Professor Mohammed Akanbi, SAN, vice-chancellor, Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete died last night at 51.
The professor was a celebrated academic, law teacher, and legal icon. At a young age, he had risen to stardom. The academic was very passionate about academic excellence and community development.
His demise, however, came shortly after a significant milestone on his appointment as the Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University, Malete.
Birth and early life: Professor Muhammed Mustapha Olaroungbe Aremu Akanbi hails from the Ile Magaji Kemberi, Awodi, Gambari Quarters, Ilorin East, Kwara State of Nigeria.
He was born to the union of the late Hon. Justice Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi and late Hajia Munfaatu Aduke Akanbi. He attended primary and secondary schools across Kano, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, and Okigwe in Imo State.
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In 1993, he graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife with a Bachelor’s degree in law in the second class division, and attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island Lagos, where he also bagged the second class, upper division. He was called to the bar in 1995.
Between 1995 – 1996, he served the nation as a legal assistant in the legal unit of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Lagos and went on to practice as a junior in the law firms of Wole Bamgbala & Co, Lagos, Olawoyin and Olawoyin, Lagos and Ayodele, ‘Gafar & Co, Ilorin respectively.
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In 1998, he bagged a master’s degree in law (LLM) from the University of Lagos, Akoka, and went on to attend Kings College, University of London, United Kingdom for his doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in law, which he bagged in a record time of 2 years between 2004 and 2006.
He also earned a Graduate Certificate (Non-award Route) in Academic Practice (GCAP), from the same university in 2005.
The professor was married to Hajia Shakirat Folake Akanbi, who is also a lawyer by profession and they are blessed with kids.
Career as a lecturer: In August 1998, Akanbi joined the service of the University of Ilorin as a lecturer 2 in the Department of Business Law, Faculty of Law of the University.
By October 2012, he had risen through the ranks to become a professor of law in the Department of Business Law at the university. Some of the positions he held are sub-dean of the Faculty of Law, head of Business Law Department, Faculty of Law, postgraduate representative, Senate Member, dean of the Faculty of Law, deputy director; Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT), and director, School of Preliminary Studies, Fufu, University of Ilorin.
In 2014 he was also appointed an adjunct professor of law at the Kings University College, Accra, Ghana for a period of one year.
Academic works: The professor has over 60 national and International publications in reputable peer-review journals with a bias in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Arbitration Law, as well as other research works that include conflict resolution laws, corporate management law, and practice.
He was a member, of the Technical Working Committee (2013) on Independent Review of Evidence of Gross violation of the Rights to Participation in Government and Fair Trial through the Election Petition Process in Nigeria 2003 – 2011, which was commissioned by National Human Right Commission, Abuja, OSIWA and the Ford Foundation.
He was a consultant/member of the technical working committee (TWG) (2012), on research on the legal framework on citizenship and religion as it affects national integration in Nigeria, commissioned by International Development Law Organization (IDLO) Rome, Italy.
In 2016- 2017, he was the lead researcher for the work on Developing Interventions: Understanding Prosecutors’ Routine and Pretrial Practices, a research project involving 6 countries: USA, Mexico, South Africa, Ukraine, Poland, and Nigeria, which was commissioned by the Open Society Justice Initiatives, New York.
The professor served as professorial assessor, and postgraduate and external examiner to more than 20 reputable universities within and outside Nigeria. He also served on the editorial board of several reputable journals and law reports of public and private institutions.
Between 2007 and 2009, he was chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ilorin Branch, and was also a member of the Council of Legal Education in Nigeria 2007 – 2011 amongst other important positions held.
On 24th September 2018, in recognition of his contribution to the development of law and the legal profession in Nigeria, Prof Akanbi, was conferred with the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Professor Akanbi belongs to many other professional bodies, including the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Association of Law Teachers’ Society, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom and Nigeria, and the Institute for Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, Nigeria amongst others.
In 2020, the Kwara State governor approved the appointment of Professor Mohammed Mustapha Akanbi as the new vice chancellor of Kwara State University, Malete according to a press statement released by the Honourable Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science, and Technology, Hajiya Sa’adatu Modibbo Kawu.
Charity works: Professor Akanbi founded the MMGIVIT Charity Initiative, which takes care of the less privileged through redistribution of wealth programs, organizing educational activities, including poetry competitions and career counseling for secondary schools in Kwara State in 2015.
The Initiative also organizes health tests and counseling for less privileged members of society.