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FRA Williams dies at 84

Posted by Guardian Newspapers on 2005/03/29 | Views: 2039 |

FRA Williams dies at 84

Foremost legal luminary, Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams, has passed on. He died in his Lagos home at 9.27 p.m. yesterday, at the

Foremost legal luminary, Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams, has passed on. He died in his Lagos home at 9.27 p.m. yesterday, at the age of 84. Family sources said he passed on peacefully.

Chief Williams had been abroad lately for medical check up. Though he confirmed the news of his father's death, Chief Ladi Williams, eldest son of the deceased, was too grief-stricken to elaborate on the demise.

"I'm too depressed to talk," he told The Guardian last night.

Born in Lagos on December 16, 1920, the primus inter pares in the Nigerian Bar had been the reference point in law in the country, owing to his experience, erudition, expertise and versatility in legal practice. A circumstance that was responsible for the nickname: 'Timi the Law'.

The late Chief Williams was born to a lineage of lawyers. His grand-uncle, Rotimi Alade, and his own father, Thomas Williams, were called to the Bar in 1892 and 1927 respectively. In his determination to follow the dignified footsteps of his progenitors, the young FRA Williams won, but rejected, a full scholarship to study Mechanical Engineering at the prestigious Yaba Higher College. He proceeded to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1942. He, thereafter, qualified as a Barrister-at-law at the Gray's Inn in London.

Though his grand legal achievement made him seem like one who pursued law as if nothing else mattered, Chief Williams had a soft side. Being a man who appreciated companionship, he could not hide his emotions when his wife of nearly five decades passed on. "I have come to appreciate more than I ever did, the role she played in my life. It will continue until I join her wherever she is."
While he was averse to labels of all shades, Chief Williams maintained a personal philosophy that abhorred discrimination. "I regard all mankind as my brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren," he once said of his guiding principle, which drew from his Christian belief and indigenous culture.

Even after he vowed not to get involved in partisan politics, Chief Williams still held the unity of the Nigerian nation very dearly to his heart. Consequently, to contribute his own quota in promoting good governance and a nationalism built on justice and fairness, he joined The Patriots, a body of eminent citizens desirous of building a Nigeria citizens would be proud of. Here, he expressed his views on national issues most profoundly.

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