WILLIAMS, Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade (Late)

Born 16 December 1920
in

Lagos

WILLIAMS

Frederick

Rotimi Alade
Timi The Law by(SIt aibu Hussein). Very few men become legends in their life time. Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams, 'FRA or 'Timi the law' is one of such rare gems. An astute legal luminary and a gift to the law profession, this doyen of the Nigerian Bar who took to his father's tradeis perhaps the oldest actively practising attorney inthecountry. His over five decades of in the country. He;s over five decades of meritorious service to his chosen vocation has remained indefatigable; and like theproverbial rock of Gibraltar, he stands like a colossus on the pedestal of law in Nigeria, Chief Williams was born on 16 December 1920, to the respected Mr. Thomas Ekundayo Williams, also a lawyer, and Mrs. Lande Williams. This master ofthe arts ofcross-examination and revered legal luminary is highly skilled in sourcing evidences and adhering to court proceedings. He is an Egbaman, a native of Abeokuta in Ogun State of Nigeria. He is the father of four sons, all constitutional lawyers. He himself was born into afamily of four sons - one became the first Nigerian chartered accountant,the other a diplomat, and the last a clergy. 'Timi the law' had his early education between 1927 and 1938 at Baptist Academy,Methodist Olowogbowo Primary School and CMS grammar School, all in Lagos. He later studied at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, England between 1939 and 1942,graduating with a Bachelors of Arts(Hons). He proceeded to the hallowed Grays Inn of London, where he finished in 1943 as a Barrister at law. He was called to the English Bar the same year and since then, he has distinguished himselfwith en viable credentials and a brilliant performance in the lawprofession.FRAwas the firstNigerianto becon ferred with the Queens counsel (QC) title, barely ten years after he was called to the Bar. He was similarly honoured with the SeniorAdvocate ofNigeria (SAN) in 1975. Shortly after his return to Nigeria from Britain, 'Timi the law' enrolled as a legal practitioner at the Supreme Court and three years later, he obtained a Master of Arts degree in law from his Alma Mater University of Cambridge. It was during this period that he teamed up with two other legal giants, the late Chief Bode Thomas and ChiefRemi Fani Kayode to set up the famed, but now defunct, law firm: Thomas, Williams and Kayode. The year 1958 marked a turning point in FRA'scareer.He madea grandentry in to politics and was appointed the first Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Western Region. It was while on this beat that he got the appellation'the law' from the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who admired FRA's assiduity. He served as a member of the Nigerian Council of Legal Education where he advocated that law students should be allowed to use law books in solving examination questions. His appointment into that council coincided with his election as first President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). He served in that capacity fortenyears (1958-68). Heonce served as legal counsellor to the defunct Action Group (AG) under the late sage,Chief Awolowo. He was at various times the acting Premier of the Western Region, and the secretary of the defunct Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM). He also served as the pioneer chair man of the Lagos Town Council in the 40's. He was the first chairman of the National Universities Commission (NUC) between 1968 and 1973; chairman of the council of the University of Ife, Ile-Ife(1962-64); and chairman of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1973-75). Chief F.R.A. Williams has been honoured by many institutions of higher learning, the federal government and other bodies, in recognition of his service to the nation and humanity. Among the numerous accolades that attest to the life and service of this legal luminary are the conferment in 1960 of the titles Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), and Commander ofthe Federal Republic (CFR) \t\ 1978. He received a National Merit Award (for non accountants) from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, (ICAN) in 1990;two honourary degrees from the Universities of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University; and the fyst distinguished law award of the Mohammed Bello endowment injuris prudence.He is the founder and chairman of United Investment Limited. He also sits on the board of several corporate concerns. He was, early in life,crowned the Apesin of Itoko by the then Alake of Egba land, the late Oba Ladapo Ademola. As part of his contribution to the evolution of the body oflaws to govern the nation, the titled Chief served as a member of the Western Nigeria committee for new regional legislation in 1954. He was appointed member of the London pre-independence constitutional talks, and member of the 1978 Constituent Assembly. He was later appointed chairman ofthe 1979 Constitution Drafting Committee. In fact, Chief Williams, who is a member of the British Institute of Comparative Law, has contributed meaning fully to the formation of nearly all the country's constitutions. His career as a successful lawyer has not been without criticism. Some of the cases he had handled were as celebrated as they were controversial. The constitutional lawyer, whose brilliance places him among the first, holds the record of having the unequalled ability to take different positions in cases involving the same persons. For instance, 'FRA' once represented about nine supreme court judges in 1994 in pressing for 450 million naira as damages against Concord Press Limited, owned by the millionaire publisher Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO). As the suit dragged on, 'Timi the law' was reportedly sought out by Abiola's family to handle the treason charges against their breadwinner and the acclaimed winner ofthe June 12 presidential election. The'out of court' legal tussle that ensued between FRA and Chief G.O.K. Ajayi, another bright legal luminary over the authority of representation on that legal matter formed another chapter in the chronicles of law prac tice and procedure in Nigeria. Recently, 'Timi the law' faced the people's court for accepting to hold brief for the convicted erstwhile speaker ofthe Federal House of Representative, Alhaji Salisu Buhari. Though most legal practitioners argued in favour of FRA, this argument generated a lot of debate in the media. At 80, FRA still appears in court to personally argue and defend cases on behalf of his clients. He is known for his short temper, especially if interrupted in the process of presenting his arguments. Standing at over six feet and with a bulky frame, 'Timi the law' has the distinction of being the only lawyer in the country who addresses the court without standing. The Egba legal giant is an accomplished, lucid, enormously effective advocate who remains a winner any day and whose reputation is as intimidating as his towering height and frame. It is a common saying in legal circles that the mere mention of FRA's name alone can win cases. That says something about this legendary lawyer who remains the undisputed doyen of the bar, the best constitutional lawyer in Nigeria, and one of the best legal minds of our time.
Gender: Male
Name of Spouse
Father's Name
Mother's Name
Profession Lawyer/Administrator
Working Experience member of the Action Group , member of the Nigerian Youth Movement. , Minister for local government and Justice. , President of the Nigerian Bar Association , Chairman, Lagos Town Council , Western Region's Attorney General, , Western Region's Attorney General,
Methodist Ologbowo School.. C.M.S Grammar School, Lagos.. Gray's Inn, London..
N/A

Qhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Rotimi_Williamsueens counsel
first Nigerian to be an attorney general
first Nigerian to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria
first Nigerian solicitor to the Supreme Court of Nigeria

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Rotimi_Williams

26 March 2005
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