Chief Rafiu Oyeyemi Balogun (Baloo): The Profile of an Excellent Bar Leader
Double Chief Rafiu Oyeyemi Balogun popularly known as Chief Baloo is a reputable legal practitioner who has participated in many land mark cases and contributed his quota to the development of Legal Jurisprudence in Nigeria.
A celebrated social commentator and a vibrant human rights activist, Chief Rafiu Balogun has doggedly fought against oppression, injustice and inequality in the society.
Trailed by dazzling academic credentials, enviable career progression and a track record of achievements, he is the current National Legal Adviser of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Chief Rafiu Oyeyemi Balogun was born over four decades ago. Chief Balogun started his educational career from the then Local School Management Board (L.S.M.B.) Igosun in 1976 where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1982.
He attended Igosun High School Igosun and thereafter he proceeded to Government Secondary School Ipee where he obtained his West African Examinations Certificate in 1987/1988 Academic Session.
Chief Balogun joined the Moribund Zamfara Textile Industry in Gusau, Zamfara State in 1989 and left the company in 1991 in pursuit of his academic career as his quest for learning is/was stupendous. He was a very active member of the Textile workers Union during his stay at the Industry. He was thereafter employed as a Clerical Officer in the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in the Department of Administration. He was also a strong member of the Non Academic Union of University (NASU).
His love for service to humanity and activism made him to change from Science subjects to Arts and he sat for GCE 0’level in 1992 in Arts subjects to enable him study either Mass Communication or Law; he strongly believed that studying any related course in Humanity or Social Science will avail him the opportunity to fight oppression in the Society.
He was admitted to the Faculty of Law University of Ilorin in 1993. He belonged to the pioneering set of the students in the Faculty of Law in 1993/1994 Academic Session.
Because of his antecedent as a textile activist, and member of NASU, he was instrumental to the formation of the Law Students’ Society in the Faculty in 1995 and he became the first Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the society in 1996.
He was elected as the 2nd President of the Law Students’ Society in the year 1997.
During his tenure as the President of the Law Students’ Society in Faculty of law University of Ilorin, he recorded numerous achievements such as:
i. the publication of the Jurist magazine
ii. Establishment of the Four Chambers in the Faculty existing till today and financed their take off
iii. Started the Moot Court Trials in the Faculty of Law being presided over by a High Court Judge
iv. Formation of the press Club in the Faculty and
v. Securing the Secretariat for the Law Society in the faculty.
He was a member of Student Academic Council of the University of Ilorin between 1997 – 1998.
He bagged his Bachelor of Law (LL.B) in the year 1999, no thanks to protracted ASUU strike.
He proceeded to Nigerian Law School Bwarri ABUJA in 1999 and completed the one year Programme in the year 2000. However, he was called to the Bar in January 2001.
Chief R.O. Balogun started his legal practice with that erudite and highly revered Senior Advocate of Nigerian, a legal icon, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali; SAN as a Youth Corps member in year 2001 and after the completion of his NYSC programme, he was retained by the chambers and he had his tutelage in the reputable Law Office.
Chief R.O. Balogun after his tutelage for about 7 years, he established his Chambers in February, 2007 by name R.O Balogun & Co.(Crystal Chambers) with the Head Office situated along Taiwo Road Ilorin.
He has junior Lawyers in his chambers and without sounding immodest, R. O. Balogun is a good advocate whose flair for litigation is very high.
ACTIVITIES WITH THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
MEMEBERSHIP OF THE VARIOUS COMMITTEES OF THE NBA
There is no gainsaying the fact that Chief R.O. Balogun is a Bar man per excellence, he served in various Committees of the Nigerian Bar Association Both at the local and national level. For Example:
1. Member of the Legislative Advocacy working group
2. Member of Human Rights Commission
3. Secretary, Dinner Committee
4. Secretary Law Week Committee
5. Member Retreat Committee
6. Member LOC NEC held Meeting in Ilorin
7. Secretary Fund raising Committee for the completion of the NBA Ilorin Bar Centre.
ELECTIVE POSITIONS HELD AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL OF THE NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (NBA)
Chief R.O. Balogun has been a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Nigerian Bar Association since 2009 till date. He is the current National Legal Adviser of the Association.
ELECTIVE POSITIONS HELD AT BRANCH LEVEL OF NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
Chief R. O. Balogun was the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association Ilorin Branch between 2009 – 2011, he served creditably well with numerous achievements which among others include:
i. Equipping the NBA Ilorin library with Law Reports he personally donated and also sourced from the publishers of SC Law Report and ALL FWLR; Layi Babatunde SAN and Taiwo Kupolati Esq respectively.
ii. Donation of split Air Condition to the NBA Ilorin Library.
iii. Donation of Computer with E Law Report into the NBA Ilorin Secretariat.
iv. Donation of wireless internet service to NBA Ilorin Secretariat and payment of the monthly subscription from his purse.
v. Facilitate the purchase of six cars to the young lawyers of Ilorin Branch from the money donated by Chief Wole Olanipekun to the Branch.
Chief Balogun was elected the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Ilorin Branch, immediately after his tenure as the Secretary. He emerged in the election that was keenly contested with large number of contestants ever recorded in the annals of Ilorin Bar. His success at the poll is unprecedented, as no one has moved from the Secretary position to the Chairman in succession in the history of Ilorin Bar. The success was a testimony to the fact that Baloo is a man of the people and his leadership qualities are worthy of emulation and quite legendary. He served between 2011- 2013. The following modest achievements among others were recorded during his tenure:
1. UNITY OF THE BAR
There is no disputing the fact that his administration united the Bar greatly; the elders feel the deserving sense of belonging and attended Bar meetings in large numbers.
2. COUNCIL OF ELDERS
The Council of Elders ably led by the doyen of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Aliyu Salman, SAN was constituted during his tenure.
3. LAPTOP/IPAD/GALAXY NOTE FOR LAWYERS
Considering the importance of information technology and the use of computer in this legal profession, Balogun Administration introduced Yusuf Ali SAN Laptop Revolving loan Scheme for lawyers in Ilorin Branch. Mallam Yusuf Ali, SAN sponsored the Scheme with a donation of the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira only).
4. NBA CO-OPERATIVE (NON INTEREST)
The NBA Co-operative was duly registered and taking off, members are benefitting immensely from it.
5. WELFARE POLICY/WELFARE ACCOUNT
The welfare of members of our great Bar, the Old and the Young occupied a pride of place in his heart. And to this end, he introduced a Welfare Account specifically designed to take care of the needs of members of NBA in need.
6. NBA HOUSE/RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BAR CENTRE
It was during his tenure that NBA House witnessed tremendous transformation which he initiated and to which he personally donated the sum of N1,000,000.00(One Million Naira for the project and sourced for the Money from senior members of the Bar. The current Administration of Alhaji Manzuma Issa has almost completed the project.
7. NEW BUS FOR THE BRANCH
Chief Balogun secured for NBA from the State Government a 14 seater Bus during his tenure.
8. BOOK IN HONOUR OF HON. JUSTICE ISSA AYO SALAMI
His Administration published a Book in Honour of Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami (OFR) (PCA) in an occasion which turned out to be a huge success.
9. FREE INTERNET SERVICES AT THE BAR CENTER
Chief Balogun provided free internet service at the NBA Bar Center in Ilorin throughout his duration as the Secretary and continues when he was elected as the Chairman without taking money from the purse of the Association for installation and monthly subscriptions.
10. The Bar under his watch was alive to its responsibility as a social crusader and defender of the Rule of Law. He was very vocal and will stop at nothing to criticize Governments at all levels for bad policies. The NUJ noticed this quality and Chief Rafiu Balogun(BALOO) was honoured recently with AN ADVOCATE OF GOOD GOVERNANCE AWARD by Kwara Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ).
He attended Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife for his Masters of Law programme (LL.M) which he bagged in the year 2006.
He is currently pursuing his M.Phil/PHD programme in the same Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife.
Chief Balogun is married and blessed with Children.
HONORS AND AWARDS
Double Chief Rafiu Oyeyemi Balogun had received numerous awards, inter alia are:
1. Distinguished Leadership in National Development Gold Award- by Corporate &Media Africa Communications Limited 2012
2. Merit Award by Legal Aid Clinic kwara State Chapter 2013.
3. Award of Excellence by Human Rights Chamber, Faculty of Law University of Ilorin 2011
4. Distinguished Service to Humanity Award by National Association of Kwara State Students (NAKSS) 2013.
5. Award of Excellence Performance by Child’s Dream Initiative 2015
6. International Africa Achievers Merit Award Accra Ghana 2012 .
7. Distinguished Leadership Award by Justice Chambers Faculty of Law University of Ilorin 2012
8. Award of Excellence as Champion of Advocate of the Masses C.A.M.- by Human Right Chamber Faculty of Law University of Ilorin 2014
9. Outstanding Service Award as Secretary NBA Ilorin 2011
10. Distinguished Service to Humanity Award 2013 by NAKKS.
11. Award of Excellence by Law Students’ Association CAIS 2012
12. EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP AWARD by Law Society Open University 2013
13. Merit Award for meritorious service as Chairman NBA Ilorin 2013.
14. Merit Award for promoting management Excellence in Nigeria by Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) Kwara State Branch 2013.
15. Award of Excellence in recognition of outstanding Contribution to Humanitarian Service by National Association of Polytechnic Students – 2014
16. Merit Award by GSS Ipee Old Students 2012
17. Meritorious Service Award by Oyun Students Association Unilorin Chapter- 2011
18. Award of Excellence and Integrity by Nigeria Vogue Int’l Magazine/ Journalism Centre 2012
19. Award of Excellence by National Congress of Nigeria Students (NACONS) 2014.
20. Award of Excellence by Law Students’ Society University of Ilorin 2011.
21. Award for Excellence by Legal Aid Community Development Service NYSC Ado Ekiti 2017.
22. An Advocate Of Good Governance AWARD by Kwara Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ). December, 2017.
INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED MEDIATORS AND CONCILIATORS (ICMC)
Chief R.O. Balogun is an Associate of the revered Institute.
He was unanimously elected as the 1st Vice President of Igosun Descendant Progressive Union in December, 2016 and now the Ag. President of the Union.
Chief Balogun has two Chieftaincy titles:
1. Otun Bamofin of Agbamu land in Kwara State.
2. Atayese of Orun- Ekiti in Ekiti State.