Memorial Book Launch Of Sasegbon’s Judicial Dictionary Of Nigerian Law (SJD) In Honour Of Deji Sasegbon ESQ., SAN
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE MEMORIAL/POSTHUMOUS BOOK LAUNCH OF SASEGBON’S JUDICIAL DICTIONARY OF NIGERIAN LAW (SJD) IN HONOUR OF DEJI SASEGBON ESQ., SAN, HELD ON 14th OF NOVEMBER 2019, AT THE MUSON CENTER, ONIKAN, LAGOS
It is a great honour to be here today to celebrate along with you, friends and family the memories, work and life of a great legal icon, an accomplished author, my friend and brother-silk Deji Sasegbon, SAN.
As with many of here, Deji and I had shared a friendship and I must say that, it was not in any way affected by the vast difference in our heights. Deji was one of the tallest lawyers of our time (six foot seven), I believe. Well, let’s just say I was still growing at the time. The times we shared were filled with laughter but also with deep reflections on the great challenges that confronted and still confront our profession and our nation.
His passion was legal publications and he lived and breathed it. Deji’s publications of the Nigeria Supreme Court Cases (NSCC), Sasegbon Encyclopedia of Nigerian Laws, Company and Allied Matters Act, Law and Practice and so many others. Of course we have heard of Sasegbon Elections Petition et cetera, are not just reliable legal tools for practitioners and scholars alike, they contain on every page painstaking commitment, rigorous thinking and an incredible amount of physical and mental hard work. I know this, because I was involved from the very beginning of Deji’s journey to legal publication.
Very earlier in the 80’s, when he conceived of the idea of the Nigerian Supreme Court Cases. He shared the vision with a few of us, his friends. He wanted to be the first to publish a comprehensive report of all Nigerian Supreme Court decisions. Eventually, Chief Gani Fawehimmi, SAN of blessed memory, got into that same race with him. So, it was really a race between Deji and Chief Fawehimmi, who would be the first to publish his comprehensive compendium of all the Nigeria Supreme Court cases.
He shared the vision with such passion, and you simply couldn’t resist agreeing to work on the project with him. I saw him put in everything he had into it, we all had no choice. We worked with him night and day at the office on Ikorodu road. We worked over night regularly. Deji won that the race, as he won so many others. And the NSCC became the first comprehensive report of all Nigerian Supreme Court cases.
And that is the way he worked on all his publications- so much diligence, so much dedication. As Editor-in-Chief of DSC Publishers Limited, Deji dedicated his life to the documentation of judicial precedents – an indelible legacy in the Nigerian legal system. I believe that generations unborn, from within and outside Nigeria, would benefit from it. His contributions to online reporting have brought about ease, speed and accuracy in an unprecedented manner. As of 1983, very few people had seen computers. But Deji had a whole room full of computers, huge work stations. I mean those things were giant thing at the time, working with them was possibly as difficult as working manually, but they produced the results. So, the very early use of technology to carry out publications of any kind, Deji again was one of the pioneers of that.
What better way to celebrate such an icon in legal scholarship than by bringing to life yet another of his contributions to Nigerian legal jurisprudence? Anyone who has had an opportunity to take a look at the Judicial Dictionary Law of the Nigerian Law, will see definitions of over 150,000 terms as rendered by our Supreme Court and the articulate take of the author on the terms. A lot of that will attest to the nature and character of Deji’s work. He had always epitomized quality and high standards. I believe this dictionary is not just an indispensable tool for the legal profession, and legal scholarship, but will also provide so many new ways of looking at some of the old terms and terminologies that we come across regularly.
I believe that this publication also is one that takes us through the distinctions, the terms, their effects and application in practice. The truth is that, Deji has always been so thorough and never was satisfied with anything that just was not the best. So, for everyone, who has worked with him, I mean many of them grew gray very quickly.
Oge, I commend and congratulate you and your team for this thoughtful venture. The world will forever remain grateful to you and your family, for selflessly sharing Deji with the rest of us; for your family’s contribution to the shaping and growth of the legal jurisprudence.
As many of the testimonies today attest, this extra-ordinary calm, warm, kind and humble human being, who departed at the unripe age of 63, had positively touched the lives of so many. Who could forget the generous discounts and flexible payment plans offered by Deji to young lawyers wishing to purchase his law reports; or his secret giving to the needy? His, was a life of compassion, and his immortality is assured not only in his contributions to the legal profession, but also in the hearts of many who fondly remember his humaneness and generosity.
Deji Sasegbon’s legacy of hard work, innovation in legal publishing lives on. What gladdens my heart the most is that he found Christ before he died. So, we are confident that he now lives in peace, and joy eternally!
God bless you Oge.
Thank you very much