‘Labour Party Gbadebo’s grandfather wasn’t Nigeria’s third magistrate’
Gbadebo Viviour- Rhodes, LP governorship candidate for Lagos
By Femi Fani Kayode
History is important and for the sake of future generations we are constrained to set the record straight.
Contrary to what young Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Lagos state, told the world in a television interview a few days ago it is NOT true that his grandfather was the third Nigerian to become a magistrate or a judge.
The facts are as follows.
Olumuyiwa Jibowu was the first Nigerian to become a magistrate in 1931 and then Adebiyi Desalu followed him in 1938.
Adetokunboh Ademola was the third in 1939 and then came Victor Adedapo Kayode (my paternal grand father), F.E.O. Euba and George Frederick Dove-Edwin in 1940. F.O. Lucas was appointed in 1941.
These were the first Nigerians to become magistrates and virtually all of them went on to the higher bench and did exceedingly well.
They all came from highly distinguished stock and well-educated families whose noble ancestry can be traced back for hundreds of years before them and who formed the elite upper class and ‘creme de la creme’ of high society in their day.
To top it all most of them went to the top Universities in the World to study law, namely Oxford and Cambridge, before being called to the British bar.
They also all practised law in the Lagos colony and were regarded as being amongst the top indigenous lawyers of their time before being invited to the Bench.
Rhodes Vivour’s grandfather, Akinwunmi Rhodes Vivour, was very junior to these men.
He was not appointed as a magistrate until almost twenty years after Jibowu in 1950, he never went to any University before being called to the Bar, he was not appointed as a Judge until 1964 and he descended from a family of Sierra Leonian slaves.
As a matter of fact in the context of the Rhodes-Vivour family the name “Vivour” derives from the word “Survivor” after their ancestors were freed from slavery by the British whilst they were being shipped overseas as slaves.
They were then returned to Sierra Leone as free men and women. I have immense respect for this family but if truth be told that is their heritage regardless of how much they attempt to hide it or how well they have done since then.
We must not allow anyone to distort or revise history in the name of politics.
When the likes of Rhodes Vivour attempts to look down on or denigrate the roots of other Yorubas or Lagosians he must be reminded that, unlike his, the majority of them did not derive from a family of slaves.
Unlike the Rhodes Vivours’ their ancestors were at least all born free. They were never slaves and they never needed to be emancipated from slave traders.