Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice George Oguntade, have urged judges to remain steadfast and courageous.
They admonished lawyers to be more hardworking.
The duo spoke yesterday at the presentation and launch of a book titled:“Justice Kayode Eso: Beacon of Judicial Activism” held at Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Ikeja.
Also at the event were Dean, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Prof. Ademola Popoola; Ekiti State Chief Judge Justice Ayodeji Daramola; Ogun State Attorney General Olumide Ayeni, among others.
They described the late judge as a courageous and fearless jurist whose life was dedicated to the rule of law.
Aregbesola said Justice Eso was a quintessential legal intellectual who brought much erudition and elevated language to the service of law.
Represented by Deputy Governor Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, the governor said Justice Eso “belonged to the rarest breed of legal minds, whose life was dedicated to law”.
Aregbesola said the late jurist left giant legal landmarks and shot into national prominence when he successfully defended miners in Jos.
He listed some of Eso’s landmark judgments to include the trial of Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, who he discharged and acquitted of charges of bringing gun into the television studio of Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation.
He also mentioned his dissenting judgment on the 1979 presidential election petition between the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and former President Shehu Shagari.
Justice Oguntade, who chaired the occasion, recalled that the late jurist demonstrated that the essence of judicial function was to develop and strengthen the law.
He said Justice Eso achieved this ‘by intelligibly applying provisions of the law to scenarios not fully envisaged by drafters of the law and arriving at what many soon after referred to as locus classicus”.
He said his judgments helped him in his career, noting that he was an upright and courageous judge who fearlessly defended the truth.
Popoola, in a review, described the late Justice Eso as a crusader for human dignity and rule of law.
Popoola said the book, co-authored by Arigbabuwo Lateef and Odunlami Oluwaseun, was a befitting tribute to the enviable activities of the late jurist.