May 9, 2015

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer