Corporate Lawyer and captain of industry, Chief Christopher Oladipo Ogunbajo, is dead.
He was aged 99.The late Ogunbanjo was born in 1923 into the family of the Rev. Canon Ajayi Ogunbanjo and Mama Christianah Towobola Ogunbanjo in Ijebu Ode. He would have been 100 years old in December.
Reputed for promoting and nurturing industrial ventures, the late captain of industry, in the late 1960s, was among the group of businessmen who supported local equity participation in foreign firms operating in Nigeria. He was an early advocate of domiciliary accounts in Nigeria, which later came to existence through the promulgation of the Foreign Currency Decree 18 of 1985.
He began his education at St Phillips Primary School, Aiyetoro, Ile-Ife before proceeding to Oduduwa College, Ife for his secondary education in 1936. He later attended Igbobi College, where he passed his Cambridge School Certificate Examination.
He obtained his Law degree from the University of London in 1949 and was called to the Bar in Lincoln’s Inn in 1950. That same year, he became a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Ogunbajo worked briefly at the Law firm of HO Davies before establishing his own private practice. His firm added two more partners, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Michael Odesanya in 1952 to become Samuel, Chris and Michael Solicitors. The partnership was however dissolved in 1960 and his practice became Chris Ogunbanjo & Co., specializing in corporate law.
Chief Ogunbanjo was one of the pioneer members of the American Chamber of Commerce established in 1960 and became the president of the Chamber in 1968, serving in that capacity till 1970.
Earlier in 1961, Chief Ogunbanjo joined Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and became honourary Life Vice-President of the Chamber in 1979. He also served as chairman of the Centenary Foundation of the Chamber, a charity by the Chamber to raise money for the worthy cause of promoting development of Commerce and Industry in Nigeria.
The late Chief Ogunbanjo was also honourary Life Vice President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and life Patron and merit Awardee of the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce and Industry which he helped to establish in 1977.
He was a significant shareholder in various Nigerian companies such as West African Batteries, Metal Box Toyo, Union Securities, 3M Nigeria, ABB Nigeria, Roche Nigeria and Chemical and Allied Products Ltd.Ogunbanjo also served Nigeria in various other public capacities, which include: the first Chairman of the Nigerian Council for Management Education and Training; first Chairman of the governing body of the Centre for Management Development; Chairman of the Study Group on Industrial Policy set up by the Federal Government to examine industrial development in Nigeria in 1984 and Chairman of the Consultative Assembly on the Review of Company Law in Nigeria.
He held the traditional titles of Asiwaju Ijebu-Imushin; Larinja of Egbaland; Baba Ijo, Church of Epiphany, Eruwon, Ijebu Ode; Bagbimo of Ilugun, Abeokuta; Olotu of Ijebuland.He was conferred with the award of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 1982 and Commander of the Niger (CON) in 2001.Chief Ogunbajo married to Hilda Ladipo in 1953. His wife Hilda was editor of AMBER, a women’s lifestyle magazine established in the 1960s.