A Senior Lecturer in the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Ilorin, Dr. Joshua Olukayode Olatoke, has joined the elite silk wig of the legal profession in the country following his elevation to the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Dr. Olatoke is one of the 17 new SANs, whose elevation was announced by the Legal Practitioners and Privileges Committee (LPPC) on July 11, 2014.

Aside Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali, a renowred legal luminary, who is a visiting lecturer to the Faculty of Law, Dr. Olatoke is the first academic staff of the Faculty to bag the prestigious rank.

The letter conveying the award to Dr. Olatoke, signed by the LPPC Secretary, Mr. Sunday Olorudamisi, said, “It is my pleasure to inform you that at the meeting of the Legal Practitioners and Privileges Committee held on 11th July, 2014, you have been elevated to the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“The swearing-in ceremony will be on Monday, the 22nd of September, 2014 in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“On behalf of the Chairman and members of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, we congratulate you on your well-deserved elevation.”

In a chat with Unilorin Bulletin last Thursday (July 24, 2014), Dr. Olatoke attributed his elevation to the support and the good atmosphere created by the management of the University, which he said, enabled him to thrive. He therefore dedicated the success of his application as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to the University.

The don said, “I glorify and give thanks to the Almighty God for reaching the peak of my professional career. The enabling environment gave me the opportunity to be able to use the talent that I have and to be able to appear in the superior court of record, because if I have not been able to get the enabling environment to appear before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, I will not have been able to get to that level.”

He added, “It is because of the above that I dedicate the success of my application to the University for its support and goodwill and also pledge to strive to make the University indeed “better by far.”

Dr. Olatoke also advised his colleagues in the Faculty of Law to “keep on doing the good work by being diligent to their work and being active at the bar.”

Commenting on the award, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr Yusuf Ibrahim Arowosaye, described it as “a thing of joy that will boost the morale of our students.”

Dr. Arowosaye said that the elevation of Dr. Olatoke “is a testimony to his age-long dedication to legal practice and development of Nigerian jurisprudence through legal practice at the same time through the teaching of law.”

The Dean, who noted that many academics that have obtained the doctorate degree and, at the same time, are still in active legal practice, have the opportunity of being better in their performance when it comes to the practice, “because of the fact that they have thorough academic background.”

Dr. Arowosaye added that “at the same time, their long years of experience in legal practice also comes to play; because for one to be elevated to the rank of SAN, it entails lots of requirements in terms of performance at the Magistrate’s Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and the number of cases you handle at the Supreme Court.”

The Dean added, “Whoever must have had a PHD in Law, there is the tendency that the person will have a better grasp of research, which would definitely assist him in resolving legal problems and at the end of the day he will have the opportunity of winning cases and at the same time exhibit his competence which sooner or later is recognised by the Legal Practitioners Privilege Committee, the body that confers the rank of SAN on suitable candidates who applied.”

Dr. Arowosaye said further that “the University has created the enabling environment for lawyers, particularly in the academics, not to lose focus on what goes on in the courtroom because Law is a living subject; it is a continuum. So, a little of what is obtainable in court and a little of what is substantive Law make a lawyer to be a complete lawyer because if you don’t understand the theory of Law it will be difficult for you also to be able to apply it. If you only know the substantive aspect of Law, that is the theory, without knowing its application, you may find yourself in a very difficult position to advocate for a reform in the law. So, his elevation, in one way or the other, is a good thing for us in the Faculty. He will bring in his experience into his official responsibility as a Law teacher. Aside from that, our students also stand a better chance of being mentored, of being inspired, by somebody who has attained the peak of achievement in legal practice.

Being a staff of the University, I think it is a great achievement to us in the Faculty, and the University will also be proud that we have somebody of his status among the list of its staff to take care of our undergraduate and postgraduate students.”

Dr Olatoke, who joined the services of the University of Ilorin as Lecturer II in 1998, obtained his LL.B, LL.M and Ph. D. degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, between 1988 and 2007. He has served in various administrative and academic capacities within the Nigerian educational system and beyond.

As an academic, he has many articles and publications to his credit and has supervised many masters and undergraduate students. He has also handled over 59 cases, 11 of which are at the Supreme Court and 27 at the Court of Appeal.

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