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Remilekun Fani-Kayode

 Remilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode, was born in the year 1921 to Mrs. Aurora Kayode, née Fanimokun and Mr. Victor Adedapo Kayode.

Remilekun Kayode was so close to his mother that after schooling atKings College’,Lagos, he attached the prefix of her maiden name (Fani) to his father's name and that was how the name "Fani-Kayode" was created. Remilekun Fani- Kayode went to Cambridge University (Downing College) in 1941.

He wrote the British Bar examination after which he did the British Bar examinations. He was called to The British Bar at Middle Temple in 1945 and he went on to be appointed Queens Counsel (Q.C.) in 1960. In 1977, he became the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)

Remilekun was the third Nigerian to be a SAN and set up the first Indigeneous Nigerian Law Firm in 1948 with Chief Frederick Rotimi Williams and Chief Bode Thomas who were also both lawyers who had been trained at Cambridge and London University respectively. The law firm was called "Thomas, Williams and Kayode". Remilekun.


He was a leading Nigerian politician, aristocrat, nationalist, statesman and lawyer. He was elected Deputy Premier of the Western Region of Nigeria in 1963 and he played a major role in Nigeria's legal history and politics from the late 1940s until 1995.



Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode played a major role in the struggle for Nigeria's Independence. In 1952 he, together with Rotimi Williams, Bode Thomas and a number of others, was detained by the British colonial authorities for the very active and passionate role that he played in the struggle against the British. He was elected the leader of the Action Group youth wing in 1954. He set up a youth wing for the party who wore "black shirts" and used the "mosquito" as their emblem to reflect their disdain for British colonial rule.

Again, in 1954, the Oloye Fani-Kayode was elected into the Federal House of Assembly on the platform of Chief Obafemi Awolowo's Action Group, and he continued his fight for Nigeria's Independence from there. He was the Assistant Federal Secretary of the Action Group and in that respect played a pivotal role, with the Federal Secretary, Chief Ayo Rosiji, in the organisation and administration of the Action Group. He, alongside Chief Awolowo, S. O. Ighodaro, E. O. Eyo, Adeyemi Lawson and S. G. Ikoku, represented the Action Group at the 1957 London Constitutional Conference.

In 1957, he led the team of Action Group lawyers who represented and fought for the people of the Northern minorities at the Willinks minorities Commission in their quest for the creation of a middle belt region which would have been carved out of the old Northern Region of Nigeria.In July 1958, he moved the motion for Nigeria's independence in the Federal House of Assembly (the minutes of Hansard, 1958; p. 269; Professor Onabamiro's "Perspectives on Nigeria's History", p. 140).

In 1959, Remilekun Fani-Kayode resigned from the Action Group and joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, an opposition party. In 1960, he was elected the leader of the NCNC in the Western House of Assembly. In 1963, he was elected Deputy Premier of the old Western Region of Nigeria under Chief Samuel Akintola on the platform of the Nigerian National Democratic Party. He was also appointed Minister of Local Government Affairs for the Western Region in that same year.


In August 1960 Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister, moved another motion calling for a minor amendment to the original 1958 motion. He argued that the year 1960 should be retained as the year for independence as originally moved by Remilekun Fani-Kayode but that the month for that independence should be October. The motion for this minor amendment was seconded by Raymond Njoku, who was the Minister of Transport, and it was successful. That was how October 1st 1960 was agreed upon as the date for Nigeria's independence from Britain. In 1959 Remilekun Fani-Kayode resigned from the Action Group and joined the ( N. C. N. C) National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons, opposition party. In 1960 he was elected the leader of the N. C. N. C party in the Western House of Assembly. In 1963 he was elected Deputy Premier of the old Western region of Nigeria under Chief Samuel Akintola on the platform of the N. N. D. P party. He was also appointed Minister of Local Government Affairs for the Western Region in that same year. Again in 1963, he was conferred with the title of Balogun (Leader of the Warriors) of Ife by one of the most senior traditional rulers in Nigeria, His Royal Majesty Oba (Sir) Adesoji Aderemi, the late Ooni of Ife.

After the first ever military coup in Nigeria on January 15th 1966 Remilekun Fani-Kayode together with a number of other notable figures were all detained by the military government of General Aguiyi-Ironsi. They were later released. In July 1966, after the

Northern counter-coup, led by Murtala Mohammed and Theophillus Danjuma and after Yakubu Gowon became Nigeria's Head of state, Remilekun Fani-Kayode left Nigeria with his whole family and moved to the seaside resort town of Brighton in South Eastern England. They set up home and lived there in exile, for many years. In 1978 he was one of those that founded and pioneered the National Party of Nigeria (N. P. N). In 1979 he was elected to the position of the National Vice Chairman of that party and in recognition of his contribution to national development he was conferred with the honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (C. O. N) by President Shehu Shagari.

In the mid-70's Remilekun Fani-Kayode was commissioned as a lay preacher of the Anglican Church (Christ Church Cathedral, Marina, Lagos) and later on in life he became an active and leading member of the Pentecostal / Evangelical movement in Nigeria. After the annulment of Chief Moshood Abiola's presidential election on June 12th 1993, Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode was one of those who openly wrote about and spoke out strongly against the annulment. He even went to court over the issue. In 1994 he was appointed into the Justice Kayode Eso panel of inquiry which effectively probed and helped to sanitize the Nigerian judiciary and rid it of corrupt judges.

Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode got married to Chief Mrs Adia Adunni Fani-Kayode (nee Sa'id), whose mother Alhaja Agbeke Sa'id (nee Williams), was the daughter of the famous Alhaji Isa Williams, one of the greatest and wealthiest muslim leaders and businessmen in Lagos in his day. Her first cousin, the late Justice Atanda Fatai-Williams, was a colleague of her husband, Remilekun Fani-Kayode, at Cambridge University and he went on to become the Chief Justice of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. Her father, Alhaji Nurudeen Sa'id was a civil servant from Ilesa, south western, Nigeria. Their daughter Adia Adunni Fani-Kayode became a devout and practising christian before getting married to Remilekun Fani Kayode and later became a leading member of the Pentecostal/Evangelical church. The two of them had five children: Akinola Adedapo Fani-Kayode, Rotimi Fani-Kayode (a famous photographer and artist who passed on in 1989), Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (who has been very active in politics for a number of years now, who was spokesman to President Olusegun Obasanjo and Minister of Culture and Tourism and later Aviation respectively and who has now stated his intention to run for the governorship position of Osun state in 2011), Toyin Fani-Kayode (Mrs Bajela) and Tolu Fani-Kayode (Mrs Fanning). Femi Fani-Kayode was the third child and the youngest son of his parents. Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode also had five other children: Aina Fani-Kayode (Mrs Ogunbe), Remilekun Junior Fani-Kayode, Lola Fani-Kayode,Tokunbo Fani-Kayode, Ladipo Fani-Kayode and he has over 30 grandchildren.

He passed away in 1995.