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Grass to Grace: Amazing Journey of Remi Olatubora
By Triangle News Media
The story of Hon. Remi Olatubora SAN is one which signifies that truly anything is possible; it is a remarkable grass-to-grace story. The script is one that Hollywood filmmakers would relish.
He means different things to different people. Many who adore him will easily remember Hon. Remi Olatubora, SAN. as a successful legal practitioner, a philanthropist and a politician of note among others. His recent attainment of the league of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria is a bold statement and testament of his illustrious and beautiful career as a lawyer.
The rise of Olatubora to the zenith of profession could not be divorced from the grace of God. However, many years of hard work, diligence, commitment and innovation introduced to his legal profession ever since he was called to the Bar have definitely played a huge role in the career success of Olatubora.
To every child growing up in the country, he is a beacon of hope and an exemplary figure with amazing attributes, one which fits every definition of a true “Omoluabi”. The journey of Olatubota to stardom was never accidental; it was one clearly orchestrated by the divine, as dutifully worked out by him through selfless works and laudable attributes. Recounting his journey when he was conferred with the title of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he stated, “Whereas many of my colleagues on the 2020 SAN’s list are from the Elite and Bourgeoisie, I represent the rural areas, the down-trodden, the farmers, the carpenters, the bricklayers in the Nigerian oligarchy.”.
“My becoming a SAN may not have come early enough by human calculation, but whenever I reflect on the obscurity of the place where I was born and raised, the quality of early schools I attended, the dangerous and adventurous childhood I had, I come to the inevitable conclusion that God is involved. I give all glory and honor of my elevation to God Almighty, the ruler of heaven and the earth. He raised destiny helpers for me along the road of my life, and particularly in the last four months. I owe my destiny helpers a debt of gratitude which God Almighty will help me to pay”
Remi Olatubora (SAN) was born in March 1967, in Iyansan in the Ikale area of Ondo State. He had his first three years of existence in the period of the Nigerian needless Civil War. His father, Oyinboegbola Ezekiel Olatubora was learned by the standard of his time. He had Standard Six Certificate and wrote English in cursive handwriting. He was a timber merchant who also had other lines of business in construction, sands, granite and gravel. He died as the Regent of Laragunsin of Iyansan in 2000 at the age of 80. However, Remi Olatubora’s mother, Mrs. Olufunke Ogunsakin-Olaluwoye, is not learned. She is a cassava and plantain farmer and she is now in her late 80s.
Remi Olatubora (SAN) started his primary school education at the United Native Authority (U.N.A) Primary Iyansan in September 1972. According to him,” After school, in those days, I would, along with my siblings and other children whose parents were also farmers, go to meet my mum in her farm. We called the farm area Ofiogo. It was a distance of almost 7 kilometers from Iyansan. On getting to the farmstead, my siblings and I, would be given some work to do in the farm. Depending on the season, it could be manual ploughing, yam heaps making, planting of cassava or weeding. At the close of work, we would be given loads to carry back home. Those loads could be firewood, plantains, cassava or anything useful.”
“In those days, we would return home from the farm sometimes around 6.00pm and sometimes it could be as late as 8.00pm. Whether we came back early or late, we the children, most times alone and some times along with our mums would be required to go to the river (Owena or Ejie) to fetch water for use in the house. That done, we would settle to cook or join our mum’s in cooking. We took our dinners sometimes as late as 10.00pm. If you have been wondering why potbelly is common among village boys, you probably have gotten one here. But no matter how late we the children close with household chores, we must compulsorily read our books, do our assignments or ‘homework’ as they were sometimes called in those days. We must also get ourselves ready for school the next day. My dad did enforce this”.
After the completion of his Primary School Education in the year 1979, he proceeded to the Comprehensive High School, Irele and later Sani Luba Continuing Education Centre, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State where he studied for his Higher School Certificate between 1986-1988. From there, he was admitted to study Law in UNILAG in the 1989/1990 academic session and graduated in 1992. He attended the Nigerian Law School in 1993 and was called to Bar the same year.
While growing up, life was not a bed of roses for him as he had to go through many tough experiences, all which shaped him into becoming who he is today.
Sharing some of his experiences working as a water boy in his hometown, he stated, “Dad did not spare me from the water-boy job. In 1981 during the long vacation, and after we had joined my dad’s regular workers to complete logs rafting and got the logs set for haulage to Lagos, my dad wanted me to go with the other water-boys, principally to help him monitor their activities.
It was customary for dishonest water-boys to sell off part of their principals’ merchandise along the waterways to Lagos. The plan to go to Lagos with the woods along with the other water-boys was meant to be a secret one between my dad and I. The plan was to be implemented after my mum had left home for her farm. My mother would be afraid and might break down if she heard I was to embark on such a trip. The secret plan between my dad and I was to force a fait accompli on my mum. So, in that particular occasion, by the time my mum came back in the evening from her farm, I had gone with the logs. On that trip, I supervised not only my dad’s business, I also coordinated the other water-boys, some of who were old enough to be my father. However, I gave those other workers utmost respect.”
He started his early law practice in Lagos until he was elected to the Ondo State House of Assembly, Nigeria in 1999 as a Member of the Ondo State House of Assembly (Parliament). In 2006, he obtained his Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.
In 2017, he successfully completed his Master of Philosophy of Law (M. Phil.) degree in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. He is currently studying for his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree in Law at the Obafemi Awolowo University, while his research is focused on gaps in international criminal law enforcement in national and international criminal courts. His areas of specialization include Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and International Criminal Law.
Remi Olatubora served as Attorney-General of Ondo State, Nigeria from 2016-2017. He represented Ondo State as a delegate to the Nigerian Constitutional Conference of 2014. Remarkably, he has also written many books on Nigerian law. The most famous of such books are:
(a) Electoral Law and Practice in Nigeria (2006),
(b) The Petition of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Issues in Nigerian Election Law and
(c) Election Litigation in Nigeria (2015).
He is a member of European Society of International Law (ESIL) and the Nigeria Bar Association. He also teaches Constitutional Law and Legal Research Methods in Elizade University, Nigeria and has contributed many scholarly writings to top Nigerian Law Journals. Some of such journal articles are:
(a) An Analysis of the Compensation Provisions of the Land Use Act in Comparative Context IJICL 2016, Part 1 (January –June) Prospects and Challenges of Plea Bargaining in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria IFJR 2016, Part 3, (June-July).
(b) An Examination of the Onus of Proof and Rule against Hearsay Evidence in Election Petition, IFJR, 2017 vol. 11(1) (January- April).
His article on Immunities of State Officials and the Challenges of the Enforcement of International Criminal Law in Foreign Domestic Courts has been accepted for publication in Elizade University Law Journal. It is worthy of note that one of his texts titled ‘Electoral Law and Practice in Nigeria’ was listed by the Council of Legal Education (Nigerian Law School) as a reference text for the training of law students at the Nigeria Law School.
Remi Olatubora today stands tall and proud to be mentioned among the highly classed and respected ones who wear a new legal title, “Senior Advocate of Nigeria”. His story is one which clearly depicts the grass-to-grace experience: the amazing journey of a man who fought against all odds, rising from one of the humblest of backgrounds to sit among kings and Queens.
Setting himself unique and special among the lots, he has gone on to become one of the trusted names in the legal profession, a name that commands great respect from far and wide. His name speaks of nobility, awe and confidence.
It is no doubt that he commands a lot of respect, attention and has great influence globally because he is one notable achiever who has impacted positively and greatly on humanity and has grace working for him.
His impeccable personality and legal prowess have endeared many more young lawyers to him, while seeing to their growth and development in the legal profession.