President Muhammadu Buhari has praised the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, retired Justice George Oguntade (JSC), as a rare jurist, who has earned his respect.
President Buhari stated this in his tribute to mark the 80th birthday anniversary of the former Justice of the Supreme Court, recalling how he distinguished himself by delivery conscientious judgements while still on the Bench.
The President recalled the minority judgement Justice Oguntade delivered in the 2007 Presidential Election Petition, which he (Buhari) filed against the election of the late President Umaru Musa-Yar’adu, citing it as one of the landmark cases that distinguished the jurist.
The President, in the tribute to Oguntade, and quoted in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, described him as a sterling character and a great Patriot.
He said Oguntade, who is also a former Chancellor, University of Lagos, earned his respect by the way he conducted himself with “virtue, honesty and conviction to do the right thing.
“What a sterling character! A man with the courage of his convictions, a jurist of the Puritan kind, and a great patriot. Justice Oguntade, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is a man who made a name and a reputation in his chosen career of legal practice. No wonder, he rose to the very peak, retiring as Justice of the Supreme Court.
“To be an outstanding jurist, you must be ready to be different, even if it means standing alone. I will never forget my legal challenge of the presidential election of 2007. It was such a disorderly, chaotic and badly manipulated poll, that the man declared winner, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, himself admitted the process was highly flawed.
“However, the Supreme Court, in its judgement, upheld the election, except for a minority position maintained by three justices, led by Justice Oguntade. He nullified the poll for not complying with the Electoral Act. It was a split of four against three. You don’t have too many like this great jurist anymore.
“He was not afraid to stand alone, when it came to upholding the truth. For that display of virtue, honesty and conviction to do the right thing, Justice Oguntade earned my respect. And as he turns 80, I wish him a grand celebration.
“To Justice Oguntade, I say good health, longer life and service to our country. Happy birthday, and may the Oguntade clan continue to increase”, the President said.
He, however, joined the Nigerian Body of Benchers and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in celebrating the former Justice of the Supreme Court and High Commissioner to the UK, Justice Oguntade, on his 80th birthday, March 10, 2020.