ILORIN: Just before our tears dry up over the death of iconic AGF Abdul-Rasaq (OFR)



BY: Mohammad Abdulkadri

Edited by Yemi Akintunde

The ancient City of Ilorin, the citadel of Islamic tenets and abode of great Ulamas is understandably and inexcusably enveloped in the thick darkness of mourning. This is sequel to the devastating death of one of its finest and best human capital assets, Abdulganiyu Folorunsho Abdulrasaq who took a bow off the stage and returned to his Creator on Saturday July 25th 2020.

What a colossal loss of an enigmatic Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) of Ilorin extraction who was unarguably the First Northern lawyer called to the bar in 1955. Yes it is normal and natural as humans, creation of Almighty Allah to grieve and groan over the passage of a loved one and a great Community Leader, a builder of National and international repute even dying at the ripe age of 93. Permit me, however, to use the words of Ngugi Wathiogo in one of his novels,” weep not Child”” by saying weep not my people over the inevitability of death which is unambiguously stated in the unquestionable words of the Almighty Allah that every soul, young or old, rich or poor, male or female, affluent or not must taste death at the appointed time. This position is buttressed in Al -Quran: Innalillai wa ina ilahi rajiuna. Meaning : ”from Him(God) we came and to Him (God) we shall return” . The fact remains that our beloved father, AGF had answered the last call and will never answer any earthly calls by any mortal again.

While this reality of never again ignited a torrential flow of tears from my swollen eyeballs grieving over the exit of one of the pillars of support and pride of our people a deluge of critical interrogational questions create a convulsive tremor in my heart. I therefore exercise caution which automatically dries up my tears for the deceased. I console my self with the fact that he left his indelible footprints on the sands of time in the annals of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria and the world at large. Beyond crying for the departed father of Our amiable Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Kwara State, I engage my mind in retrospection to analyse the vacuum created by the death of AGF which obviously will be difficult to fill. I recall with pride that the highly revered Mattawalin of Ilorin was passionate about entrenching the culture of learning and teaching as a learned personage which translated in his desire to pioneer the establishment of the first post primary Ilorin Community Secondary School, now known as Government High School, Ilorin. This laudable feat by the late nanogenarian in the history of Western education in Ilorin made me to reflect on the dying culture of Self – help Community development educational project that was pioneered by him at that time.

His death has imposed a lesson on us
to reflect on the
extent to which we as a people are sustaining such self help empowerment of our people in education, job creation and infrastructural development. Today in our cherished community, the reversal of priority has crept in among the young generation with over reliance on government to spoon feed us. Some investors are currently taking undue advantage of the situation with over charged pay in highly commercialised Private Schools that are daily denying our children access to education for all. The late Patriarch of the Abdul-razaqs was a mentor not only in learning and character but also in giving back to his people in many ways too numerous to itemise. To his credit, generations of professional lawyers who modelled their careers after him sprang up not only in his Ilorin hometown but across Nigeria. He was an enigmatic leader who replicated and re-invented himself in many people known and unknown to him beyond the shores of Ilorin before death took him away.

Undeniably, AGF died a fulfilled and happy man. This is to the glory of God after a successful tour of duty and service to humanity and to his creator. In many ways the deceased justifiably laboured to bequeath a just and equitable society as demanded of him by his professional calling as a defender of the defenceless. He vehemently abhorred injustice, abuses of human rights and dignity pervading the corridors of power couched in anti- people agenda and propaganda that characterised our past national experiences. Fortunately, his Son is occupying the driver’s seat in the governance of kwara state. He has no choice than drawing inspiration from his late father’s philosophical standpoint. For instance, he is championing as a matter of priority and doggedness the treasured dream of Kwarans to emplace a state for all Kwarans and not for the few privileged members of cabals. It will be a great honour for the late AGF in his grave therefore, to see all the people of the state and indeed the people of Ilorin to be on the same page with the Governor to justify the re-birth agenda of our state that is now freed from the shackles of enslavement and personal enrichment of few individuals at the expense of the toiling workers and poor masses.

The Late father of Dr Alimi, Senator Hairat Gwadabe Isiaka, Hajiia Aishat Lawal and Baba among others bequeathed the most beautiful gifts of human capital assets to human race by the intimidating pedigree of the children he left behind who are capable of facing the challenges
to continue on his trajectory of rendering unblemished services where he stopped. While consolidating on the legacies of their father they should remain unitedly prayerful in ensuring a successful tenure of one of them whose tenure by providence symbolically coincides with the death of their patriarch. His death couldn’t have happened at a more auspicious time than now that his son is the occupant of the highest political power in the state. He couldn’t have asked for more as a farewell gift from God as a proud father whose long dream was actualised before his departure.

Let me say painfully though, a very emotional good night to our great father of all and an elder stateman who weathered the storms and paid his dues in making Our cherished community a better place than he met it. I say a big thank you Baba even in your grave for putting Nigeria in the global map of reckoning in legal profession with your integrity intact till the point of exit from the stage of life. Your immeasurable contributions to nation building will forever remain a reference point for all Nigerians to emulate. We are pleased that history will remember you as a well celebrated personality in life and death just as we hope and pray that you will be better celebrated in the hereafter as the occupant of the finest abode in jannat Firidaus.

Tribute by Mohammad Abdulkadri , Special Assistant Media and Publicity To Minister of Defence.


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