By Habeeb Adeniji
Though coming almost belatedly, I find it extremely expedient to share with fellow Nigerians, especially Lagosians what was supposed to be a birthday tribute to a brilliant personage I admire a lot but which I have now redirected after I laid my hand on a copy of Dr Muiz Adeyemi Banire’s profile. Though Banire clocked 47 last October when I wasn’t in the country, I find it
irresistible to share with others my peep into his life which reveals a lot in such a short period.
After almost 26 years in politics, Dr Banire, does still not talk, act or relate like a conventional politician. Fearlessly outspoken and downright forthright to the discomfort of an average professional politician, he would fit in perfectly into the “professional-in-politics” cocoon. Maybe because he has been a professional all his adult life as a lawyer, teacher, advocate and solicitor and even as a politician.
With a Ph.D in Law, with a thriving legal practice and fulfilling teaching engagements, many may be wondering what “is this fellow looking for among hyena”. It must be his love for the people which saw him, manning two different people-based ministries under the leadership of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu and another such ministry under incumbent Governor Babatunde Fashola. About three years after he opted out of public service, his enduring imprints are everywhere in the Ministries of Environment, Transportation and Special Duties.
Arguably, no Commissioner affected Lagosians so positively since this republic debuted. Every street in Lagos today has a touch of Banire, from traffic light to well thought-out and laid-out canals, from well-planned environmental beautification to the establishment of LASTMA, BRT to strategically-sited pedestrian bridges, it is little wonder that without him declaring an ambition to be governor, his name has kept coming up as a front-runner at every gubernatorial discourse.
You wonder if his choice of areas of specialization as a lawyer is not deliberate. Everything revolves around people and their needs; Land Law, Equity and Trusts, Secured Credit Transactions, Planning and Compulsory Acquisition.
To back this passion up, he has diverse publications in learned journals and published books as well as teaching experience in the Department of Private and Property Law, University of Lagos since 1991.
His academic journey appears deliberately tailored at achieving his passion of service to the people. Starting from his Ph.D (Property Law), University of Lagos, 2005 with Thesis entitled: Evolving Alternative Legal Framework for Land Management in Nigeria, LL.M (Master Of Laws) Degree, University of Lagos, 1990-1991 in Secured Credit Transactions; Jurisprudence And Legal Theory; Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure; Sentencing And Treatment Of Offenders, B.L. (Barrister -At – Law) The Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos. 1988-1989, L.L.B. (Hons) Bachelor of Laws University Of Ilorin (1984-1986) and University Of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos (1986-1988). Lower Six (A level) 1983-1984 Federal School Of Arts & Science, Victoria Island, Lagos, West African School Certificate (WASC) (1976-1983) 1979-1983 Archbishop Aggey Memorial Secondary School, Mushin, Lagos, General Certificate Of Education (GCE Ordinary Level) 1983 First School Leaving Certificate 1970-1972 Lousa Soares Nursery School, Mushin, Lagos and St. Jude’s Primary School, Mushin, Lagos. (1972-1977) the future of service has been long secured.
Home-grown all the way and Lagosian through and through, nothing would be hyperbolic in calling Banire “Mr. Lagos” with the requisite international clout. There are certain politicians who make attempts at intellectualism which comes out ludicrous, for Banire, intellectualism oozes out of his deliberate trivial.
Thought-provoking reasoning has become a second nature, not after numerous international and local seminars presenting papers on issues affecting humanity, with critical acclaim as well as publications that could simply earn him a professorship soon.
Here are some conferences attended; International Bar Association Conferences 1998-Till Date, Nigerian Law Teachers Association’s Conference 1992-Till Date, The 27th Study Session of the International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France, July 1996, The Seminars of International Centre for Teaching Human Rights Strasbourg, France, July 1996 and The First Ever 3-Month Short Course in International Human Rights Law, The University Of Nottingham, Nottingham, U.K. Running through Banire’s publications are like a journey, confirming the saying that a teacher is a breathing library.
A trial will confirm this assertion; Bibliographical Data, The Nigerian Law Of Trusts Excel Publications Services, Lagos, February 2002, The Blue Book: Practical Approach To The High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004, Second Edition, 2012 Third Edition, Muiz Banire Ph.D, Ajibola Basiru and Kunle Adegoke & Ecowatch Publications (Nig.) Ltd., Lagos, 2008, The Blue book law Report: A Compilation of cases on Lagos State Rules of Practice and Procedure. Citation  BLR (Pt. 1) Muiz Banire Ph.D, Ajibola Basiru and Kunle Adegoke. Published by M. A. Banire & Associates, Land Management in Nigeria: Towards a New Legal Framework, Ecowatch Publications, 2005, The Limit Of Consent Provisions: A Review Of Savannah Bank Ltd. V. Ajilo. The Lawyer, Vol. 18, 1988, published by the Law Society, University of Lagos, p. 18. Customary Tenancy and the Land Use Act: A Review, Fundamental Legal Issues in Nigeria: Essays in Honour of Justice Andrews Obaseki, published by the Nigerian Law Research and Economic Development Projects, 1995. Pp.230 – 243, Juxtaposition of the Land Use Act and the Urban & Regional Planning Decree, 1992: A Critique LASU Law Journal. Vol. 1v 1994/97 Pp. 68-81, Critical Appraisal of the Democratic Principles Enshrined in the Management of Corporate Real Property under Customary Land Law, Current Themes in Nigerian Law, Published by the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos , 1997, (pp. 257-275), Legal Aid in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria. Current Themes in Law, published by the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, pp. 5372, Positive Planning Per Excellence under The Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Decree, 1992, Readings in Planning Law, published by the Department of Private & Property Law, University of Lagos, Pp. 117 – 133, Criminal Justice Administration and the Question of Legal Assistance; The Nigerian Journal of Contemporary Law (N.J.C.L) Vol. 18, 1994-1996, (pp. 88-108), Documentation and Perfection of Security in Nigeria, Unilag Readings in Law, published by the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, (pp. 121 -140), The Relevance of the Certificate of Occupancy to Estate Development in Nigeria, Lagos Journal of Environmental Studies, published by Faculty of Environmental Science, pp. 130-140, Impact of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on the Concept of Advancement which was presented at the University of Nottingham, Law Department Seminar Series, 1997, published in The Judicial Voice, Law & Practice Journal, an organ of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Branch, 1999, p. 28. Arbitration and Enforcement of Securities in Nigeria. Secured Credit in a Global Economy, Edited By I. O. Smith, 2003, a publication of Department of Private and Property Law. University of Lagos, pp. 248- 266, Trusteeship Concept under the Land Use Act: Mirage or Reality, The Land Use Act – Twenty Five Years After, Edited By I. O. Smith, published by the Department of Private and Property Law, University of Lagos, pp. 90-115, Overcoming the Difficulties in Registering Caution on a Certificate of Occupancy, The Journal of African Law, Vol. 47, 2 (2003), School of Oriental Studies, University of London, Overhauling the Presumption of Advancement in the Law of Trusts and The Journal of Private and Property Law, University of Lagos, 119 – 133 Concept and Function of Leases. Others include, Journal of Private and Property Law, (2003) Vol. 22, JPPL pp. 59 -78, The Social Significance of the New Lagos State Rent Control and Recovery of Residential Premises Edict No. 6 of 1997, The Rent Control and Recovery of Residential Premises Edict (No. 6) 1997, Report of a Workshop, (Prof. Uzodike ed.) Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, pp. 38 – 60, Towards Effective Control and Management of Land in Nigeria: A re-evaluation of the Land Use Act, (1978), Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, Page 257, Socio-Legal and Regulatory Issues in Corruption Control in Nigeria, Current Perspectives in Law, Justice and Development, in Honour of the Honourable Justice Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, Ed. Ademola Adedotun and Ademola Popoola, Demm-Dit Projects, 2007, page 239, The Frontloading Requirements under the New High Court Rules and the Effect on Subpoenaed Witnesses: Resolving the Conundrum, Law, Democratic Governance and Justice Administration in Nigeria – A Tribute to Honourable Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON, (ed. Bolatito Ajibade, Mrs.), Lifegate Publishing Company Limited, December, 2009, Constitutional Framework for Planning Regulations in Nigerian Federalism: A Review of A.G. Lagos State v. A.G. Federation, Contemporary Issues in Nigerian Constitutional Law – Essays in Honour of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN (ed. Professor Oyelowo Oyewo) Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers) Limited, Ibadan, 2010, The Concept of Licensed Development Under The Law of Lagos State, and Law, Politics & Development: The Challenge Of An Emerging Mega-City – Essay in Honour of Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN Published by Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, 2010, pp 361-374.
There are also the yet-to-be published Papers read at Conferences/Seminars: Negotiation and Drafting of International Contracts, presented at Potomac Seminar on Negotiation, Drafting and Enforcement of International Contracts Sponsored by Centre Point Merchant Bank Ltd., Lagos, 1993, Corporal Punishment under The ICCPR & The U.N. Torture Convention: African & Religious Perspectives, presented to the Law Society, University of Nottingham, 1997, The Legal Aspects of Trans-border Movements: Implications for Refugees In Commemoration of the World Refugee Day of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, 1996.
Both in academia and politics, Banire has been in service of humanity as; Founder and Principal Associate, M. A. Banire & Associates, Commissioner for Environment, Lagos State, August 2007 to May, 2011, Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos State, August 2000 to May 2007, Commissioner for Special Duties, Lagos State, July 1999-August 2000, Special Adviser on Political and Legislative Matters, June 1999, Senior Lecturer, Department of Private and Property Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, 1991 to 2010, Principal Partner, Akinbiyi, Banire & Co., Firm of Solicitors located on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos (1991-1995), Counsel, Seun Akinbiyi & Co., Lagos (1990-1991), National Youth Service Corps with Legal Aid Council, Abeokuta, Chambers Attachment, Gani Fawehinmi Chambers, 1989, Assessor/Examiner, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Moderator, Chartered Institute of Insurers.
Other positions of responsibilities include; Legal Adviser of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP in Ojo local government, 1990; Returning Officer, Lagos Mainland Local Government, 1998 Gubernatorial/House of Assembly Elections, Member: Ojo Local Government Planning Authority. He was also the National Legal Adviser of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and today the interim National Legal Adviser of the mega opposition political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Faculty Examinations Officer:University of Lagos, Faculty of Law, 1993 to 1995, Coordinator of Diploma in Land Administration: University of Lagos, Faculty of Law, 1993-1994, Business Manager: Journal of Private and Property Law, University of Lagos, 1991 – 2008, Secretary: University of Lagos Vice-Chancellor’s Committee on Bank Project, Member:Nigerian Universities Network Management Committee, Appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Member:Vice-Chancellor’s Land Verification Task Force (University of Lagos), Member:University of Lagos Bookshop Management Board, Member: Faculty of Law Taylor Lecture Committee, Member:Car Park Inspectorate Committee, University of Lagos, Member:University of Lagos Legal Committee, Member:Faculty of Law, University of Lagos Fund Raising Committee and Member:Editorial Committee Nigerian Journal of Contemporary Law.
He is a fellow and member of Professional Bodies which include Registered Foreign Lawyer: Law Society England, Member: Nigerian Bar Association, Member: International Bar Association, Fellow: Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria, Associate Member:Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Member: Nigerian Institute of Management and Member:Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Banire has packed so much into an eventful 47 years having been born on October 6, 1966 and given his scholarship in academia and glittering career at the Bar, the coveted title of Silk may not be far away and his referees could only be a fitting testament to this; Former NBA President ,Chief ‘Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Mr. Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan, SAN and former ICPC Chairman, member of the National Judicial Council and retired justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (Rtd). Indeed, only the deep can call to the deep.