The long and arduous process of establishing a Faculty of Law in the University of Ibadan was started with tenacity and doggedness by Professor Tekana N. Tamuno during his tenure as Vice-Chancellor and was completed by his able successor, the late Professor S.O. Olayide.
The Faculty of the Social Science during the tenure of Professor R.K. Udo as Dean pioneered the establishment of the Law programme in the University of Ibadan. The Faculty in 1977 set up an ad-hoc Committee on the establishment of a Department of Law in the Faculty of the Social Sciences. The Committee consisted of the late Dr. W.A. Ajibola, Sub Dean (Convener). Dr. O. Oyediran, Dr. Yemi Kayode, Mr. O. Aguda, Dr. J.D. Ojo and Mrs. A. Williams, Mrs. Adeola Ayoola, the Faculty Officer, served as Secretary to the Committee.
The law programme at the University of Ibadan was established with certain aims and objectives. These were predicated on the recognition of this fact that some knowledge of law ought to form part of the education of all those who are expected to achieve any level of some dominance in any aspect of the social, political or economic life of any community. Against the above background, the specific reasons that influenced the establishment of the law programme included the following:
- The need to satisfy the yearnings of a reasonable number of Nigerians both old and young for professional courses in general and law in particular which they can pursue as a fresh career or one to improve their prospects and effectiveness on their current job in an environment of increasing dependence on legal knowledge. The University also appreciates the fact that the products of professional courses including law are better placed to help the University financially to be able to maintain its facilities and services in an atmosphere of dwindling economic fortune.
- The law programme at Ibadan was meant to contribute its quota to the production of qualified legal personnel to combat the problem of acute shortage of qualified personnel on the Bench, Ministries of Justice. Court Registries, Government Departments, the Armed Forces and the Police, Industries and the Institutions of Higher Learning as teachers and administrators. This is because contrary to the popular belief, there are not too many lawyers in the country. For example, the paucity of academic lawyers in many of our universities has led to a situation where the intake is restricted to taking subjects in only those areas where experts could be found.
- It was hoped that the Faculty of Law would assume and perform the fundamental role of a service Faculty by teaching the general principles of law to students of the Faculties in the University as well as aspects of the subject that may be appropriate for the various disciplines in order to broaden the outlook and education of the students in each faculty particularly in so far as the law affects directly their profession to build up materials on and help to develop the aspects of law relating to those various other disciplines and professions.
- The Faculty of Law was meant to establish an evening law programme taking advantage of the location of the university in the city of Ibadan, an industrial and commercial centre, where people exist in sufficiently large numbers and thus provide a good opportunity for men and women who for various reasons cannot afford full-time studies for becoming legal practitioners. In relation to this, it was hoped that the Faculty would establish courses leading to Diplomas or Certificates in various aspects of law to satisfy the yearning of yet another category of people in the private and public sectors.
- The Faculty was established to improve the quality of the Legal Unit of the university by exchange of ideas with the officers of the said unit and at the same time to render consultancy services to firm and business concerns in the immediate environment within the framework of the University Consultancy Service Unit.
The law programme at the University of Ibadan started in October 1981-when the Department of Law was established within the Faculty of the Social Sciences with an intake of 43 students. Professor M.I. Jegede, former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos was appointed a visiting Professor and he played the pioneering role assisted by a dedicated group of young and able staff. In January 1984. Professor F. Shyllon took over from Professor M.I. Jegede as the Head of the Department of Law. The Department of Law remained located in the Faculty of the Social Science for three sessions.
On 28 May, 1984, the Senate of the university approved that the Department of Law be converted into a Faculty of Law, thus satisfying the Council of Legal Education’s condition precedent for the admission of Ibadan Law Graduates to the Nigerian Law School. The Faculty of Law was formally inaugurated by the then Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Ayo Banjo at the first Board meeting of the Faculty on 1st August 1984 when Professor Folarin Shyllon was elected the Foundation Dean of the Faculty.
At the inception of the programme in the University of Ibadan, the original idea was to prepare mature students who have already taken first degree in other disciplines for meaningful and effective careers in law. The Faculty believes that a lawyer must be more than a craftsman. He must be a person of liberal tastes and interests, and of broad social awareness. It was believed that the teaching of law is totally inadequate if it is not accompanied by a background of economics, social and political science and indeed politics, sciences and technology, for law does not operate in a vacuum.
In spite of the prohibition of an all graduate admission policy, the Faculty still believes that the University Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry entrants must receive training in economics, politics, science and technology and other branches of learning in the humanities to enable them view legal issues in their broadest social, economic and political perspectives.
The Faculty was formally commissioned on 26 April, 1986 at a most successful ceremony on the campus which attracted some of the leading names in the legal profession.
The first ever inaugural lecture from the Faculty was delivered during the 1985/86 session. The topic of the lecture which was delivered by the Foundation Dean of the Faculty, Professor Folarin Shyllon was “Freedom, Justice and Due Process”. Other Inaugural Lectures have been succesfully delivered in the faculty by Prof. J.D. Ojo, Prof. J.O. Anifalaje and by Prof J.O. Yakubu.
The Law faculty in 2008 for the first time since its inception, delivered the University Annual Lecture. The lecture which was in three series was delievered by Prof. Yinka Omorogbe titled ‘Why we have no energy’.
The Faculty also commenced the publication of its journal The Ibadan University Law Review in the 1985/86 session.
In December 1987, the Late Chief T. Adeola Odutola, the Ogbeni Oja of Ijebu donated the sum of N300,000.00 (Three hundred thousand naira) to the University of Ibadan toward the erection of the befitting law library. The Adeola Odutola Law Library which is located on the premises of the Faculty of Law was commissioned by the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor A.B.O.O. Oyediran on 30th July, 1993. Most recently, in July 2006 the family of Chief Odutola gave a donation of N5 million towards the expansion of the Adeola Odutola Library. This expansion was completed in 2008.
The Faculty has since its inception been involved in the advancement of legal education through public lectures delivered by eminent jurists, conferences, seminars and publications, of its journal the Ibadan University Law Review, and other publications. The Faculty organised a National Conference on Environmental Law in 1988, hosted the National Association of Law Teachers’ Conference in 1990.
Students of the Faculty continue to excel in all walks of life. To date six alumni have been made Senior Advocate of Nigeria while two are serving Justices of High Court, and several others have distinguished themselves in their chosen areas – the corporate world, the judiciary, academia and private practice.
The Faculty was twenty five years in October 2006. It remains active and committed to the advancement of legal education, and to nurturing its students to achieve their God-ordained heights.