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Popular Nigerian lawyer, Ayo Odekunle, dies in Canada after battle with cancer


Ayokunle Odekunle, a legal practitioner with extensive milieu in social commentary, has died in Canada.

Nigerian-born and educated before later moving to Canada, Mr Odekunle discovered he had stomach cancer that was spreading fast and leaving too little time to contain when he arrived in Edmonton in 2020, Peoples Gazette heard during a recent interaction with him after doctors said his condition had become impossible to save.

The cancer was stage four when he passed on Friday evening.

Mr Odekunle studied law at the University of Ibadan, class of 2011, and was called to the Nigerian bar. Last summer, he was also called to the bar in Alberta, Canada, a feat he attained even after learning he was on his way out.

Mr Odekunle particularly stood out for his take-no-prisoners approach to social media commentary, especially on the Nigerian cluster of micro-blogging platform X (former known as Twitter). YNaija, a culture magazine in Lagos, once listed him among its top Nigerian influencers in one of its compilations.

In a 2009 letter to his unborn child, Mr Odekunle lamented his passion for journalism, but said his parents’ interest in law persuaded him to enrol to become a lawyer at UI, which he described as “a once great university.”

“Writing was my forte I told daddy but daddy felt otherwise,” he said, disclosing a nostalgia about how he was born to a middle class family before fortunes depreciated rapidly for his father, who was a lawyer, when he was in high school.

The letter, reposted here in 2013, also showed Mr Odekunle’s self-awareness of how his detractors may characterise him.

“While some would say I am actually playful and brilliant, others insist I am cocky, proud and arrogant,” he said. “While some love what I do, others see nothing good in it.”

He left behind his wife and two children, who live in Canada.


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