Aug 25, 2017

Star Profile - Nicholas Akintola Ladapo

Principal partner Chief Ladosu Ladapo ( SAN)& CO
 Mr. Akintola Ladapo is an amazing man. Words are not enough to begin to describe him. He likes to play squash and surprisingly, he is a very good dancer.  How do I know? Well, I happened to see him dance at his wife’s retirement thanksgiving service with his mighty ‘Agbada’ attire. The Reverend at the Methodist church Bodija Ibadan could not hide his astonishment at what he noticed in Mr. Akintola Ladapo’s skills on the dance floor.

In a bid to share very inspiring stories of Lawyers who have made a mark for themselves, I had the rare opportunity of having a 4 hour sit down discussion with him.

Read on, I am sure you will enjoy and learn a lot from his story.

He is a lawyer who has been in practice for about 38 years. Akintola Ladapo is the Principal partner of Chief Ladosu Ladapo (SAN) & Co. He was the Solicitor- General of Oyo State.
 On the 1st of October 1955, at Island maternity hospital Lagos, a baby who has grown into a delectable personality, a perfect picture of a role model that is very worthy of emulation was born. He was born into the family of Chief Ladosu Ladapo (SAN) and Lady Olapeju Cecilia Ladapo nee ADESANYA. He was christened and named Nicholas Akintola Ladapo.

Brief history
 Growing up was fun, we played football, I used to chase masquerades on my way from school when I was in Primary school. We learnt vocations like grass cutting, theatre arts etc in school. It was fun being a kid then, unlike now.
Nigeria was peaceful, there was no robbery , you could pack your vehicle without locking it. Stealing was a taboo in those days, if you stole, you will be taken to the front of your father's house and you will be disgraced.
I went through discipline with my dad and in those days, moral standards were maintained and you were expected to follow to the letter what your elders told you.

Education was taken very seriously, you must do well in school, go to church on Sundays and we kept a healthy life style . 

At 5years of age, Mr. Akintola Ladapo attended St. Patrick Primary School Abebi Ibadan. After which he attended Loyola college in Ibadan for WASSCE and then St. Gregory college for his HSC Lagos 1973-74 .He was a member of the School football team and food  committe66e. He gained admission to the prestigious University of Lagos in 1974.  He went to law school and  was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1979. He went for National Youth service in the then Bendel State.

I have always known I would be a lawyer. It is good for parents to know their children so that they can direct them in the right path. I avoided pressures to go to the judiciary or to become a traditional Chief because I chose  to do the full practice of law.

Work experience
Aside practicing in 1981, he became legal officer at punch Nigeria Ltd in 1981. He came back to Chief Ladosu Ladapo (SAN) & Co to practice in 1983. In 1999, he was appointed as a member of Oyo State pilgrims welfare board (Christian ) and in 2000, he was appointed a member of the Commission of Enquiry into Ethnic Disturbances in Lagos State. In 2003, he was appointed as a  Director at the Ministry of Justice Oyo State and rose to become Solicitor General in 2012. After he retired at the Ministry of Justice he came back to Chief Ladosu Ladapo (SAN) and Co to resume full private legal practice in which he is currently engaged.

He had  so many inter-ministerial appointments and headed many departments while at the Ministry of Justice. In 2005, he was appointed as a member of the Judicial Committee for the Review of Civil Procedure Rules  of Oyo State which resulted in the current one that is being used. He was appointed by the Chief judge to defend the him (Chief) Judge for the famous Ladoja case. He was a member of Speedy Administration of Criminal Justice which was headed by the Chief Judge.

Dami, I would tell you this,I like defending people, taking care of the oppressed, speaking up for those people who cannot speak for themselves and those who need justice , I hate injustice and unfairness . As a Christian I believe in the creed of Proverbs 31 vs 8-9 ‘Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy’. This guides me to follow God’s instructions and carry them out.

He refused to apply for senior advocate of Nigeria because in his opinion the rank is no longer honourable unlike in the days of his father when people that were seen to be noble were appointed rather than the method of application as we have today.

 Akintola Ladapo’s  career principles:

I focused on being a lawyer and being the best where ever I find myself.

Honesty, discipline and integrity are my principles.

Discipline from parents and school, shaped me.

I knew what I wanted, I resisted every other thing that was not what I wanted

Experience was more important to me, I was opened to learn different things in the journey. The different responsibilities at my different work opportunities have helped me.  I have all round experience from different places.

There is no way I can tell you all that has happened in Mr. Akintola’s life but I would like to mention that he was once a politician, he contested for the post of  Governorship of Oyo State. He was so disappointed at the mindset of people, he had very good intentions but they failed to see because they could not think about the future. People would rather vote for people with empty promises who simply give out money before they get to the position. He refused to give out money because he was contesting in order to serve them. He was going to work for them and deliver all his promises. They rather voted for someone who gave out money and had no second thought about them after he got the position.
My experience taught me that people don’t want honest people and people of integrity. Thankfully we have the current administration who are ready to lead the Country to peace and justice. I'm hoping and praying they succeed all the pressures from within and outside.
It is possible to do honest practice and still get to the top. The current Vice President is an example.
Let's hold hands together to make Nigeria work.
   Akintola Ladapo is one man I know who believes in living the life of truth.

Chief Ladosu Ladapo (SAN)
Details I believe lawyers should pay attention to;
My dad played a good role , I was impressed by his profession , he was a perfectionist , hard working , he had integrity , believed in God he believed law is a tool  you use to do good to others and yourself ,he was a disciplined man a role model to lawyers all over Nigeria. He brought up lawyers . He was always neat, he was a perfectionist as a lawyer, litigator, SAN, solicitor, traditional Chief and in the Catholic Church where he was appointed the knights of Saint Lumuba . He was a leader and  member of Nigerian a bar Association, Commonwealth Lawyers Association and International Bar Association, where he made his mark.

Professor Yemi Osibajo (Vice president of Nigeria)
He is a very good friend, I respect him , he is legal expert , honest, a person of integrity , erudite, disciplined, a role model as a husband, leader, lawyer. He mixes his intellect with humility and morals. If all the office holders could be like him Nigeria will be a better place to be.

Justice Amina Augie
She is currently a justice of the Supreme Court, I admire her because she is hardworking and erudite, she promotes honesty and integrity and  she has strong believe  in God. She told me ‘I will get to the supreme Court but it is God that will help me to get there’.

I'm sure you would like to look like these people or rather you  would like people to say this about you.

Mr. Akintola Ladapo’s family life
Mr. Akintola Ladapo and his wife met at the Youth service camp. Immediately  Akintola saw her, he knew she was the one. He told his friend, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo that he has found his wife. He did not waste time , he went after her immediately.

He  got married in 1981. He saw many virtues in his  wife. I promise I can attest to that, I was there when  people came to give testimonies about her during her retirement thanksgiving . I had to tell myself at that program; Damilola you still have plenty growing up to do.

Mr. Akintola  started dropping so many habits that his  parents did not know of after he met his wife.
She had an influence on me , she was a born again Christian she was praying for me. I became born again after marriage. I went to the gold smith fashioned a ring, I did not want her to go, I put an engagement ring on her finger and also had engagement party at the camp.  Prof. Osinbajo played a prominent role  he held the baskets of oranges at the engagement.

The bible says he who finds a wife has found a good thing, Mrs. Modupe Ladapo has indeed been a good thing to my Boss.

He continued the chase after youth service. He met her dad and he told him to put his request and plans in writing. She started working in Lagos at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.  After youth service he told his friend   Yemi to watch over her for him. What this taught me is that you should  go after what you want in life  and you also protect it after you have gotten it.

He went to meet her in Lagos and told her to resign and take up an appointment as a teacher to train and teach  their future children, because as a  full time private legal practitioner  he will not be able to devote enough time to see to the needs of the children.

I did not have anything when I married her , did you see that?!

We rented a place at challenge in Ibadan it was empty but we started building little by little. She earned more than I did when  we got married. That did not matter to her.

Together they raised:

1st born and 1st daughter,  Olubukola Cecelia Atuyota, she is  a PH.d hopeful in United States of America.

2nd born and 1st son Lawale Nicholas Ladapo is  an International lawyer and  he has been called to the bar in four different countries. Does that not amaze you?  I was flabbergasted. I thought I had dreams but this exceeded my own imagination. He had a first class at  University of Lagos. He attended Cambridge University and Harvard University  for his Masters Degree programs after he was called to the Bar in Nigeria. Wow! People are achieving great stuff in this life.  My mind was blown, I couldn't close my mouth when his Dad told me about him. He works at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in Abudhabi in United Arab airways.  I'm definitely going to write about him soon.

3rd born, 2nd Son Adekunola Richard Ladapo , is an Engineer and works with Amazon in United States of America. He had his Masters Degree in Engineering  at Northeastern  University, Boston , Massachusetts.

4th born, 2nd daughter Bolaji Ladapo is also a lawyer. she worked at Olaniwan Ajayi & Co. She is  currently pursuing her Masters Degree at Georgetown University, USA.

It gives me great joy to have two of my children to be lawyers, one is an Academician and one is an Engineer

Extracurricular activities

 Akintola Ladapo  lives a balanced life he  plays squash, his father introduced him and his siblings to the game when they were younger. He plays on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. He is an ardent supporter of Manchester United . Mr. Akintola  Ladapo still acts like a youth, if you see him physically you will find it difficult to guess right his age. 
I told you his life is balanced he also goes for Bible study on Tuesdays and prayer meetings on Thursdays together with  the Sunday service.

Nugget from a leader

·        Be a good  example to others.
·        Live within your means.
·        You have to read your book and be disciplined.
·        Go to court and do your case well because it's your name that will be in the law reports.
·        As a lawyer if you fail it’s by your own choice.
·        Have good mentors because that in itself is hard. Not the ones rigging, paying their way through because those are not honourable.
·        Don't ever bend because of anything, you will walk freely when you are not shady.
·        You can get things done better when you don’t draw attention to yourself , you will achieve more that way.
·        Don’t ask for anything that you don't deserve or else you will get burnt.
·        People ask for things that they don't need and it kills them. Don't use your hand to soil yourself.
·        Thank God for what he has given you and enjoy it.value your joy and peace because it is priceless.
·        Lawyers are officers in the temple of justice , you have to assist in pleading the case of your client.
·        I did a pro bono case for a judge the Accused person told me he did not do it, I believed him later on I realised that he did it, I withdrew and told him to go and confess. Lawyers should not shield wolves and those who break the law because of the money, they should rather help justice , the judge needs the lawyers counsel on both sides to be truthful.
·        To be a successful lawyer is not a hard and fast rule, hard work is key.
·        You will have challenges in your journey.
·        You can't just say you have achieved.  Achieving is continuous work.
·         Our profession needs cleansing just like our country , we can't  do it ourselves , we need God and we also need to do things we ought to do. Do what is good and preach what is good too.
·        As women help your husband build good homes, don't compare what your husband with what your father has.
·        When you do good you are doing it for yourself when you do bad you are doing it for yourself.
·        Stay clean especially because of the future, straighten your records because it may come against you soon.
·        If you grow up you will stay up , but if you jump up you will come down too soon.
·        Lawyers, whether on the ben, prosecution or defence are all officers in the temple of justice.
·        Law is a vehicle of the society, that is why our laws must be relevant.
·        Irrelevant laws should be removed.

I hope this Inspired you because  I am inspired and I just hope someone reading this will be determined to be better because all your dreams are truly achievable, you only need to work and be true to the right principles.

Contributed by;
Damilola Dawodu
LinkedIn : Damilola Dawodu