It is with a heavy heart and gratitude to the Almighty Allah that we receive the passing of our dearly beloved father in Islam, Alhaji Prince Abdul Jabbar Bola Ajibola early this morning.
He was an internationally renowned legal icon who rose to the peak of his career and profession when he became a Judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. He was once the Minister of Justice, Attorney General of the Federation, and Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
His passionate love for Islam was very palpable and contagious. If you hear him speak about Islam you will be forced to love and admire him and you will increase your dedication and commitment to Islam.
He founded Islamic Mission for Africa (I.M.A.) and the first Muslim university, The Crescent University, becoming a trailblazer and pacesetter, inspiring some other Muslim organizations who emulated his footsteps in establishing more universities for Muslims.
He invited many Islamic scholars and academicians to brainstorm and assist in establishing a worthy Islamic organization, Islamic Mission for Africa (IMA), an Islamic centre and a Muslim university and made them available for the benefit of the Muslim ummah at large.
He was also a great Muslim philanthropist and was ever eager to assist and contribute his quota to the cause of Islam and the welfare of Muslims. He also strove selflessly and tirelessly for the unity and progress of Muslims in the southwest of Nigeria.
May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him. May Allah widen, illuminate and fill his grave with the sweet fragrance of musk from paradise. May Allah build for him a castle in the Highest Firdaws with the righteous. And may Allah give his family and the entire Muslim ummah the fortitude to bear the great loss. Amin.
Born on 22nd March 1934 to the Owu Royal Family, His Excellency Judge Bola Abdul Jabbar Ajibola attended Owu Baptist Day School, Ago Owu and Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, Ogun State for his primary and secondary school education between 1942 and 1955. In 1958, he was enrolled at Holborn College of Law, University of London from where he graduated in 1962 with a degree in law before he was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn on 27 November 1962. He was President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), 1984-1985 and Attorney-General/Minister of Justice (1985-1991). From there, he moved to the International Court of Justice, Den Hague, Netherlands. After a three-year stint at the World Court in 1994, he further served as Judge Ad Hoc of the World Court from 1994 to 2002. He was appointed Judge of the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also served as the Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom between 1999 and 2002. He was Chairman of Nigerian delegation to the Nigerian-Cameroon Mixed Commission on the Bakassi Peninsula. Prince Ajibola served as Vice President and later President of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal from 1994 to 2005; President, World Association of the World Jurists and Arbitrator, Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Dispute Commission. A voracious reader, prolific writer, renowned administrator, jurist and arbitrator of global acclaim, Prince Ajibola has attended numerous international conferences and has held international positions and arbitration assignments too numerous to mention here. In his professional career, he has provided outstanding legal consultancy services to several companies including Avon Cosmetics Limited; Masms Solicitors and Co. of London; Exxon, Houston, Texas, USA and Arthur Anderson and Co., London and Lagos. In recognition of his outstanding imprints on the sands of time, Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto, awarded him Doctor of Literature (D. Litt) in 2003 while the Federal University of Agriculture conferred on him an Honorary Doctor of Agriculture (D. Agric) in 2004. As the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice between 1985 and 1991, he never took home a salary, asking that same should be distributed to the coffers of Federal Government (35%), Nigerian Bar Association (25%) and Charitable/humanitarian organisations (40%). The first Nigerian to be so selfless. He also founded African Concern, a non-governmental organisation in Lusaka, Zambia in May, 1995 to promote peace, justice and harmony among peoples of Africa in order to eradicate the problems of refugees arising from political conflicts and natural disasters. This, he accomplished in association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to give succour to refugees in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda. Prince Ajibola, an altruist, founded Islamic Mission for Africa in 1996, which gave birth to Crescent University, Abeokuta, a visionary initiative capable of building a new generation of graduates imbued with industry, moral uprightness and diligence as well as the inculcation of spiritual redevelopment in young men and women. Furthermore, the reputed legal icon and Islam’s ambassador has to his credit other awards and honours among which are: Knight of the Order of British Empire (KBE), 1989; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitration (FCIArb); World Jurist Award 1987; Senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), 1986; Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR) among others. Judge Bola Ajibola is the Founder/Proprietor, Crescent University, Abeokuta. Built on the pedestal of knowledge and faith, the university was established as a private academic institution under the banner of Islamic Mission for Africa(IMA). It was established in consonance with her doctrine and vision: learning and character. The operating licence from the Federal Government of Nigeria was obtained from National Universities Commission(NUC) on June 9, 2005 by the then Minister of Education, Mrs Chinwe Nora Obaji. Judge Bola Ajibola founded the university after selling his assets both in Nigeria and abroad to achieve the noble cause of assisting the Nigerian populace in closing the widening gap between attainable potential students’ population and limited space in public universities. Of his vision, the accomplishment of Crescent University is the ultimate. The university which prides itself as the Citadel of Academic and Moral Excellence has graduated 12 sets at undergraduate level and 5 sets at the Master’s level. Today, many of these products are performing excellently well both in further studies and employment. Some of them who made First Class in their first degree have also clinched Distinction/PhD grades in their MSc programmes abroad and at government-owned universities in Nigeria.