Thursday, 29 February, 2024



3A Ologun Agbeje Street,
Victoria Island, Lagos.



We join his family to regretfully announce the passage of our Founder and
inspiration, Professor Ben O. Nwabueze. With his death a momentous and indeed
unprecedented chapter has been closed in the evolution of Nigerian law, especially
its constitutional law. No one can now claim the privilege of consulting the oracle
in person.
Prof. Nwabueze was probably Africa’s greatest ever legal scholar and certainly the
most influential over t,e last half century or thereabouts. A polyglot intellectual and
a multi-perspective thinker, he authored over thirty major works in various areas of
law and other entirely different disciplines like history and political science. His
name is however synonymous with constitutional law, being the undoubted
dominant influence on the subject in the Commonwealth and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Anywhere complex or arcane issues of constitutional law are discussed, especially
federal constitutions in the English-speaking word, his name is never far from the
One of his acolytes, Dr. Abayomi, had occasion a decade or so ago to upbraid the
National Assembly for purportedly seeking (and paying for) some consultants on
an issue when at their beck and call was the very oracle of constitutional law
himself, Prof. Nwabueze, who had been acknowledged by the United States
Congress for his illuminating views on the United States Constitution upon which
Nigeria’s is modelled. Nwabueze in his voluminous treatises nurtured and finetuned the notion of limited government as an article of faith; the bedrock of
constitutional order and rule of law.

Prof. Ben O. Nwabueze, SAN, NMON, Founder & Emeritus Director
Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, FCIArb; Fellow/Consultant; Chijioke Okoli, SAN; Ag. Director/Co-ordinator

His oracular authority on constitutional law is all the more remarkable imbued as it
is with praxis. Without dabbling into partisan politics, he was involved as much as
probably any Nigerian, dead or alive, in the specifics of constitution making and the
strategic objective of engineering Nigeria into a more developed and just society.
The text of the Kenyan Constitution was also very much his handiwork. He was at
once a visionary and a missionary, deploying his prodigious intellect in a tireless
and relentless advocacy for good government and a better Nigeria as well as Africa
as a whole. And to give even more practical effect to his intellectual activism Prof.
Nwabueze helped form ‘The Patriots’, a group of elders purposing to redirect
Nigeria on the right path. He took over the group’s leadership on the death of his
good friend the legendary Chief Rotimi Williams. Given the present scenario of
constitutional crises in the country culminating in the self-evident need for
restructuring of the Nigerian geo-political space, what Prof. Nwabueze represents
in our current national discourse and debates assumes immeasurable importance.
He obtained from the University of London in 1978 the very rare accolade of LL.D
by merit, on the basis of his published works; the second African to be so honoured
after Professor Taslim Elias. A National Merit Award winner, Nwabueze was the
first academic to be elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Whilst we
at the Center would greatly feel his absence henceforth, we shall redouble our effort
in sustaining his legacy of the ethos of rigour, honesty and pursuit of the holy grail
of the rule of law and overall development of our society. Moreover,
notwithstanding the absence there can be no doubt that Nwabueze remains
immortal. His status as an international intellectual lodestar and moral compass for
our navigation towards a better country-as etched on the pages of his over thirty
major books and references in major judicial decisions in different countries of the
would- would forever advocate powerfully for his name against oblivion.
SGN: Chijioke Okoli, SAN,

Co-ordinator, Ben Nwabueze Center for Constitutional Studies
& Advancement of Rule of Law.
Prof. Ben O. Nwabueze, SAN, NMON, Founder & Emeritus Director
Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, FCIArb; Fellow/Consultant; Chijioke Okoli, SAN; Ag. Director/Co-ordinator



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