Bankole Olumide Aluko, SAN (“BOA”) was born on August 2,1956, at Massey Street Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria to the family of Mrs. Janet Adebisi and Dr. Timothy Mofolorunso Aluko. He was their fourth child.
BOA’s early education was at Maryhill Convent School in Ibadan. When his Common Entrance (as it was then called) results were released, he was one of the sixty students nationwide that were admitted into King’s College, Lagos in 1968.
At King’s College, his brilliance, leadership qualities and literary capabilities were revealed. He quickly became a leading member of the Literary and Debating Society, as well as the Drama Club. He was House Captain of Hyde-Johnson’s House (the biggest and the best!) and Secretary of the School Students Union (which was an elective post akin to today’s Speaker of the House). Not surprisingly, in the West African School Certificate Examinations 1972, BOA obtained a Grade 1.
His love for Sports and indeed his sporting abilities were unparalleled. He was a member of the School’s football team (KC Lions) and held down the No. 3 shirt as left full back during his time at King’s College. He was also a member of the School’s Hockey team. In 1974, BOA left King’s College after having completed his A Levels.
He gained admission to the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos (a.k.a. “The Faculty”), where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in law – LL.B. As was to be expected, he excelled in all areas of endeavour during his time at the University. This is evidenced by the various awards he received including the Federal Government of Nigeria Merit Award for overall best performance, University of Lagos (1975), and the 1977 final round of the Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition, San Francisco, USA. He graduated from the University of Lagos in 1977 with a Second Class (Upper Division) degree in law.
While pursuing these academic exploits, BOA was also very active in Sports. Again, he wore the No. 3 shirt in the University of Lagos football team and soared at various National University Games (NUGA) and West African University Games (WAUG) competitions.
In 1978, BOA was called to the Nigerian Bar after excelling in his examinations at the Nigerian Law School. As usual, he did not just pass through the institution, he also left his mark. He won the Chief Rotimi Williams Award for the best performance in Conveyancing and Legal Drafting. Thereafter, BOA attended the London School of Economics (LSE) for further studies and obtained a Master’s degree in law – LL.M.
BOA started his professional career as an Associate at the Law Firm of J. B. Majiyagbe & Co. in 1978 during his National Youth Service year in Kano. After his LL.M in 1981, he joined the law firm of Messrs. Kehinde Sofola & Co. and worked there till 1983 when he joined Chief Rotimi Williams’ Chambers and was Leading Counsel at the “Black Table” up till 1990, when he was invited to join the partnership of Ajumogobia, Okeke & Oyebode which, upon his acceptance, became Ajumogobia, Okeke, Oyebode & Aluko.
In 1993, the partnership of ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode was formed by him and his old friend Gbenga Oyebode.
During the course of his professional career, BOA became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and was a member of the International Bar Association. He was a stickler for perfection as has been attested to by all who had the privilege of associating with him. He successfully handled diverse high-profile cases at many courts in various parts of Nigeria and in several arbitral fora. These cases ranged from simple contractual disputes to complex multi-faceted commercial disputes and criminal matters. If one could use the term “a full blooded and seasoned litigator”, BOA was one and it was no surprise when, in 1997, he was bestowed with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) at the relatively young age of 41.
On the family front, BOA married Ehimwenma Abiodun Aluko (nee Eke) in 1988 and they were blessed with children. BOA’s love and concern for his wife and children were limitless.
He was the consummate gentleman, the epitome of perfection, a stickler for detail. Anything he laid his hands upon had to be done perfectly and had to be neat. These traits were evidenced in his work and in his person.
BOA was well known for his meticulous dress sense. He took great pride in his appearance and was always dressed with immaculate perfection. He also took particular pride in his spotless, well starched, and perfectly ironed winged collars for court.
His love for Sports in general (from Football, Basketball, Cricket, Hockey to Tennis) was well known. His love for the Super Eagles was sometimes incomprehensible as he would attend any match played by the team no matter the distance, be it in Africa, USA or Europe. He was also an avid fan of Arsenal FC.
Bankole loved music, ranging from Jazz to Sunny Ade to Fela. He played the flute and was known to have played at different sessions at the then Museum Kitchen and Jazz 38.
He spoke French fluently, his command of the English language was a joy to listen to or read, as has been attested to by lawyers and judges, who had the privilege of knowing him. His oratorical skills were second to none and he regularly held audiences spellbound whenever he was in court or engaged in public speaking.
Generosity, Loyalty and Empathy – BOA exhibited all these traits to a fault. Being an all-rounder, he was different things to different people, but the consistent thread was that he lived by the injunction that anything worth doing was worth doing well.
Two decades after his death, his legacy continues to resonate and everyone who knew him attests to the fact that we lost in him, one of the most brilliant of our generation.
On February 18, 2002, BOA went to be with his maker. He had run his last race.