When client gave me car as gift
Raphael Sunday Ashaolu had his tutelage in Adeyemi & Co law firm under the leadership of Kayode Olatoke after he was called to the Nigeria Bar in 1983. The Ilorin-based Principal Counsel of Ashaolu & Co. who has carved a unique alcove for himself in the legal profession, shared with KAYODE ADEOTI, the most interesting experience in his over 34 years sojourn at the bar. Excerpts:
From the journey so far, I have handled a lot of cases ranging from criminal to civil matters but the one that always come to my mind was the case of Kayode Ajia, which I handled way back. This case has never ceased to pervade my mind. What made it very interesting was that this man has been labelled as a notorious armed rubber in the society, though he had a lucrative business, he was a tyre dealer at Agaka in Ilorin, he was alleged to have killed one pharmacist whose shop was very close to his. Ajia had been condemned in the court of public opinions, in fact, while narrating his ordeal to me; he said he had so much restriction in his dealings with members of the society.
On this fateful day, the counsel handling the case was debriefed, he was a senior lawyer. He told the parent of this man that he knows a lawyer who can handle the case better though young in the profession. The family contacted me and the deal was sealed. That day, I told him that if truly you are an armed rubber ‘you better leave it because the end of it is tears’ I also made him realised that court can use me to change his life for the better or to ruin it instalmentally. I however promised them that I will put in my best in the matter. And to God be the glory, we succeeded. The judgement was to our favour. But justice Orilonise (now retired), who presided over the case, made a comment which I can never forget; not even in a hurry, that ‘you don’t have to kill to make money, thank your God and thank your lawyer’, as a matter of fact, he became so happy afterwards. Then, I did not have a car; he bought one for me, Benz 200 and I was reasonably paid. You can imagine the value of that car during that time, around 1995. Those times, lawyers don’t charge like now but what I was given gave me so much honour and respect in the society. With this encounter, I was convinced that this profession’s worth its salt.