Methodist Church Nigeria has experienced the irreparable losses of two Knights of John Wesley (KJW), Sir Remi Omotoso and Sir Jadegoke Adebonajo Badejo (SAN). It was indeed two dreadful news within 24 hours between Thursday 4th and Friday 5th, June 2020.
Sir Bonajo Badejo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a Fellow Chartered Institute of Arbitration (FCIArb) was a brilliant advocate and a truly lovely husband, father and brother. His ascension occurred on Friday, 5th June, 2020. His change of address was an ‘irreparable loss’ to the entire legal community and Methodist Church Nigeria. There was far more to Sir Bonajo than his time in wig and gown. Sir Bonajo made significant contributions both in the court and Methodist Church Nigeria. He was witty, courageous and never shied away from boldly expressing himself on any subject. He was a legal giant who made a lasting contribution to the review of the Constitution, Methodist Church Nigeria. Sir Bonajo who qualified as an Accredited Lay Preacher in 1999 was the ‘Secretary, Building Committee, Olorunda Methodist Church, Aguda for 12 years. Legal Adviser, Ijebu Diocese. Legal Adviser, Conference, 2001 to 2007 and was the Secretary of the Constitution Drafting Committee which worked on the 2006 Constitution of the Church.’ Until his ascension, he was ‘the Lay President of the Archdiocese of Lagos; Chairman of the Committee on the Book of Resolutions; Chairman of MCN Properties and Investment Company Limited; Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee set up to review the 2006 Constitution of Methodist Church Nigeria; Member of Finance and Strategic Planning Committee; Member of Conference Property Development Committee; Member of Committee on Wesley Estate Ibafo/Mowe. Secretary of Torchbearer Society, Methodist Church, Ijebu-Igbo. President, Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), Methodist Church, Festival Town.’
Honoured with the rank of Knight of John Wesley (KJW) on 9th January, 2005, the church will miss his wisdom and good missional sense. Sir Bonajo provided an “ear to those who needed his wisdom, could put a smile on the face of the sullen, inspire a laugh from those engrossed in sadness, and create a conversation in even the solemnest of rooms.”
Sir Bonajo was born on Friday 6th March, 1959 at the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, when his father was Headmaster at Otapete Methodist Primary School. A native of Ijebu-Igbo, Sir Bonajo was ever grateful to God and his parents, Late Revd Jacob Adesoga Badejo and Late Mrs. Grace Folorunsho Badejo for ‘the advantage of early education and for bringing him up under strict discipline in the noblest tradition of Methodist Church. Sir Bonajo attended, ‘Methodist Primary School, Ijana, Imesi Ile, Osun State 1964 to 1967, Wesley Primary School, Igan, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State 1968 to 1969…Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State 1970 to 1972 and Methodist High School, Ilesa, Osun State 1972 to 1974. ‘
For his university education, Sir Bonajo attended the ‘University of Ile-Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) Ile-Ife, Osun State, 1975 to 1979 for his first degree, Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos 1979 to 1980 and University of Lagos, Akoka, 1981 to 1982 for B.L (HONS) and LL.M respectively … Graduated in Law with Honours at 20, earned a distinction at Master Level, and was called to the Nigerian Bar at 21. Notary Public since 1989. Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria) since 2001 and became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria) in 2014.’
Sir Bonajo worked briefly as a teacher ‘at the United Modern School, Ilesa between 1974 and 1975. He worked as Pupil Counsel at the Director Public Prosecutor’s Office, Lagos State between 1980 and 1981. Junior Counsel, and later Head of Chambers and Deputy Principal Partner at Burke & Company, Solicitors from 1982 to November 1987. He has been Practising Law under the name and style of Bonajo Badejo & Co from November 1987 to date.’ As a mark of his excellence in Legal Profession, Sir Bonajo attained the Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2010.
Sir Bonajo’s personality was larger than life, a true visionary thinker. My last encounter with him was late last year at Wesley Chapel, Lekki, Lagos. In his humble manner, he came to me with Very Rev Dr Ayodeji Richard and expressed his joy toward the mission of the Nigerian Methodists Chaplaincy, UK, with a promise to get in contact next time he visit London. Sir Bonajo represented people in court that many would feel uneasy about doing, free of charge, Pro bono, but that was his job. He did it with passion and defended the rights of his clients without hesitation. He was generous in all ways.
We will miss Sir Bonajo’s dependable competency, his enduring courtesy, his ethical professionalism, his Methodist holy yearning and ‘divine disquiet.’ Sir Bonajo, easy to like and be around, lived for Christ, the church, and his clients (3Cs). Sir Bonajo had so much more living to do. The testimony is that he did pack a lot into his 61 years before his ascension and his life exemplified that theology and philosophy. Sir Bonajo was a soft-hearted man, unfailingly kind, patient listener. He leaves an impressive legacy of dedication to Jesus Christ, Methodism, and his clients, and an enviable reputation of intelligence, honesty and integrity.
Please let us remember the wife, children (biological, spiritual and adopted), and the entire Badejo families home and abroad in our prayers. Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayers.