Ambassador Jaiyeola Aduke Alakija OFR -A Toast and Tribute
To the last of the Mohegans Jaiyeola Aduke Alakija (hereinafter referred to as “Aduke”) 29th March 1921 - 27th March 2016. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth but changed it to a brilliant platinum spoon which will forever shine. Born in Lagos to Adeyemo Alakija (Late Sir Adeyemo Alakija KBE) a brilliant and reputable lawyer.
Aduke was sent to England at barely the age of 9 years.
Qualified at the London School of Economics (University of London) with a Diploma in Social Science, and decided to follow her father’s steps into the Legal Profession, she qualified as a Barrister at Law of the Honourable Society of Middle Temple, London in 1952.
On return to Lagos she worked as a Welfare Officer in the Juvenile Court of the Lagos State Judiciary and later practised in the Chambers of Late J.I.C Taylor. She moved to Commercial Law, practice but soon after returned to Social Service work without losing her connection with the Legal Profession and Service to the community. She held the following posts:First Woman Social Welfare Officer in Nigeria.
First Woman Executive Secretary Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
First Woman Honorary Secretary, Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry & Mines of Nigeria.
First Nigerian Assistant to the General Manager, Mobil Oil Nigeria Ltd in charge of Legal and Public Relations Department. Director in Mobil Oil Nigeria Ltd, Mobil Exploration Inc., Allen & Elliot, E. Osborne (Nigeria) Ltd and Unity Life & Fire Insurance Co. Ltd.
Professional and Social Activities One of the Founders and Secretary of New Era College for Girls, Lagos.
Trustee, and Life President of Federal Society for the Blind.
Trustee and Council Member Corona School Trusts Council for over 50 years till 2011.
Member and Trustee of Soroptimist International which she introduced to Nigerian Women.
Trustee and Council Member of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF).
Life Member, (President – 1975 – 1977) of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) which she introduced to Nigeria. Hon Life President of F.I.D.A International.
Founder Member and Trustee of International Women’s Society (IWS) and Legal Adviser of National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) for five years.
Trustee and Member of Continuing Legal Education Association of Nigeria (CLEAN).
Member of Public Awareness Committee of Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) until 2011.
Other Contributions in the service of the Nation
Employer Delegate to African Regional Conference of Incorporation Labour Organisation (I.L.O) and Chairman of Employer Group 1960.
Chairman of Employer Delegate to the Geneva Incorporation Labour Organisation (I.L.O) General Meeting 1961.
Delegate to the International Conference Vassar College USA, 1961.
Nigerian Delegate to the United Nations 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1965.
Nigerian Delegate, Speaker and Chair of Sessions of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Conferences from 1966 to 1992.
Nigerian Ambassador to Sweden with concurrent accreditation to Norway, Finland and Denmark from 1984 to 1988.
Honours and Awards Degree of Doctor of Laws (PhD) Honoris Causa, Columbia University, USA, 1964.
Nigerian National Honour of OFR (Officer of the Federal Republic, 2005).
THISDAY Woman of Distinction Award, 2015
Ambassador Aduke Alakija was a woman of strong character who grew old gracefully and wisely. Her trademark was to correct bad behavior, rudeness and unjustified ignorance on the spot. She was very strict but humane and generous.
She has directly and indirectly mentored many prominent Nigerian professionals and businessmen, who today call her “Auntie Aduke”.
She was an inspiration to many lawyers (male and female).
Artists - sponsored Bruce Onabrakpaya solo exhibitions in 1964. - Encouraged David Dale. Writers, Authors and poets in the world of Professor J.P. Clark.
Conservationist - Her last public outing was at the Annual Dinner/Dance of NCF in November 2015. Above all she loved Music and Dancing, Good Food and Wine.
CHEERS, TO OUR ABSENT FRIEND
Aduke Alakija with Mrs. Gandhi and Dr. Awoliyi to her left in the 50s
Aduke Alakija The Young Barrister
Ambassador Alakija at the 17th THISDAY Lifetime Achievement Award, 2012