Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 3, 2022 – Ms. Adekunbi Ogunde, the Wole Olanipekun & Co. partner in the eye of the storm for the letter she wrote to SAIPEM, soliciting a brief for her law firm says she is taking a leave of absence from legal practice.
Ogunde, in a statement, on Wednesday in Lagos, said she had become the subject of “main and collateral issue” in the legal profession for the letter she wrote but for which she had apologised.
Ogunde said she had been in the eye of the storm over the letter to SAIPEM since June 20 adding bthat the email soon became a subject of discussion even after her public statement aimed at addressing the wrong conclusions being drawn from the email.
Subsequently, a complaint was filed against her at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee by the First Vice-President of the NBA.
A letter was also written to her firm’s founding partner, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, to recuse himself from his position as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers.
Ogunde in a public statement on June 27, expressed remorse for the anguish the said email caused to Ajumogobia & Okeke, her Firm, Wole Olanipekun & Co., and her parents.
She noted that the partners and/or associates at the firm knew nothing about or consented to the content or delivery of her email to SAIPEM, stressing that she acted alone in the whole matter.
At a point, Oluwemimo Ogunde (SAN), her father had to distance himself from the call for the resignation of Chief Olanipekun as Chairman of the Body of Benchers by the Justice Reform Project (JRP), a clique of 20 SANs within the profession.
Other members of the forum also issued statements to dissociate themselves from the resignation call.
Reports have it that Ogunde is presently out of the country, traumatized.
Her parents had to be with her to cushion any psychological effects the issue may have on her. Some young lawyers who spoke on anonymity believed that the same clique that took over the politics of NBA was at work to not only destroy but take other organs of the profession, using Ogunde as collateral.
They wondered why the Olumide Akpata led administration would sacrifice one of the youths, on whose platform he rose to the NBA presidency on the altar of bar politics.
In the statement Ogunde also explained that she had found herself at the center of “every main collateral issue” that had arisen out of her email to SAIPEM, hence the decision to take a leave of absence from the legal practice.
She said she would use the time of her absence to undergo necessary courses that could equip her better in dealing with professional and life issues.
While acknowledging that Wole Olanipekun & Co had taken a concrete step to ameliorate the effect of the email by way of discipline, education, reform, and rehabilitation, she said the firm did not believe that its actions should be for the attention of the media.
Further commenting on the impact of the entire episode on her life, she said, “It has not only affected me psychologically but also Wole Olanipekun & Co and my family.
“It has bred bad blood and, to my great pain, thoroughly embarrassed our Firm’s Founder.”
According to her, she will get involved in community and social work pro bono, with a few selected NGOs and return to legal practice after some time, in consultation with her parents, senior colleagues, and well-wishers.
She said that she took the decision after consulting with her family and the Firm and after a deep and thorough examination “of all the facets of this hydra-headed problem.”
Below is her full statement:
The email I sent to SAIPEM on 20th June 2022 has, for several weeks, become the subject of discussion, debate, and diatribe among lawyers and the general public on various social media platforms. My public statement issued on 27th June 2022, which was aimed at expressing remorse for the anguish the said email caused to Ajumogobia & Okeke, my Firm, Wole Olanipekun & Co., and my parents and also to debunk the wrong conclusions drawn by many lawyers that the partners and/or associates at the firm knew about or consented to the content or delivery of my email did not also achieve the purpose in the opinion of some people.
Since I issued that public statement, I have read on social media a complaint filed against me at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee by the First Vice-President of the NBA and the letter written to my Firm’s Founding Partner, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR that he should recuse himself from his position as the Chairman of the Body of Benchers.
I cannot deny the fact that I am at the center of every main or collateral issue that has arisen out of the said email. It may appear as if neither Wole Olanipekun & Co nor me has taken any concrete step to ameliorate the effect of the email by way of discipline, education, reform, and rehabilitation concerning me. I wish to state that the firm took such steps but did not believe that its actions should be for the attention of the media.
Unfortunately, the matter has now become rather complicated and has not only affected me psychologically but also Wole Olanipekun & Co and my family. It has bred bad blood and, to my great pain, thoroughly embarrassed our Firm’s Founder, the innocent and dignified Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR, and as well as the Firm.
As the one through whom all these have arisen, I have consulted with my family and the Firm and after a deep and thorough examination of all the facets of this hydra-headed problem, I have decided to take the following steps:
• I will take a leave of absence from legal practice and get involved in community and social work pro bono, with a few selected NGOs.
• I will also during this time undergo necessary courses to equip myself better in dealing with professional and life issues.
• I will return to legal practice after some time, in consultation with my parents, senior colleagues, and well-wishers.
This statement is issued to enable me to move to the next stage of my life. I will no longer be issuing any public statements.
I thank all those who have helped me to pass through this very trying period of my life, particularly my parents, partners, and associates of Wole Olanipekun & Co, my friends, and my parents’ friends.
God bless you all.