Graduate at 21, master’s holder at 24, professor at 38… meet Owasanoye, the new ICPC chairman

Bolaji Owasanoye, Professor at 38, women-children activist, pastor

On Tuesday, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo appointed Bolaji Owasanoye to succeed Ekpo Nta as Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

The new ICPC chairman was Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), and has been a research professor at the National Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) for the past 25 years. But that is just one feather on the cap of the erudite legal practitioner.



Born in 1963, Owasanoye graduated with a second class upper degree in Law from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1984 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985.

He then proceeded to the University of Lagos in 1986, beginning his career as an Assistant Lecturer. It is from UNILAG that Owasanoye bagged a master’s degree in Law in 1987, at the age of just 24.

From UNILAG, he moved over to NIALS in 1991; 10 years later, in 2001, he became a Professor of Law, aged 38.

He also had stints at various international institutions, including the Royal Institute of Public Administration in the UK and the International Law Institute, Washington, USA.


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In 1997, Owasanoye co-founded the Human Development Initiative (HDI), a not-for-profit organisation with the main objectives of championing human capacity development, especially at the grassroots.

The organisation focuses more on widows, youths and teenagers – especially in-school adolescents and children in worst forms of labour. HDI’s mission statement reads: To strengthen vulnerable humans, in society by social development programmes and initiatives that promote equality, justice, solidarity and opportunities.

Owasanoye has presented many papers at United Nations events on the need for the right of children to be upheld in all the nations of the world.



At PACAC, where he served as the Executive Secretary, Owasanoye was one of the vocal and courageous members of the committee. He was an advocate of the whistle-blower and witness protection bills recently passed by the senate.

He never backed off from criticising even his own primary constituency – the Judiciary – especially when the matter has to do with incidents of corruption.

In an interview on the failure of the prison decongestion project of the federal government, Owasanoye said: “The Prison decongestion project situated in the FMOJ for a number of years gulped billions over a five-to-six-year period without impacting the prison situation.

“Systemic corruption entrenched within the FMOJ and collaborating lawyers in private practice effectively truncated the project.

“The NBA, as a major stakeholder, failed to play the role of a watchdog of the process in spite of its avowed commitment to criminal justice administration. Rather NBA leaders and former Attorneys-General of the Federation used the project as patronage for lackeys and supporters.”

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Owasanoye’s NGO has successfully implemented over 50 advocacy projects on human rights, rule of law, governance and anti-corruption.

These include the ‘Stop Impunity Nigeria Campaign’, aimed at eliminating impunity in public finance management; and the ‘LG budget-watch’ designed to tackle corrupt practices at the local government level.


What many do not know about Owasanoye is that during his lecturing days at the University of Lagos, he was the Assistant Chaplain at the UNILAG Chapel of Christ our Light. He is also a member of the clergy at the Aso Villa Chapel in the State House Abuja.




    Owasanoye has won several national and international awards, including the University of Lagos Scholarship Award (1986/1987), UN Institute for Training and Research Fellowship Award (1991, 1994), US Information Service International Visitors Award (1991), British Council Fellowship Award (1992) and Senior Special Fellowship, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (2001).

    He has published over 100 academic and research projects in national and international journals and has authored/edited over 10 books.

    From January 2007 to date, Owasanoye has been the Secretary of the National Working Group on the Review of Investment Laws in Nigeria. Through his professional and social activities, he has worked in anti-corruption circles and his appointment as ICPC Chairman should turn out the fixing of a square peg to a square hole.


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    1. Congratulations Sir.I am not surprised at this achievement.From the first day I met you and the little time I spent with you,i knew you had some extraordinary qualities.The almighty God grant you wisdom like never before and the ability to execute your duties effectively.I am indeed proud of you.

    2. Congratulations sir! I wish you more wisdom and strength for Greater service to Nigeria nation as you confront the real monster- corruption in high places of Nigeria.

    3. When Jesus says yes nobody can say no. You deserve this. Congratulations. More grease to this special man of God.

    4. Congratulations Prof. (Rev.) Bolaji Owasanoye. A great man of God endow with much wisdom. God be with you in the new position.

    5. congrats prof. We need to carry the fight against corruption to the corrupt elite. The focus should now be on the offensive and not defensive. It is title to wake up ICPC. It is hardly ever in the news yet, it predated EFCC


      If really this young professor had been damned by association, definitely he would have been perverted or deprived from this emphatic height. Just read through this quote on grestness by Albert Einsteino,
      “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”.
      So, we the indigenes of Owo Local Government should not only pride him for the uncommon feat and his bundle of achievements thus far, but to solidly stand behind him, so that he can excel in his new role as the ICPC chairman.
      We pray the lord should guide him……amen!

      And more importantly to me, I am directing my viewpoint to our up-and-coming scholars and others in similar races to learn from this exempla with the sheer belief of a standing catchphrase -‘I can do it’. It is not late, so let the struggle continue!

      Congratulations sir, you are worthy to be celebrated on but a grand scale.

      Great Ondo State indigenes.

      Great Owo Local Government people.

      ~Engr. Owamoyo R.A

    7. Congratulations Prof (Rev) Owasanoye Bolaji, may the good Lord steer this ship with you and make your tenure a huge success. -Traditional High Chief Oludoro of Owo.

    8. Prof Owasanoye has what it takes to fight corruption to standstill. Your pedigree right from your alma mata, Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan, as well as the different crusades against corruption you have been involved speak volume. God be with you as you discharge your duties faithfully and fearlessly.

      Dr Tope Afolabi,
      LAGSOBA National Chief Whip.

    9. And why miss out that he was a lecturer in LASU for a good number of years before he went to NIALS??? My lecturer he was, and he will serve well by God’s grace Amen.

    10. Congratulations Prof (Rev) Bolaji Owasanoye, we have so much confidence in you that you will not disappoint


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