Lawyer, Politician, Administrator, Hotelier, Chief
Birth and Parentage
Born on October 25, 1945, in Abonnema to Mr. Ferdinand Akiwande Coker and Madam Ethel Coker, Oluremi’s early life was shaped by the unique circumstances of his family. His father, a prominent Chemist and druggist originally from Lagos state in Western Nigeria, had chosen to settle in the Niger Delta, particularly in Abonnema within the Akoku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, where he practiced his trade. Mr. Ferdinand Akiwande Coker, a polygamist, was a responsible and involved father, taking sole responsibility for the upbringing of his numerous children without leaving the responsibilities to their respective mothers. Tragically, Oluremi lost his father in 1964.
On the maternal side, Madam Ethel (nee Ineyougha) hailed from the Yekorogha group of houses in Isoukiri, Nembe-Ogbolomabiri community in Bayelsa State. Despite her roots, Oluremi’s parents lived in Abonnema, where he spent his childhood. Growing up in this environment, Oluremi formed numerous friendships and acquaintances that endured throughout his life.
The cultural richness of Oluremi’s heritage was shaped by the diverse backgrounds of his parents, his father’s Lagosian roots, and his mother’s connections to the Yekorogha group of houses. These varied influences played a role in shaping Oluremi’s upbringing and the network of relationships that he carried with him until his passing.
Oluremi Ayodele Coker’s educational journey began at St. Joseph Catholic School in Abonnema. Subsequently, he moved to Lagos and enrolled at the Iteti School, then to Mrs. F. Kuti’s class in Kemta, Abeokuta, Western Nigeria. His primary education was completed at the Baptist Day School in Buguma in 1958, where he achieved Distinction in his First School Leaving Certificate.
Continuing his academic pursuits, he attended Baptist High School in Port Harcourt from 1959 to 1963, obtaining his Cambridge School Certificate with a Grade I qualification. Following this, he briefly attended Holy Family College in Oku Abak, present-day Akwa Ibom State, for his Higher School Certificate (HSC).
Driven by a strong desire for further education, Oluremi Ayodele Coker ventured to the United Kingdom in 1981. There, he obtained his Advanced Level (GCE) papers at the Capital Tutorial College in London. Returning to Nigeria in 1983, he secured admission to Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ife to study Law. Completing the Law degree program in 1986, he earned an LLB Honors.
Building on his academic achievements, he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School in Victoria Island, Lagos. He successfully qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor and was called to the Bar as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1987. This marked the culmination of his extensive educational journey, showcasing his commitment to academic excellence in the field of law.
Following the passing of his caring father, Mr. Ferdinand Akiwande Coker, in 1964, Oluremi, affectionately known as Olu, took on the responsibility of providing for himself. Over the next four years, from 1964 to 1968, he embarked on a series of employment opportunities that showcased his resilience and determination:
- Third-Class Clerk, Federal Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Lagos (1964–1968)
- Sales Supervisor, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, Apapa-Lagos (1964–1968)
- Classroom Teacher, Nyemoni Brammar School, Abonnema (1964–1968)
- Sales Supervisor (Clerk Distributor), Nigerian Tobacco Company Limited, Abonnema (1964–1968)
In 1969 and 1970, Olu transitioned to work with the Foods group of United African Company of Nigeria Limited (UAC). During his tenure, he served as a Sales Supervisor/Senior in charge, overseeing territories ranging from present-day Lagos State, the former Western Region up to Ilorin in Kwara State, and finally, present-day Rivers State and Abia State.
Having garnered diverse experiences, Olu left UAC in 1970 and ventured into self-employment. Engaging in contracts related to building and supplies, as well as environmental sanitation services, he strategically pursued these endeavors to boost his cash flow and accumulate sufficient funds to further his education. This period of self-employment showcased his entrepreneurial spirit and determination to create opportunities for personal and educational advancement.
As A Lawyer and Others Endeavors
After completing his university education and becoming a qualified lawyer, Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha began practicing law in Port Harcourt. He initially worked briefly under B.M. Wifa, where he had the opportunity to study and refine his skills in the legal profession. Subsequently, he took the bold step of establishing his own law chambers called Akinwande Chambers, initially located at No. 8 Potts Johnson Street in Port Harcourt. The chambers later relocated to Aggrey Road, near Victoria Street, in the same city.
His legal career was marked by bravery and a commitment to taking on challenging cases that others might avoid—the so-called ‘no-go cases.’ Oluremi had a particular affinity for cases involving injustice and the oppression of the poor and helpless, often taking them on pro bono, reflecting his deep-seated values.
In addition to his legal pursuits, Chief Barrister Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha ventured into entrepreneurship. He established a hotel called T-end, strategically positioned in the heart of Port Harcourt city, precisely on Abeokuta Street in the D/line axis. Beyond being a successful business venture, the hotel served as a source of employment for the youth in the area, showcasing Oluremi’s commitment to community development and providing opportunities for the younger generation. His multifaceted career, combining law and business, exemplified his self-made success and his dedication to making a positive impact both in the legal field and the local community.
Barrister Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha was a notable figure in the political landscape during the early 1990s. He actively participated in politics, aligning himself with the People Solidarity Party (PSP) and later with the Social Democratic Party (SDP). His involvement in these political platforms showcased his commitment to contributing to the political discourse of the time.
In recognition of his leadership capabilities and community service, he was elected as the Chairman of the Brass Local Government Area Council between 1996 and 1997. This role exemplified his dedication to public service and governance at the grassroots level, further solidifying his reputation as a respected figure within the political sphere. Oluremi’s foray into local government leadership demonstrated his commitment to making a positive impact on his community through political engagement and administrative responsibility.
though born by a Lagosian (Mr Ferdinand Akiwande Coker) however his mother was a nembe woman from Isuokiri in Ogbolomabiri-Nembe. Barrister Oluremi Ayodele Coker aligned with his mother’s people which is an acceptable tradition of the Nembe people as maternal genealogy is of the essence. Therefore, the Ineyougha house in Yekorogha group of houses found worthy of making him their Chief to plot the affairs of the family. In 1994 he was made Chief in the Ineyougha house and subsequently coronated (chalked) by the late Mingi XI His Eminence Late Justice Ambose Allagoa the Amayanabo of Nembe in 1998 and thereon he was address Chief Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha. He was thereafter, initiated into the Nembe Divisional Council of Chiefs.
Before long, he became a formidable Legal Adviser to nembe kingdom and also represented his community in many negotiations with companies especially the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) ensuring that the Nembe people were not short changed in anyway. Subsequently, he was the secretary of the Nembe council of chiefs and went on to be the Chairman of the Ogbolomabiri Chief’s Council and he performed optimally and which the nembe could attest to that.
Along the line, he ran into problems with his other contempories chiefs and the Monarch. He challenged some perceived irregularities taking shape in the community and which is a violation of the constitution of the chiefs council and without further delays seek redress in the competent law of jurisdiction access justice but unfortunately the matter wasn’t in his favour.
Offices And Positions Held
- 1963: Baptist High School, Port- Harcourt athletics Captain;
- 1986/1987: President, Nigerian Law School Students Representative Council;
- 1976-1980: Member, Executive Committee, Port-Harcourt Club;
- 1996-1997: Elected Chairman, Brass Local Government Area, Bayelsa State;
- 1990-2000: Secretary, Ife Alumni Association, Rivers/ Bayelsa Chapter;
- 2000-2002: Chairman, Ife Alumni Association, Rivers/ Bayelsa Chapter;
- 2002: Assistant National Legal Adviser, Ife Alumni Association;
- 2002-2004: National President, Ife Alumni Association (World Wide);
- 2002-2004: Member of the Governing Council, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife;
Faith and Family
Chief Barrister Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha was a devout Baptist whose spiritual journey began with his baptism in Buguma in 1957. He remained a faithful member of the Baptist Church until his passing. His worship home was the First Baptist Church in Port Harcourt, where he actively contributed to the growth of the congregation.
His involvement extended beyond regular attendance; Chief Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha served as an adviser and represented the church at the Return of Schools Committee in 1996, showcasing his commitment to the community and the broader Baptist Church.
In his personal life, Chief Barrister Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha officially tied the knot with Mrs. Kingdomba Coker (nee Karibi Botoye) on March 27, 1976. Their union was blessed with three productive children, creating a close-knit family.
Chief Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha’s generosity extended to the broader community. He actively played the role of a notable benefactor, providing financial and legal assistance to many indigent individuals. His commitment to education was evident as he supported the educational needs of numerous individuals, placing them on scholarships and contributing to their academic pursuits. This aspect of his character highlighted his dedication to uplifting others and making a positive impact beyond his immediate family circle.
Barrister Oluremi Ayodele Coker-Ineyougha, a remarkable individual with a multifaceted legacy, passed away on December 10, 2010. His final resting place is in Nembe, Bayelsa State, where he left an indelible mark through his various contributions to the community, both as a legal practitioner and a devoted member of the Baptist Church. At the time of his passing, he was 65 years old. His life, characterized by dedication to justice, community service, and philanthropy, continues to be remembered and celebrated by those whose lives he touched.