Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, reputed as the abode of Alfas (home of Islamic scholars) has been thrown into mourning following the tragic death of three of its illustrious Indigenes within 48 hours.
Death first snatched away the 51-year-old vice chancellor of Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Prof Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi (SAN) on Sunday. Twenty four hours after, the messenger of death visited the community again as a senior Kwara High Court judge, Justice Safiyah Titilayo Daibu (63) breathed her last on Monday; while a popular Aso Oke (local fabrics) merchant, Alh Isiaka Aberi died on Tuesday.
Akanbi who became a professor at the age of 41 and Senior Advocate of Nigeria at the age of 48; and appointed as KWASU vice chancellor at the age of 49, died at a Lagos hospital after a brief illness.
Akanbi’s corpse was transported from Lagos to Ilorin on Monday and his remains were interred at his Onikanga GRA, Ilorin private residence after the funeral prayer was held at his father’s GRA residence on the same day.
Justice Safiyah Titilayo Daibu died at a medical facility in Abuja on Monday after a brief illness. Her corpse was taken from Abuja to Ilorin on Tuesday and was buried the same day at her husband’s GRA residence in Ilorin.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that Justice Daibu was the next in ranking to the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Sulaiman Kawu who is due for retirement soon.
The messenger of death has therefore robbed Ilorin community the opportunity of producing the second female Chief Judge of Kwara State. The first female Chief Judge of the state, Justice Raliat Elelu hails from Ilorin.
Alhaji Isiaka Aberi, the Aso Oke merchant died on Tuesday in his Ilorin residence.
Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the Emir of Ilorin, Alh Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari led the packs of eminent Nigerians who have extolled the virtues of Akanbi and Daibu, in recognition of the positive contributions of the deceased to the development of Kwara, Nigeria and humanity in general.
Governor AbdulRazaq did not only send condolence messages, he attended the janazah (funeral) prayers for Akanbi and Daibu.
Other dignitaries that attended the prayer session included the Grand Khadi of Kwara State, Justice Abdulateef Kamaldeen; JAMB registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Chief Imam, Hilal Crescent Jumaat Mosque, Ilorin, Prof Badmas Yusuf and state APC chairman, Prince Sunday Fagbemi.
Yusuf Ali (SAN), Kehinde Eleja (SAN) were among the many lawyers who were there to pay their last respect to their late colleague.
Other dignitaries included members of the state executive council, the academic community and members of many Islamic organisations.
The Amadu Bello Way that led to the Akanbi’s residence was locked down as sympathisers had no options than to park their vehicles on the main road.
Visitor to KWASU and governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq described as painful and shocking the death of Akanbi.
“We submit to the decree of Allah who gives and takes. It is against that backdrop that we mourn the vice chancellor who has answered Allah’s call. He was a true and humble servant of Allah and we beseech our God, the oft-forgiving and merciful, to grant him al-jannah Firdaus.
“The professor of law was a colossus who played the leading role to open a new chapter of academic excellence and greatness for KWASU. Our condolences go to his family, immediate and extended, to KWASU and the rest of the academic community, and to members of the bar and the bench in Kwara State and across the country,” the governor said in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye.
In his condolence message, the Emir of Ilorin, Alh Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari expressed sadness over the demise of Akanbi.
Sulu-Gambari described the incidence as “quite shocking, unfortunate and saddening”, stressing that the KWASU VC’s death is a colossal loss to the people of Ilorin Emirate, Kwara and humanity at large.
The Emir’s condolence message signed by his spokesman, Mal Abdulazeez Arowona reads: “He (Akanbi) was a replica of his late father and pioneer chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the late Justice Mustapha Akanbi who was until his death the Wakilin Ilorin Emirate.
“Prof Akanbi attained the pinnacle of his legal career to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) as well as the zenith of academic profession as a professor of Law and was appointed by the current administration as the second vice chancellor of the Kwara State University, Malete; all within his youthful age of existence on earth.
“He demonstrated high level of incorruptibility, hardwork, commitment and dedication to the service of God and humanity at all levels of his private and public engagements. His death is a rude shock and devastating because of what he stood for in the society as a promising young man whose service, wisdom and commitment is needed for the growth and development of our dear nation.”
Also, in a condolence message, the speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Engr Yakubu Danladi-Salihu described the demise of Akanbi as a colossal loss to the entire state and beyond.
Danladi-Salihu who noted that Kwara has indeed lost one of her brightest minds prayed to Almighty Allah to forgive the deceased and comfort the bereaved.
“We are utterly shocked and devastated to learn about the death of our erudite and exceptional scholar of note in the person of Professor Muhammad Mustapha Akanbi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria who was until his death, the vice chancellor of our prestigious university, KWASU.
“Professor Akanbi exhibited precocious talent and achieved a whole lot in his fifty-one years on this planet earth, he climbed the peak of his professional and academic career at a very young age – becoming a full-fledged professor at the age of 41 and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN at 48.
“Professor Akanbi did his best at every point and post he found himself during his sojourn, the latest being his sterling performance at KWASU where he broke many grounds including the recent accreditation of Medicine and others for the state university, all these speak to his cerebral nature and a goal getter fellow.
“On behalf of the Kwara State House of Assembly, my sincere condolences to us all over this devastating loss, may Allah repose the soul of our erudite and exceptional Professor Muhammad Mustapha Akanbi, SAN,” the speaker said in the state signed by his chief press secretary, Shehu Yusuf.
In his condolence message, the vice chancellor of Ahman Pategi University, Prof Mahfouz Adedimeji
described the death of Akanbi as a personal loss.
Adedimeji in the message he personally signed described Akanbi as a shrewd administrator and cerebral intellectual from whose vast endowments Ahman Pategi University has benefitted immensely.
The statement reads: “The news of the death of the 2nd Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University, Prof Muhammad Mustapha Akanbi, SAN, was received with utter shock and complete befuddlement. Our young university community is devasted. Allah knows best.
“As an individual, it is a personal loss as I have lost a benefactor, brother, leader and cheerleader.
“A straight tree in the forest of men, Prof Akanbi stood tall among his contemporaries with his stellar qualities. An erudite scholar, legal luminary, shrewd administrator and cerebral intellectual from whose vast endowments Ahman Pategi University has benefitted immensely, the late vice chancellor was a role model for all. He epitomised dedication, discipline, devotion, selflessness and integrity all of which have taken KWASU to a new height within the short time of being its helmsman.
“On behalf of our grief-stricken University, especially the Founder, Hon. Aliyu Ahman-Pategi, the Board of Trustees, the Governing Council, the Senate, staff and students of the University, I commiserate with his immediate family, the Akanbi-Oniyo family, the University of Ilorin, Kwara State University, Ilorin Emirate, the bar and the academia.
“I fervently pray that the Almighty Allah overlook his shortcomings, forgive his sins, accept his return and admit him to Aljannah Firdaos, Amin.”
Announcing the death of Akanbi, KWASU’s management in a statement signed by the registrar, Dr Kikelomo Sallee said: “With very heavy heart but in total submission to the will of Almighty Allah, the Management of Kwara State University announces the death of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi (SAN).
“The sad event took place on 20th November 2022 after a protracted illness. We urge all to remember the immediate and extended family and the University in prayers in this very trying time.”
The management also declared a week as mourning period of the departed vice chancellor.
Also in a condolence message on Justice Safiyah Titilayo Daibu’s death, Governor AbdulRazaq described her demise as a painful loss to the state.
The governor in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye described the deceased as one of the shining lights of the bench in the state.
“This, again, is a huge depletion in the ranks of the great minds in our state, especially in the judiciary where she was a leader with a difference.
“Our commiserations go to the judiciary in the state and Nigeria, the Ilorin community as a whole, and especially her families on all sides. Our consolation is that Justice Daibu was an exemplary figure, loved within and outside of the bench for her good nature.
“We pray Allah, exalted is He, to repose her soul in al-jannah Firdaus and comfort her family,” AbdulRazaq stated.
In his condolence message, the Emir of Ilorin, Alh Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari commiserated with the family of the deceased.
The monarch stressed that the late jurist was one of highly successful women of Ilorin origin who attained greatness through legal practice.
The statement signed by the Emir’s spokesman, Mal Abdulazeez Arowona added: “His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari is overwhelmed by the numerous unfortunate occurrences happening in the Emirate especially with the demise of Justice Titilayo Daibu who breath her last breathe on Monday.
“She was known for hardwork, intelligence and friendliness both as a family woman and judicial officer who dispensed Justice with thorough investigation and indepth knowledge of the profession. Late Titi Daibu was a caring wife and mother, a philantropist of all seasons and a community mobilizer.”
Sulu-Gambari commiserated with Barr Lanre Daibu, the deceased’s children, the entire members of Ikokoro family as well as members of the judiciary over the demise of the jurist.
Also on Thursday, Ilorin community lost another prominent indigene and chief medical director of Ilorin Clinic, Dr AbdulGaniyu AbdulBaki.
The prominent medical practitioner died at a time the people of Ilorin were still mourning the passing of three prominent indigenes within a spate of 48 hours.
The news of AbdulBaki’s demise was announced by one Dr Adeyemo of the Association of Nigeria Private Medical Practitioners (ANPMP), Kwara State’s chapter.
“With a very heavy heart, we announce the passing of Dr AbdulGaniyu AbdulBaki, the MD of Ilorin Clinic, Oloje.
We pray for the repose of his soul and May the Almighty grant his family and the medical community the fortitude to bear this huge loss,” Adeyemo said.
Meanwhile, the senator representing Kwara Central at the National Assembly,Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe has charged the Ilorin Emirate Council of Ulamah and the traditional rulers to as a matter of urgency organise general and community-based periodic prayers to mitigate the recurring death harvest in the community.
Oloriegbe made the call in his condolence message to the Emir of Ilorin, Alh. Dr Ibrahim Sulu – Gambari the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union ( IEDPU)and Ilorin emirate medical doctors group on the death of AbdulBaki.
“While we succumbed to the will of Almighty Allah over His recent death verdicts upon some of the shining lights of our community, Ilorin, I wish to call on our traditional leaders led by our Mai Martaba Seriki Ilory, Alh (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari,the religion and spiritual leaders to, as a matter of urgency, organise general and community-based period prayers with the sole aim of mitigating recurring death harvests which had claimed the lives of at least four prominent members of our community in successive days, the latest being my senior colleague in the medical profession, my friend and political associate, Dr AbdulGaniyu AbdulBaki of the Ilorin Clinic, popularly known as ‘Beki Hospital’, Oloje, Ilorin.
“Dr Baqi’s death is no doubt a big loss to humanity considering the huge contributions he made to our community as a medical practitioner of note who for many years used his private establishment to not only save lives, but also trained, and generously assist many indigent members of Ilorin Emirate community.
“We shall be consoled by the impactful life he lived while praying to Almighty Allah to forgive him of all his misdeeds and found him worthy of Janah as final abode as we shall be praying to Allah to give his survivors the fortitude to bear the devastating loss,” Oloriegbe added