Influence peddling: Partner in Olanipekun’s firm takes a break from law practice

Influence peddling: Partner in Olanipekun’s firm takes a break from law practice

Adekunbi Ogunde, a partner in the law firm of Wole Olanipekun, chairman of the Body of Benchers, says she has decided to take a break from legal pract

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Adekunbi Ogunde, a partner in the law firm of Wole Olanipekun, chairman of the Body of Benchers, says she has decided to take a break from legal practice.

Ogunde had, in June, admitted to sending an email to SAIPEM Contracting Nigeria Ltd, soliciting a brief.

Despite being aware that the law firm of Henry Ajumogobia, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is handling the matter, Ogunde asked SAIPEM to consider hiring Olanipekun & Co, adding that the founder has more “influence” with judges across all courts.

Olanipekun has since apologised to Ajumogobia, stating that he never approved the email sent by Ogunde.

Ogunde also apologised to Ajumogobia for the embarrassment, blaming her action on exuberance.

The NBA had, in a petition sent on July 20, asked the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) to prosecute Ogunde over “professional misconduct”.

In the petition, NBA also asked the committee to consider whether the partners of the firm of Wole Olanipekun & Co. are not liable to be disciplined alongside Ogunde.

The NBA also asked Olanipekun to resign on the ground that he could influence the processes of the LPDC since the committee is under the supervision of the Body of Benchers chairman.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ogunde said the issue has affected her psychologically.

“I cannot deny the fact that I am at the centre of every main or collateral issue that has arisen out of the said email,” she said.

“It may appear as if neither Wole Olanipekun & Co. nor me has taken any concrete step to ameliorate the effect of the email by way of discipline, education, reform and rehabilitation concerning me. I wish to state that the firm took such steps but did not believe that its actions should be for the attention of the media.

“Unfortunately, the matter has now become rather complicated and has not only affected me psychologically but also Wole Olanipekun & Co. and my family. It has bred bad blood and, to my great pain, thoroughly embarrassed the firm’s founding partner, the innocent and dignified chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, OFR and as well as everyone else at the firm.”

Ogunde said after “consulting with family and the firm, and after a deep and thorough examination of all the facets of this hydra-headed problem”, she has decided to “take a leave of absence from legal practice and get involved in community and social work pro bono, with a few selected NGOs”.

“I will also during this time undergo necessary courses to equip myself better in dealing with professional and life issues,” she said.

“I will return to legal practice after some time, in consultation with my parents, senior colleagues and well-wishers. This statement is issued to enable me move to the next stage of my life. I will no longer be issuing any public statement.

“I thank all those who have helped me to pass through this very trying period, particularly my parents, partners and associates of Wole Olanipekun & Co., my friends and my parents’ friends.”