By Stephanie Ikanone Odiete, Sapele
Members of the Nigerian Bar Association held a Valedictory Service at the High Court Sapele on Friday, 26th March, 2021 in honour of the late Barr Joseph Young Odebala whose death occurred on 4th December, 2020 after a brief illness at the Federal Medical Center, Asaba, Delta State.
Hon Commissioner for Justice, Delta State, Hon. Peter Mrakpor who was ably represented by Mrs E.J. Odogun Director of Public Prosecution, Delta State, in his speech described J.Y. Odebala as a redoubtable and highly distinguished person.
Adding that the late J.Y. Odebala was an encyclopedia of the law. His assertive versed in jurisprudence and his forensic knowledge of the law and logic stood him out and endeared him as a friend of the bench across Nigeria.
In his words; those of us who were very close to him are enamored by the fact that his case file, the facts of his cases and the application laws are stocked inside his head to the extent that often times, he does not need his case files to conduct his cases. His pleadings were brief, succinct, condensed and devoid of verbosity, prolix and repetitions.
Chief J.Y. Odebala exuded unique and inestimable qualities that are very difficult to describe and compress.
He was a historical giant and an enviable product of his generation, who stood for equity and justice to the extent that he carved out a niche that inspired discussions on the intellectual history of his amazing life,”he added.
On his part, Barr D.O Emakunu said that the turn out of legal practitioners to honour the late Joseph Young Odebala was an evidence that he was indeed a legal icon who had hitherto mentored ninety eight percent of the lawyers present for the Valedictory service.
Similarly, Barr Bank Oyavwiri said that in his thirty three years of call to bar, he has never seen any lawyer who does not take down note in court like the late J.Y. Odebala.
Speaking accordingly, he said that late Joseph Young Odebala would not take down any note during court proceedings and would come back on the next adjourned date and he would be as current as the record book.
He has a record of everything in his head and that is one thing that lawyers and even his children are unable to copy.
He was a man of the bar who stood by Juniors, assisted and gave them tips on how to go about their cases. We will miss him for his legal jokes,” he said.
Barr Fregene Jude who spoke in the same vein said that he had known J.Y. Odebala even before he became a lawyer.
He further went on to describe the late legal luminary as a man that was always there for the less privileged.
He is an icon legally and one of the best lawyers in Delta State.
He would be missed for his humanitarian service to the less privileged,” he added.
The remains of late Chief J.Y. Odebala was thereafter conveyed to his country home at Reclamation road near Okotie Eboh Grammar School, Sapele, Delta State where he was committed to mother earth.
At the burial to pay their final respect were members of his immediate family which include Chief Ejaife Odebala, Mrs Eseyemi Mabel, His Honour Obaro Ekuogbe Odebala, Ziregbe Odebala Esq, Mrs Eloho Valerie Odebala, Mrs Voke Igbuku, Barr Kessiena Aleje, Mrs Omoyode Obaro Odebala, Barr Enite Young Odebala, and others.
Present also were Lords Hon. Judges, serving and retired, Learned Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), Members of Judicial Service Commission, Revenue Court Judges, Worshipful Magistrate Chairman, Area Customary courts, Members of the Bar and others.
Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party who were present include Chief Felix Anirah, Hon Austine Ayemidejor, Hon Julius Egbedi, Hon James Augoye, Hon Fidelis Tilije, Hon Eugene Inoaghan, Mr Richard Randy Okotie amongst others.
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