12, 2019 / 08:25AM
/ By Prof. M. O. Adeyemi / Header Image Credit: The Adeyemi Family
Professor Moses Olurunfunmi Adeyemi (Feb 1942 – June 2019)
of many parts and rare combinations, Professor Adeyemi, by the grace of God,
was a seasoned administrator, an erudite lawyer, a commercial arbitrator, a
versatile writer, an academician of international repute as well as a clergy
man. He had a knack of exhausting the rank of every career or vocation he
pursued. He started his administrative career as a Typist, became an
Administrative Secretary, then Company Secretary later Executive Director and
ultimately Director General/Chief Executive. He came into the legal profession
as a Pupil State Counsel, became Principal Counsel, then Chief Legal Adviser of
NICON group and ultimately Practiced law in all the superior courts up to the
Supreme Court. He began his academic career as a Commonwealth Scholar, was
Visiting Senior Lecturer in law in Liberia and The Gambia and ultimately became
Professor of the West African Insurance Institute, Banjul, The Gambia. He began
his service to the Church as a choir boy, became a Sunday School Supervisor and
ultimately an ordained Pastor of the Christ Apostolic Church worldwide.
A Challenging Beginning
Professor Adeyemi was born on 15th February 1942, at Imosu Quarters, Okun-Owa, ljebu. His father was Pa Rufai Onakoya of blessed memory whose genealogy was traceable to the Idewon Royal family of ljebu-Ode. His mother was Madam Efunsola ldowu Onakoya (Nee Awosanya). Following the demise of his biological father in 1943 (within a year of his birth), young Olorunfunmi was mentored by his elder cousin, Elder Adeyemi Onagoruwa whose first name he adopted as his surname. The death of Pa Onakoya in 1943 at the premature age of 44 was devastating to the family and led to the withdrawal from school of all the elder siblings of daddy for lack of sponsorship.
Young Olorunfunmi started his educational career in 1949 at St. Barnabas' School, Okun-Owa. Although he excelled academically taking first position most of the time in the school, he could not see the four corners of a secondary school as a result of the mother's state of impecuniosity. He was, however, elected by his peers and the school authority as the School's General Captain in his final year at school in 1956.
The Journey To Overcome: Side-Stepping Limitations
Professor Adeyemi trained as a Stenographer and recorded remarkable success in the examinations of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) London Advanced level in 1961. He secured employment as a Typist at the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Zaria in July 1958 and was reputed to be the youngest white collar employee in the Railway Compound in 1958. By virtue of his success in the RSA examinations, he secured a higher employment as a Secretary- Typist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in 1963 from where he moved to the University of Lagos Faculty of Business and Social Studies as a Faculty Secretary in 1966. This was an executive appointment which attracted for him an official saloon car.
Desirous of advancing to greater heights in general education, Funmi, while serving at the Nigerian Railway Corporation, enrolled at the Zaria Extra Mural Polytechnic for part time studies leading to the General Certificate of Education of London. Upon his relocation to Lagos in 1963, he took correspondence tuition in the same direction. He sat for and passed the London General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level in 1964 and the Advanced
Level in 1966.
Professor Adeyemi was admitted into the Faculty of Laws of the University of Lagos in 1967 for a law degree on part-time basis. He had a remarkable academic career at the University as he led his set (both full-time and part-time students) in all examinations from the first to the final year. He graduated LL.B. Honours with 2nd Class Upper Division and emerged as the overall best graduating student of the- faculty (full time and part-time combined) in 1972
for which feat he was awarded Faculty Prizes.
From 1972 to 1973, he studied at the Nigerian Law School and was called to the Nigerian Bar and enrolled as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in June 1973. He won a Commonwealth Post graduate Scholarship Award for law in 1973. He was the only Nigerian to win the Award in the year 1973. The award was tenable at the University of London from where he obtained an LL.M degree with specialization in Commercial Law and Taxation in 1974.
Building On Challenges & Opportunity
Professor Adeyemi returned to Nigeria Immediately and joined the law firm of Gani Fawehinmi & Co. as a Litigation Lawyer. In November 1974, he moved to the Federal Ministry of Justice, Lagos State Counsel in the Civil Litigation Division. He handled cases in several parts of the country on behalf of Federal Government of Nigeria. One of such cases was the arbitration between Akin-Taylor Engineering & Co. Ltd. and the Federal Government of Nigeria in. which the opposing counsel was Prince Bola Ajibola who later became a Judge of the World Court in The Hague.
Professor Adeyemi resigned from the Ministry to join the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank as a Legal Officer in July 1975. The attraction of a more challenging position, led him to resign from the bank to join the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON) in April 1976 as Deputy Secretary/Legal Officer. He was the first in- house lawyer to be employed by the Corporation. His hard work, competence and vision led to the expansion of the legal department of the corporation such that he had eleven in-house lawyers reporting to him. He was promoted to the post of Chief Legal Officer of the Corporation in 1978. He was appointed to a higher status as Legal Adviser/Corporation Secretary in 1980. Simultaneously, he served as the Executive Director of NICON Trustees Limited and Director of NICON Hotels Limited the company that established and originally owned the magnificent NICON-NOGA Hilton 5-Star deluxe hotel, Abuja. The hotel is now known as Transcop Hilton, Abuja following its privatization by the Federal Government.
Professor Adeyemi disengaged from NICON in July 1989 and on 1st September of the same year, he was appointed as the Director General/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA); the umbrella organization of all the insurance companies operating in Nigeria. There, he headed a Secretariat in which several professionals including insurance technicians, lawyers, accountants, statisticians as well as human resources and IT experts were employed. Upon voluntarily retiring from the NIA in 2003, he established the law firm of Funmi Adeyemi & Co. which carries on general legal advocacy in all superior courts across the country. He also served as an arbitrator, arbitral lawyer, solicitor and legal consultant.
A Legacy of Service/Knowledge Sharing
A man of integrity and probity, Professor Adeyemi served as a member of the Governing Councils of the following professional and trade bodies:
Professor Adeyemi became a Visiting Senior Lecturer in law at the West African Insurance Institute, Banjul, The Gambia in 1981. He was appointed consecutively annually to the position and in 2009 he was elevated to the position of Professor of the Institute.
Professor Adeyemi wrote three books on insurance law and practice and co- authored another three. He was Chairman, Editorial Board and Editor-in-chief of three professional journals. He wrote over 70 articles and researched papers in insurance law, company law
and labour law. Some of his papers were translated and published in French, German, Italian and Portuguese speaking countries.
A versatile and knowledgeable professional, Professor Adeyemi, in addition to being a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court, was:
· A Fellow of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers;
· A Fellow of the West African Insurance Institute, Banjul, The Gambia;
· An Associate of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators of U.K;
· An Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, and
· A Member of the Chartered Institute of Management.
In the course of official assignments or attendance at learned conferences, Professor Adeyemi traversed virtually the whole of African continent from Dakar to Addis Ababa and from Cairo to Cape Town and also visited several countries in Europe, Asia as well as North and South America.
A consummate workaholic, he carried out many special assignments for the financial services sector, the Nigerian Government as well as the Economic Community of West African States. One of such assignments was when he served as Chairman of the Technical Commission of ECOWAS Council of Bureaux on the harmonization of the rules of compensation of motor accident victims in West Africa in 1988-89. The other members of the commission were drawn from Togo, Ghana, Mali, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Professor Adeyemi was a recipient of several honours and awards. These included:
· Merit Award of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria;
· Merit and Scholastic Awards of the Nigerian Insurers Association;
· Insurance Award of the Champion Newspapers Ltd.;
· Role Model Award of the Daily Times of Nigeria;
· Book Writers Award of the African Insurance Organization;
· Merit Award of the Christ Apostolic Church, ljebu Districts Co-ordinating Council, ljebu-Ode;
· Merit Award of the ljebu Divisional Multilateral Grammar School, Okun-Owa; and
· Award of Excellence of the Okun-Owa Community Development Association.
Spiritual Devotion & Faith-Based Service
Professor Adeyemi was born into a muslim family. He, however, accepted Christ into his life in 1957 and was baptized as a member of the Christ Apostolic Church. He served the Church as a chorister and subsequently as an Usher, Sunday School Teacher and Supervisor, member and Assistant Secretary of the Board of Elders and the Church Council. The CAC authority invited him to attend a pastoral course at the Theological Seminary, lle-lfe in 1989 after which he was ordained as a Pastor in April of the same year. From that date until the end of time, he served as Associate Pastor and Board member at the Christ Apostolic Church Ebute- Metta.
He was a prayer warrior, a preacher of the Word and a church administrator. He served as Patron of many church societies including the Mary's Society as well as the Choir and St. David's Band. He was the Adviser to the Good Women Association of the C.A.C., Ebute-Metta. He was elected Hon. Secretary of the Young Men Christian League of the Church and served as President of the League from 1984 to 1990. He was the Baba ljo (Patron) of the Christ Apostolic Church, District Headquarters, Okun-Owa from 1988 until his transition to glory.
Commitment to Family & Community
A paragon of love, Professor Adeyemi was charitable and selfless. He gave generously and unobtrusively to all categories of the needy, including the poor, widows, orphans, the elderly and the sick. He is a kingdom promoter and he supported men of God generally.
He established and operated the Funmi Adeyemi Scholarship Fund for Orphans through which several orphans were able to receive sponsorship for secondary school education.
Professor Adeyemi planted seeds and gave generously to church development not only in the CAC but in many other churches.
Professor Adeyemi was a community leader. Aside from being an active member of the Omole Phase ll Estate CDA, he was for several years the Hon. Secretary of Okun-Owa Community Development Council and Alekun Development Council. In recognition of his service to the community, he was honoured by the Oba of Okun- Owa with the chieftaincy tittle of Bobasuwa of Okun-Owa (he who sits beside the king at public events).
In October 1965, Professor Adeyemi was joined in holy wedlock to his heart throb now Deaconess Christianah Kehinde Adeyemi (nee Odumade-Seyin). The marriage was blessed with children and grand- children. He was a supportive husband and caring father. He was a disciplinarian. He instilled Christian values in his children and brought them up in the ways of the Lord.
Professor Adeyemi was a rallying point to the members of his extended families.
He stood in loco parentis for many of
them and was a mentor and role model of many. He was the head of Logidi Clan,
Imosu Quarters, Okun-Owa (his father's extended families).
Professor Adeyemi lived a very-fulfilled life. He served the Lord and served humanity. We believe that an unfading crown of glory shall be his portion in God's eternal kingdom.
He will be buried today in Okun-Owa, Odogbolu, Ogun State.