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ABDULGANIYU FOLORUNSHO ABDURAZAK, (1927-2020): THE GRACEFUL EXIT OF A TRAIL BLAZER

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By ADENIKE HARRIET AFOLABI-OSHATIMEHIN

The Patriarch of the Abdulrazaks of Yerimisa Compound in Idigba Quarters of Pakata Area in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State, Alhaji ABDULGANIYU FOLORUNSHO ABDULRAZAQ SAN (OFR), who gracefully bade farewell to the planet earth in the early hours of Saturday July 25, 2020, in the Federal Capital City of Abuja, after a nine decades plus three years sojourn, left very huge footprints in the sand of time. He trod on the sociopolitical landscape of the Northern Nigeria and indeed, the entire country like a colossus. He had won several feathers to his cap, as a foremost lawyer, educationist, philanthropist, community leader, counselor, teacher, father etc. By so doing, he warmed himself into the hearts of several Nigerians.

I therefore, cannot but share with Your Excellency, the People’s Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, in what I describe as a mountain of grieve, occasioned by the irreparable loss of Your Dear Father,  at this critical time.
My condolence to You Sir and all the Abdulrazaks and all the good people of Kwara State, including our highly respected Emir of Ilorin, Dr. Ibrahim Zulu Gambari and other foremost traditional rulers across the 16 local government areas of the state, who will dearly miss the departed elder statesman for his wise counsel.

My heart hurts knowing that the former Chairman of the body of the Nigerian Benchers, was so precious to YOU. However, I urge Your Excellency, our own Governor, with other family members and Nigerians to take solace in God, who has the absolute power to give and take when He so pleases, for the very purposeful life,  the Late AGF had lived.

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I join other well meaning Nigerians to thank God with YOU sir, for the unprecedented  achievements recorded by Your late Dad and the outpouring of sweet testimonies and good will messages from both high and low across  the globe. That Baba touched the lives of many Nigerians positively who came across him, coupled with the legacy he left behind is my joy.

The late Patriarch of the Abdulrazaks in the Ilorin Emirate  was an ambassador of peace anywhere he found himself across the globe, in his 93 years sojourn on earth. This should comfort any soul, though no one would like to miss a very caring Dad like Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak’s father. May Allah forgive him all his sins and grant him Aljanaah Firdaus and the family the fortitude to bear the heavy loss.

As a matter of fact, the first lawyer in the entire Northern Nigeria was a lucky man, even in death. His was an undeniable Divine Providence, the supreme dispenser of our destinies, which thrusted on him supernatural access to rare privileges, which eventually made him a pace setter in most of his endeavours, both in private and public life. A few instances might just be enough to drive home this view, which were parts of God’s blessings to him.

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The record of his educational career and engagement indicated that he was courageous, vibrant and very optimistic to achieve success in life, going by his antecedent.

Therefore, it was no fluke he was among the pioneer students of the Nigerian Premier University, the University of Ibadan, admitted in 1962. After his LLB,  he was called to the  bar in February,   1955. Thus, he became the first lawyer in the entire Northern Nigeria.

However, by dint of hard work and an unparalleled passion for his chosen profession, he was privileged to be admitted to the “Inner Bar” in 1985, following his conferment with the title of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in accordance with the Legal Practitioners Act 207 Section 5 (1)  by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee.

No doubt, his new status came with fame, honour, respect and privileges, that stood him out, especially in the  Northern Nigeria, as the first lawyer among his equals.

AGF, as profoundly called by admirers, was a vibrant and forward looking man, who was full of vision and ideas. This glowing propensity was a huge asset which opened several doors of opportunities to him as a trail blazer. He was the first Commissioner for Finance in Kwara State, when the state was created on May 27, 1967 by Yakubu Gowon military government.

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Also, he was the Nigerian Ambassador to Ivory Coast between 1962-1964. Thereafter, he secured a ministerial slot as a Minister of state for Transport, as a Federal Parliament member from 1964 to 1966.
It would be recollected that the former Minister of state for Transport was the political leader of the Ilorin Emirate until Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki’s foray into politics in the early 70s. He was then the rallying point and opinion leader that was well respected, not only in the Emirate but in the entire Nothern Nigeria.

As a great educationist, he used his resources,   time and energy to promote education,  particularly at the secondary school level. His passion for growth of education informed his decision to establish what is today known as Ilorin Grammar School in 1967.
It is a thing of joy be fathered by a man of AGF Abdulrazak calibre who not only devoted his lifetime to raising  Godly children, who are very successful today in their respective areas  of callings, but to his Creator and mankind. Good Night.

Mrs. Adenike Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin, the Honourable Commissioner for Communications, Kwara State writes from Ilorin