Nii Ayikoi Otoo holds on to his childhood values

BY: Augustina Tawiah / Junior Graphic / Ghana

Growing up in a community where education was not considered a big deal, he could have ended up like any ordinary child in his family with only a secondary school certificate to boast of.

However, this young boy wanted to make a difference - to be the first in his family to go to  university and become an important person in future. As a boy, his main aim was to live in a mansion when he was older so he worked diligently at his dream.

Today, he is not only a university graduate, but an accomplished lawyer who has earned the respect of his colleagues  in the legal practice  as well as  in politics.

Many of you might have heard of Lawyer Nii Ayikoi Otoo, who combined his years of experience at the bar and wit to spare his learned colleague, Mr Kojo Owusu Afriyie (known in political circles as Sir John), and Mr Hopeson Adorye, both leading members of the New Patriotic Party, the ordeal of going to prison in the famous contempt case brought against the two by the Supreme Court during the recent election petition case.

Nii Ayikoi Otoo, was a former Attorney General and also served as a past General Secretary of the Ghana Bar Association. He says his success in saving his clients from sentences in prison recently could partly be attributed to the values  he held  from childhood. 

Growing  up at Mamprobi, a quiet government estate neighbourhood in those days, he could have easily used his fists to settle arguments but '’no, what I did was to negotiate with people instead of engaging in fights to defend myself. But you know, I liked to speak my mind and damned the consequences.”

This reporter met  Nii Ayikoi Otoo at his office at Laterbiokorshie just after he had returned from the court, to share his story with children.

Clad in his full legal  attire - black trouser len, white shirt with a barrister’s jacket, the learned man said, in those days at Mamprobi,  even though a lot of children went to school because education was free, nobody encouraged them to study at home, especially in the evenings.

As a result, they played a lot. He said they enjoyed  what they termed - going to Mango line- to look for mangoes and ‘alokoto,’ killing  small snakes at Link Road ‘1’ now Eduardo Mondalana Road at Mamprobi and visiting various beaches in Accra such as the Korle Lagoon, Korle Gonno beach, Chemu lagoon and Gorgomi stream to pick  ‘gorgomi’ ( a snail-like creature).

And you know, a meal of gari with this steam creature was one of the favourites for the children of the area.

Until Nii Ayikoi got to secondary school Form Two, he didn’t pay attention to his studies.When he did, however, his efforts paid off as he started to win various awards, especially in literature.

After  a successful  education at the Ebenezer Secondary School, Nii Ayikoi Otoo gained admission to Fijai Secondary School, Sekondi for his Sixth Form. This was after he had turned down the opportunity to attend some first class schools because he wanted to study Government while those schools offered History which he did not like.

In 1976, he gained admission to the University of Ghana. A proud Akuafo Hall resident law student,  Nii Ayikoi  relishes his days at the university. He recalled how he and a few of his friends often  visited the famous ‘Hospital Hospitality’ spot where  they argued  on topical issues as if they were in court.

Upon completion in 1979, Lawyer Ayikoi Otoo enrolled at the Ghana School of Law and when he passed out, he did his National Service and travelled to Nigeria before returning to Ghana to join Adamafio & Associates, a leading law firm in Accra where he stayed for over 20 years.

He later set up his own chambers now known as Otoo & Associates Leo Chambers at Laterbiokorshie in Accra.

His parents were Mrs Emelia Otoo and Mr E.K.A. Otoo. His wife is Mrs Patrica Otoo and they have six children.