All you need to know about Dr Kole Abayomi, former DG of Nigerian Law School, who died of COVID-19 in UK

While the number of COVID-19 death toll in Nigeria stood at 10 as at Monday April 13, the number of Nigerians who have died in foreign countries of the deadly virus is almost nearing times two of the local figure.

We may not be able to ascertain the exact figure of Nigerians who have died of coronavirus in abroad, but a list released a few days ago by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) revealed that 13 Nigerians have died in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The toll will be 14 if we add Dr Olumide Okunuga who also died of coronavirus in Italy in March.

Prominent on the list released by NIDCOM is Dr Kole Abayomi (SAN), a former Director General of the Nigerian Law School who died at a London hospital on April 2 just four months to his 80th birthday.

Born August 20, 1940, Dr Kole Abayomi was the fourth child of the six children of prominent nationalist and medical doctor, Kofoworola Abayomi. The popular Kofo Abayomi road in Victoria island Lagos was named in honour of his father.

He was born and bred in Lagos and had his primary and secondary education in Lagos – at Princess School and Christ Church Cathedral School in Lagos, the legendary CMS Grammar School and King's College before travelling to UK where he bagged his first degree in Law at the University of Durham in England. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1966.

He was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship in October 1966 for Post graduate studies in Law at the Clare College Cambridge University in England where he obtained the postgraduate degree of LL.B (now LLM) in 1967 and Ph.D from University of Cambridge in 1970.

After bagging all degrees, Dr. Abayomi returned to Nigeria in 1970 to start a lecturing career at the Nigerian Law School. In 2001, he was appointed Deputy Director-General and Head of Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School. Thereafter in November 2004, he became the Director-General of the School.

If his father Dr Kofo Abayomi had his way, Kole would have been a medical doctor like him, but all entreaties to make the profession look attractive to him failed as he insisted he was going to be a legal practitioner. He didn't just fulfill his dream of becoming a lawyer, he also became a teacher of lawyers and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, rising to the level of the Director General of the Nigerian Law School where lawyers are incubated before they are called to the Nigerian Bar.

"I taught lawyers which include attorney generals, I can tell you that there is hardly anyone in the judiciary today that I have not taught," Dr Kole said in a 2017 interview with The Punch.

He taught lawyers at the Nigerian Law School for close to 36 years before retiring as the DG in November 2005 the same year he was conferred with the rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and National Honours as an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Dr Kole Abayomi was also a member of the 50-man Constitution Drafting Committee appointed by the Military Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed, in 1975.

He was just 18 years old and in his first year studying law in England when he met the 15-year-old lady who became his first wife. They got married when she was 16 and had their first baby while he was still an undergraduate.

"She was only 15 years and six months old at the time while I was about 18 years old. When she turned 16, I married her and we have three beautiful children. When my father heard that I had got married in my first year in school and even had a child, he was upset but he had two friends who I asked to help me beg him. My mother also spoke to him on my behalf," He said:

The union later hit the rock when the duo returned to Nigeria iin 1970 to start a new life, "I met her when she was very young and she did not have time to have fun before she became a wife and mother. Nigeria is a difficult place to live, so when I brought her here, she found it difficult to stay. Things changed, we had some misunderstanding and then, we divorced. Later I married one of my students at Lagos Law School," Abayomi said.

Dr Kole Abayomi was Dr Kofo Abayomi's favourite among his six siblings and he managed his estate and was a co-signatory to his account before the father died in 1979.

On his relationship with his dad, Dr Kole said "He relied on me right from when I was young. When I was about 19, he gave me all his title deeds to keep for him.

"My father and I had a very good rapport. For instance, I was signing his cheques. If I did not sign and he counter signed, the banks would not honour his cheques until I had signed. The reason is that he was going blind and to ensure that his stewards would not cheat him, he wrote to the bank that he wanted one of his children to be a co-signatory.

The post All you need to know about Dr Kole Abayomi, former DG of Nigerian Law School, who died of COVID-19 in UK appeared first on Neusroom.