Some members of the Nigerian Bar Association,Lagos Branch have poured in their tributes in remembrance of the passing of Tola Apata,the former secretary of the branch who died on the 18th of March 2014.The tributes were started by Gbolahan Gbadamosi a former publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association.
“I still remember our last conversation. It was on the stairs of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice. He told me he read my article on garnishee proceedings in a business law journal and that he disagreed with some of the positions I took in the paper.
I reminded him of the healthy academic ‘fight’ on whether Land Use Act expropriate which was fought by Professors Omotola, Utuama, and J. F. Fekumo. I challenged him to respond to the article. He promised to do so.
Then came the call. It was from the Chairman of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association. He wanted me to inform the Attorney General that Babatola Apata was dead.
Masquerade has danced into the groove leaving his mask
Soaring eagle has flown away leaving its feathers
Fish has sailed into the deep leaving its fins
People’s advocate has gone to celestial court leaving his wig
Babatola! We met him in Law School. His brilliance was as robust as his physical stature (That’s how Awolowo described FRA Williams). He was the champion from Unilorin. Every university worthy its name in Law School must have a champion. Gbolahan Adeniran was the striker of TeamUnilag, with First Class to boot. Team UNN was divided between Cheluchi and Nonso. Even OOU had their champion in Muinat (She was one of the prize winners). I’m not sure LASU and UI came with any champion. But I recall the champion from Ekpoma, Steve.
Babatola’s name was on the lips of every Ilorin student. He was their rock. And his name was APATA. His fame preceded him.
A new friend from Ilorin who I met in the mosque told me proudly that if only one student was going to make First Class in Law School, it was going to be Tola Apata. Of course, I knew it was going to be Gbolahan, if anyone. Unilag was not going to carry last.
Then I met him. He was with Tobi Soniyi. And of course, he had met Gbolahan. Like every brilliant genius, he was calm and unassuming. We became friends. Of course, you only need to meet him to become his friend.
I met him again in Port Harcourt (the city named after Lewis Harcourt by someone who was seeking his goodwill). He was then an Associate in G. Elias. He flew in to Port Harcourt almost every week.
Tola was not a one-way traffic. He was an all-rounder. In spite of his busy schedule as a litigator per excellence, he had time for the Bar. He was the Secretary of the Lagos Bar and it was in the service of the Bar that he had the accident which eventually claimed his youthful life. What a life! So bright, So young.
Tallest òmò tree is the carver’s choice for Gangan drum.
Best of petals is the prize for the bride.
Fattest calf is the butcher’s pick.
Tola, our finest advocate, was death’s choice.”
Continue to Rest in Peace, Babatola Apata (May 6, 1973 – March 18, 2014) GBOLAHAN GBADAMOSI
May the Soul of Babatola Apata (my precessor as Secretary of the Lagos branch of the Nba) continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.
May Tola’s soul rest in peace! Tola and I started our practice together at Aluko & Oyebode before he left to join G Elias & Co. Even at that early stage, he showed clear signs of brilliance. He was a hard worker who painstakingly interrogated every issue. He was independent minded and always wanted to find out things for himself at a time that many of his peers needed their hands to be held. He took lawyering as seriously as it should be taken. When he died, I was unmistaken in my view that the profession had lost a great advocate.
Chukwuka Ikwuazo-PARTNER-Aluko and Oyebode
Tola was an intelligent lawyer whom i sought advice from on some knotty legal issues.He was always ready to discuss law anywhere.He was a big fan of courtroom mail which i founded.May he continue to rest in peace.
Anthony Atata- Vice Chair-International Bar Association-African Regional forum
The testimony of the saints is usually recognised in heaven. Tola was a gem. He came into the world, saw and conquered. It is not how long on earth but the quality of life lived. May his soul continue to rest in peace Amen. May the Lord grant Adeola his abundant grace and consolation.
May the Soul of Babatola Apata (my predecessor as Secretary of the Lagos branch of the Nba) continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.Ademola Lema
May Babatola Apata’s soul continue to rest in peace. He is gone but his widow Deola is still with us…and still hurting. Please spare a thought and a prayer for her today and as oft as you can. Please call her today. Alex Muoka former Chairman-NBA Lagos
I met Adeola at Unity Bank in those days when I and my Partner, Lema Adebola were trying to grow our firm, Fountain Court Partners and she proved to be a pleasant woman. When Apata died and I met his widow at the Wake Keep it broke my her. The same Adeola was behold Apata’s wife. It breaks my heart every time I see Adeola and consider that Apata is no more! Ma’am be strong. Apata will rest well. Stephen Obajaja Secretary-NBA Lagos branch
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. Wis 3:1-3
Rest on Tola Apata. And may God continue to uphold your wife with His victorious right hand.
Geraldine Wey-Chairman,National Association of Catholic Lawyers
The Soul of Tola shall rest in Perfect peace.Amen.Obiora Egwuatu
May God continue to bless and comfort his loved ones in Jesus name-Anne Aimua
To live in the herats of those we love is not to die. Continue to rest in the bosom of the almighty, Tola till we meet to part no more- Wale Adesokan
May the soul of Babatola Apata& thesouls of all the faithful departed rest in perfect peace.-Mrs PN Omorodion.
May Perpetual light continue to shine on Apata,Amen- Obele Akinniranye
May thesoul of Babatola Apata continue to rest in peace.Amen- Nkechi Nnajiofor
May Babatola Apata’s soul continue to rest in peace.-IK Uwanna.
Eternal rest o lord grant Tola’s soul in Jesus name. Amen- Tolani Edu-Adeola
May his soul rest in peace-Coleman Lawrence
May his soul rest in perfect peace- Cynthia Ukawoko