LAGOS – Muslims in north and south of Nigeria have been thrown into a mourning mood following the death on Wednesday of deputy president-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao.
"The President notes that Alhaji Arisekola-Alao will always be remembered and honored, especially for the remarkable entrepreneurial skills with which he established many successful businesses and created jobs for numerous Nigerians, as well as for his religious leadership and philanthropic gestures," Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement by his spokesman Reuben Abati that was obtained by OnIslam.net correspondent.
"He [Jonathan] prays that God Almighty will receive Alhaji Arisekola-Alao's soul and grant him eternal rest."
Head of Nigeria’s Yoruba Muslims Dead
Arisekola Alao passed away at the age of 69 on Wednesday morning, June 18, in London after a protracted illness from prostate cancer according to the news declared by the son of the Muslim leader and Personal Assistant, Luqman.
The Muslim figure, a business mogul and elder statesman, was until his death the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland. The title roughly translates as president of the Muslim community across the Yoruba-speaking southwest.
The news of his death spread shock and grief among the Nigerian community, either Muslims or non-Muslims.
"His death came as a shock; how I wish he could live longer with us because of his contributions to the traditional, Islamic and political system in the country,” Hon. Lasun Yussuff, a member of the House of Representatives, told OnIslam.net, adding that the late Arisekola-Alao epitomizes Islamic tendencies.
“His opinions were always sought for and cannot be discountenanced by the stakeholders. No doubt, a big vacuum has just been created by his demise which would take a very long time to find someone to fill," he added.
Moreover, Professor Femi Odulana, a Christian and first son of the monarch of Ibadan town southwest Nigeria where Arisekola-Alao hailed from, described him as a tolerant and bride-building community leader who knew the Bible very well.
"He knew the bible so well that he offered to read the first reading during the centenary celebration of my father at St. Peter's Church on April 14. That showed he was a balanced religious leader," Professor Odulana said.
"It's a big loss to all of us and I don't know how to break the news to Olubadan who is like a father to him."
Reacting to the grieving news, the Oyo State Government declared seven days of mourning following the death of Arisekola-Alao.
“The Oyo State Government has declared seven days mourning for the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao,” Senior Special Adviser on Media to Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Dr Festus Adedayo, made the disclosure late night on Wednesday in Ibadan.
“The state government has also declared Friday, June 20, 2014 a public holiday, as mark of respect for the spirit of the departed soul.”
Mudasiru Hussain, a senator representing Osun West Senatorial District in the Nigerian parliament, described the death of late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland as shocking.
He added that his loss will affect the whole Nigerian community, not only the people of Oyo state.
“He was a good man who contributed immensely to the development of humanity. It is a great loss not only to the people of Oyo state, but to all Nigerians. The Muslim community will miss him,” the senator told OnIslam.net.
According to him, Arisekola-Alao has major contributions to political terrain in Oyo State and supported the sustenance of democracy in the country.
“Nigerian leaders have a lot of good things to learn from him and that includes his transparency, humility and kindness. He was an advocate of peaceful co-existence irrespective of religion and ethnic colorations and above all, a strong believer in God," he said.
Who is Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao:
Born in Ibadan in 1945, Aare Arisekola was the Chairman/Managing Director of Lister Group of Companies with investments in auto sales and spare parts, oil and gas, flour mills, news media, real estates, banking, and among others.
He was turbaned the Aare Musulumi of Yoruba land by the Imams and Alfas in the South-West of Nigeria in 1980 for his commitment to the propagation of Islam, generosity, and philanthropy.
He was the Patron of Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), National Council of Muslim Youths Organization of Nigeria (NACOMYO), federation of Muslim Women Organization of Nigeria (FOMWAN), and many more.
It will be recalled that Aare Arisekola set up that Grand Council of Muslim Organization of Nigeria to unite all Muslims in the country and later merged with the NSCIA.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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