The Hallmarks of Labour has presented one of the most prestigious awards to the Honourable Justice Olabanji Orilonse, retired – the Role Model Award for Exemplary and Courageous Service to the Advancement of our Legal System.
The event chaired by His Lordship, Honourable Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, CON, Former Chief Justice of Nigeria with Professor Emeritus Umaru Shehu CFR, CON and Dr Christopher Kolade CFR, as Chief Hosts was held on October 6, 2019.
Justice Orilonise won the award for his ”fearless and courageous fight” in the face of huge inducements, suppression from the powers that be.
$500,000 cash was brought to his hotel room in the city of Benin, and a promise of elevation to the Court of Appeal, an impeccable report said.
In the gale of persecutions that followed the declaration of Adams Oshiomhole as the winner of the 2007 Edo State Governorship elections by the Tribunal of which Justice Orilonise was a member, my Lord stood firm for justice, and for his belief he was unwavered.
His Lordship was denied elevation to the superior court, his hard-earned emoluments withheld.
Steadfast in the quest for a just society, Justice Orilonise by his achievement and sacrifice, has placed his footprints on the sands of time.
This diamond-encrusted legacy is not only celebrated, but also used as examples for the younger generation of the bar and bench to emulate.
Hon. Justice Olabanji Orilonise
A citation by the Hallmarks of Labour
An accomplished Jurist, Honourable Justice Olabanji Orilonise obtained professional qualifications from the famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He was called to the Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in June 1971.
As a private legal practitioner for about 15 years, Olabanji Orilonise covered briefs across most parts of the country, particularly the northern and western States.
In private practice, he was also deemed worthy to be a member of the then Kwara State Judicial Service Commission, appointed a Judge of the High Court of Kwara State in 1986, Hon. Justice Banji OriIonise served in a number of judicial divisions in that State. Beyond the regular Courts, he also undertook special, highly-sensitive assignments in the public interest.
These included: Member, and later Chairman, Kwara State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal; Chairman of the kwara State Armed Robbery & Fire Arms Tribunal and the National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Benin-City, Edo State. In those capacities, he flatly refused and rejected monetary and promotion inducements from the highest echelon of the nation’s judiciary.
As Chairman of the Edo State Election petition tribunal, he openly condemned and rejected the offer.
As attested to by those that have interacted with him or appeared in his Court, Hon Justice Banji Orilonise is a brilliant, highly-principled, courageous, hard-working, and God-fearing adjudicator whose decisions were seldom faulted or upturned on appeal either by the Court of Appeal or by the Supreme Court. Indeed, Nigerian Law Reports feature several Judgments by the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on rulings and final decisions delivered by this erudite Jurist at the Court of first instance. Invariably, these have led to exposition of the Law of Evidence as well as the development of our Case Law and Jurisprudence at large.
A happily married man and a grandfather, Hon. Justice Banji Orilonise voluntarily retired from the Bench in 2008;having attained the mandatory exit age of 65 years for High Court Judges.
This award recognises men and women with proven track records in upholding truth and justice and/or whose services in the legal profession have contributed significantly to the advancement of the Nigerian legal system — through advocacy, adjudication, writing or academics. it celebrates the hard work and inspirational achievements of solicitors, legal teams and firms of all sizes across Nigeria for the past 23 years.
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