OPINION: Engr S.A. Yahaya: The New Danmasani of the Universe. By Abubakar Imam

Date: 2019-12-20
"Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; Whoever works evil, it is against his own soul:Nor is thy Lord ever unjust(in the least) to his servants".

---Surat Fusilat Q41 V 46

When, in 1995,shortly after his glorious accession to the stool of his illustrious progenitors, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman, Kwara State Council of Emirs and Obas, Alhaji (Dr.)Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR, while turbaning a chief appointed by his Uncle and immediate predecessor, Mallam Aliyu Abdulkadir (1918-1992),authoritatively declared that chieftaincy titles in his domain ,particularly honourary ones during his reign, would always go to those who actually deserve them.

The foremost Jurist explained, to the applause of his subjects, who witnessed the event, that neither the wealth nor the positions of eminence or authority held by "aspiring individuals" will be considered good enough for a title but that evaluation of their eligibility shall be premised on evidential contributions to the development of the Emirate and humanity at large.

While it is incontrovertibly clear that the revered Jurist has walked his talk with the high caliber of personalities conferred with one title or the other in his eventful quarter of a century on the universally-respected throne, it appears as if the highly-venerated Monarch made the vow in anticipation of the prestigious title of Danmasani of Ilorin, being conferred on Engr. Suleiman Ayinde Yahaya, a resourceful entrepreneur, versatile professional, prolific technocrat, unassuming philanthropist, outstanding administrator and a paragon in community service, today, Friday December 20,2019.

Without doubt, the "cap of honour" being placed on the "crowded head" of this extraordinary gentleman, humble tactician and accomplished personality perfectly befits him from every parameter of assessment. Unarguably, he has done quite well for himself and his community in his over three decades of eventful career as a public servant, community leader and, hitherto unofficial, Ambassador plenipotentiary of Ilorin Emirate every where he served.

Engr. Suleiman Ayinde Yahaya; who is named after the sixth Emir of Ilorin, Oba Suleiman ibn Aliyu, during whose reign, between 1896 and 1915,Ilorin was first opened to "modern civilisation", is well-known across Ilorin, "the renowned sanctuary of saints, scholars and soldiers" as Oba Alapasanpa. He was born in Ilorin on 2nd October, 1955, to a very humble but respected family known for service, patriotism, generousity and piety. He hails from the popular Alapansanpa family of Alore Quarters in the ancient city of Ilorin.The particular axis of Alore community, to which the new Danmasani belongs by birth, has produced so many other distinguished personalities.His foremost Alore compatriots included the celebrated author of many impactful Arabic texts, Shaykh Abubakar Sidiq Agbarigidoma (1914-2001); the first Ilorin-born Professor of Islamic Studies, Shaykh Musa Ajetumobi (1949-2008); a famous horse-rider of the 1950s Ilorin, Olorunmako Alore, and, of course, Shaykh AbdulRaheem Aminullahi Oniwasi-Agbaiye (1930-2012),the extremely brilliant penultimate Chief Missioner of the Ansarul Islam Society of Nigeria.The last of these eminent personalities performed the "task" of enrolling the young Oba Alapansanpa in school sequel to the death of his father, a year earlier, to mention a few.

His late father was Alhaji Yahaya Alapansanpa (d.1962), a successful merchant based at Akure, the capital of the present-day Ondo State, and one of the last set of pilgrims from Ilorin who engaged on Hajj mostly on foot but with the intermittent support of other means of transportation, aside air. He performed the Hajj in 1945.The new Danmasani's mother was the late Alhaja Aishat Yahaya (d.1999), a daughter to the popular Alagbede family of Ode-Adanna in the same axis of Ilorin. This man of destiny has just two full-siblings. Dr. AbdulHameed Yahaya, who retired from the famous Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna, as a Chief Lecturer, is his elder brother while his younger sister is Hajiya Kuburat Ambali Abdulkareem, a Mathematician, who retired as the Principal, Ansarul Islam Secondary School(Junior Section),Ilorin.

Engr. Yahaya began his fascinating academic career at the Ansarul Islam Primary School, Okemale, Ilorin; where he received his First School Leaving Certificate in 1969.His contemporaries at the first school established by the pioneer Grand Mufti of Ilorin, the late Shaykh Muhammad Kamaldeen Al-Adabiy MFR, OFR(1905-2005),included a retired Director of the Department of State Services, Alhaji Oba Aliyu Usman (O.A.U);the current National Secretary of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union, Prof. Abubakar Siddiq Afunku; Engr. Saka Salman Atagisoro, a retired high-ranking staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Alhaji Yahaya Ishola, a retired top-notch of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the immediate past Secretary to the Government of Kwara State, Alhaji Sola Isiaka Gold.

Between 1970 and 1974,the new Danmasani was trained at the famous Government Secondary School, Ilorin, where he obtained his West African School Certificate in flying colours. He was taught by many outstanding teachers including the current Khalifa Adabiyyah and one-time Commissioner for Education in Kwara State, Shaykh Ahmad Olayiwola Kamaldeen Al-Adabiyy (b.1938) and the late Alhaji Saka Saadu OFR(1938-2017), a one-time Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Education. The two were also old students of the School, which they left in 1951 and 1959,respectively.His contemporaries at the Great G.S.S. Ilorin, the premier secondary school in Kwara State, were Prof. Abdulkareem Yakubu Gobir of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Alhaji Saka Salman, Mr. Gboyega Awoniyi, Alhaji Suleiman Oba (Obafemi) Kuranga, who retired from the First Bank of Nigeria; Dr. Olayaju Yekini, an Ilorin-based Medical Doctor and Engr. Tanimola Obaro, a distinguished Computer Engineer and founder of System Spec, which designed the popular Single Treasury Account(TSA),as well as the Chief Judge of Kwara State, Hon. Justice Suleiman Durosinlorun Kawu.

This beloved Danmasani then proceeded to the School of Basic Studies of the then Kwara State College of Technology, (now Kwara State Polytechnic), Ilorin, where he successfully earned the GCE "A" Level in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in collaboration with the Cambridge University. He successfully ran the pre-degree course between 1974 and 1976.At the oldest institution of higher learning in Kwara State, he met, as colleagues on the same course, Dr. Salihu Olomoda, a retired Navy Captain; Alhaji Layiwola Olatunji,a retired professional Builder with the Federal Capital Development Authority(FCDA),Abuja; the late Alhaji Bayo Nababa, who retired as a senior officer of the Nigerian Customs Service, and Senator Isiaka Adebayo Salman, a Medical Doctor and politician, who represented the Kwara Central Senatorial District at the Senate between 1999 and 2003,among others, who later distinguished themselves in life.

This celebrated Engineer received professional training at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, from 1976 to 1980 at the end of which he received his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. His contemporaries at the first University in the Northern part of Nigeria, often regarded as "the largest South of Sahara (Desert) and North of (River) Limpopo", included the Chief Executive of Hybrid Construction Company, Ilorin, Engr. Ahmed Kola Ibrahim; the former Chief Medical Director of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Prof. Suleiman Alege Kuranga; Justice Lambo Jimoh Akanbi, a former Commissioner for Information and Culture in Kwara State, who later retired from the bench of the Federal High Court; Alhaji Kamilu Kayode Gold, a retired top-brass at the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority; the first Nigerian Muslim Professor of Ophtamology, Prof. Mahmoud AbdulRaheem; Alhaji Sheikh Salau Elekoyangan, a retired General Manager of the Nigerian Iron-Ore and Chemicals Company, Itakpe, Kogi State, and Alhaji AbdulAzeez Saleeman, a retired Deputy Director at the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, and, of course, the current Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe.

Engr. Yahaya's relentless determination in the pursuit of managerial skills and knowledge, even as an high-flying official of a "Grade A" federal establishment, encouraged him to attend the Lagos State University, Ojoo, where he studied between 2000 and 2002 eventually leading to the deserved award of Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) of the first state-owned University in Nigeria.

As soon as he completed his mandatory Youth Service programme at the West African Portland Cement Company (WAPCO), Ewekoro, Ogun State; Engr. Yahaya joined the services of the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in 1981, which he picked out of eight (8) different fascinating job offers he received from various corporate outfits and governmental agencies. The many offers were informed by his deep knowledge and exciting competence in the field of Electric Engineering. Among the establishments which enticed him with mouth-watering employment and emoluments were the WAPCO, the largest cement factory in West Africa; the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills, the Federal Ministry of Works, the Kwara State Ministry of Works, the Top Breweries and, of course, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), which, he chose because the job he would do was what he was academically-equipped for. He also saw NEPA as an avenue that would offer him the privilege of offering better services to humanity and, most especially, to his community, which, as at that time, had very few of her sons (and daughters, if any) in its employ.

It was not only Engr. Yahaya who was attracted to NEPA that year. Forty-five (45) fresh graduates satfor the qualifying examination at Abeokuta Centre. Only 7 of the applicants were shortlisted for interview the same day and only two of them were finally picked by 8.00p.m of that very day.He subsequently under gone two years of intensive pupilage,which exposed him to every aspect of power chain.He was at Onitsha,Lagos,Kanji and Jos where he was inculcated with the right magnitude and quality of skills needed to excel in the nation's power industry.The pupilage lasted two years.

Upon his successful completion of the series of training,where he was found worthy and fit for the task ahead, Engr.Yahaya worked in several capacities and locations across the nation as an high-flying staff of the erstwhile monopolistic power firm in Nigeria; (NEPA).

He was the Mains Engineer and later an Undertaking Manager at the strategic Onitsha Undertaking of NEPA between 1983 and 1986 and from 1986 to 1987,respectively.His dexterity and efficiency at managing power supply in the very thickly-populated and cosmopolitan commercial nerve centre of the eastern part of Nigeria was astonishing to the dwellers of the city. His performances were, however, unsurprising to those who knew him from the beginning as a competent professional who prioritised excellent service delivery.

His alluring competence and scintillating discharge of duties encouraged the management of the power outfit to appoint him as the Operation and Maintenance Superintendent (OMS) at the Minna District of the Authority. He was further challenged with the higher position of Senior Manager (Distribution) also at Minna, Niger State,which he handled between 1987 and 1991.While in Minna, he was saddled with the responsibility of relocating the infrastructural facilities of the Authority to pave way for the expansion of the road network connecting Zungeru to Minna and Minna to Abuja.It is on record that he rendered the task to specifications and satisfactorily,which was done in preparation for the eventual relocation of the seat of government from Lagos to Abuja by the administration of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.It was there that he met and interacted with the Minna,Niger State-born retired Four-Star General.He also met the then Minister of Works & Housing,the late Major-General Mamman Kontagora.

He was, thereafter, posted to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital,which is also the largest indigenous West African city,where he worked between 1991 and 1992 as the Senior Manger in- charge of Distribution.The heterogeneity and complexity of Ibadan,the capital of the old Western Region,evidently underscored the responsibility he shouldered to ensure regular electricity supply to Ibadan and, in fact,the entire Oyo State. It was while there that he first met his late compatriot,Major-General Abdulkareem Bakare Adisa(1948-2006),who,as a Colonel,was the Military Governor of the State.

Engr.Yahaya was also the Senior Manager(Distribution) at Osogbo from 1992 to 1996.His posting to the State was informed by the need to offer adequate support for the new State, which was just carved-out of the erstwhile Oyo State.He rendered a yeo-man's job to the satisfaction of the people and government of the then newly-created "State of the Living-Spring" under the leadership of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke,the late Asiwaju of Ede.

His consistently demonstrated competence and admirable leadership qualities coupled with high integrity as diluted by only perfect human relations accounted for his rapid promotion.Following his octane performances at Osogbo,he was deservedly promoted and transferred to Kaduna,the erstwhile headquarters of the defunct Northern Region, as the District Manager, Kaduna.He was in Kaduna from 1996 to 2000.His four years services at Kaduna were remarkable in high quality service delivery and it was there that he was first "closely noticed" by the Royal Palace of Ilorin as a promising leader due to his untainted patriotism and infectious humility.

As a golden fish,which has no hidden place,Engr.Yahaya was again posted from Kaduna to Festac Town District in Lagos,where he worked as the District Manager from 2001 and 2002.The District was a very densely populated hub of politics, businesses and industries, which required high quality,regular and unhindered power supply.The new Danmasani lived up-to expectations as his tenure would forever be remembered by the residents of his geographic jurisdiction and members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria(M.A.N),which,prior to his coming,never had it so good.

His series of successes endeared him to the highest pedestal of the electricity industry as alluded to by the erstwhile Managing Director of NEPA,Mr.Joseph Makoju mni,OFR,who says:

Engr.Yahaya was one of the key players in the crack team I mobilised for the turn-around management and reform of the sector.Engr.Yahaya was not only a highly-competent professional Engineer but he was endowed withexcellent human relations skills and natural leadership qualities which he put to great usein his remarkable results,achieved by units under his charge even with limited resources at their disposal.He was indeed a great turn around manager and a people's oriented leader.

The summation of the above observations and similar ones from other bosses of the new Danmasani might have consequently informed his appointment as an Assistant General Manager(Distribution),Ikeja Distribution Zone(Lagos North),where he served from 2002 to 2003.He also held the office of the Head, (Technical Services) of the Eko Distribution Zone(Lagos South) between 2003 and 2004.The two segments,undoubtedly, constituted the most strategic,the most intricate and the most complex,operational-wise,in the network of the Nigerian electricity sector and the most commercially-significant, considering the fact that the two feed more than 70% of the industrial and manufacturing base of Nigeria.

His relentless qualitative service delivery and infectious managerial skills were again rewarded(or do I say tasked)as he was among the leading power technocrats selected to test run,at the highest pedestal,the agenda of the Federal Government to privatise the nation's power sector.He was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the unbundled Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company(KEDC),under the then Power Holding Company of Nigeria.He creditably held the position between 2008 and 2009.While holding the office, he was in charge of all activities that have to do with power supply, distribution, maintenance and marketing in the over 70% of the electricity network of the politically-strategic North-West Region of Nigeria,which cuts across Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States.

His enormous successes at Kaduna and the need for a tested and trusted manager of human and material resources to preside-over the affairs of the power industry, South-East of Nigeria informed his choice,in November,2009,as the Managing Director of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company(EEDC),which covers Abia,Anambra, Ebonyi,Enugu and Imo States where he served between 2009 and 2012.

Sequel to his glowing success at restoring sanity to the hitherto problematic Disco, which EEDC had become in the nation's electricity industry, he was deservedly appointed as the substantive Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the same Company. He was at EEDC till November 2013 where he eventually retired from the public service after 32 years of meritorious services.

Upon his retirement from public service,he set up a consulting firm named Alpha Power Systems and Energy Consulting Limited, Abuja,through which he made his colourful expertise and profound experience available to the further improve services of the nation's power sector.In acknowledgement of his prowess in power system analysis and wide experience coupled with his deep knowledge of the nation's power sector's chain value,the Federal Government of Nigeria,after a very competitive bidding, awarded his firm a project;

THE DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION OF ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION AND CONSTRUCTION OF STANDARD GUIDILINE MANUAL FOR THE DISTRIBUTION SUB-SECTOR OF THE POWER INDUSTRY.

His celebrated productivity and superlative performances are not surprising.Aside his exciting brilliance and other innate qualities,he had the privilege of functional participation in no fewer than 25 high-level and relevant power sector- related trainings, conferences and workshops within and outside Nigeria, which greatly sharpened his professional skills,broadened his engineering wherewithal and widened his administrative wizardry.Among these were Workshop on Copper Cable Manufacturing held at the United Kingdom and Poland in 2004;Executive Management Course in South Africa in 2006;Workshop on Design and Best Practices in Transformer Maintenance in India in 2006;Conference on Modern Metering Facilities in Beijing and Shanghai,Republic of China in 2006;Best Practice in Power Distribution Management at Virginia,USA in 2007;Underground Electrical Distribution System Course in 2007;High Potential Leadership Programme in South Africa in 2007;Best Practice in Power Distribution Management at the Advanced Research Institute,Arlington, Virginia, USA;Management Advancement Programme on High Performance Leadership at the University of Legion, Accra, Ghana; Nigerian Power Forum in Tokyo, Japan, in 2013;Global Mini-Master of Public Administration at Rutgers University, New Jersey,USA in 2013; African Investment Summit in New York, USA,in 2013 and Leadership Best Practices at the Harvard Business School, USA, in 2014,to mention a few.

Engr. Yahaya, an unassuming philanthropist, is a respected Fellow of three distinguished professional bodies namely the Nigerian Society of Engineers(NSE), the Institute of Sales Management of Nigeria(ISMN) and the Institute of Industrialist and Corporate Administration(IICA).He is as well a Member of the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria(COREN) and the Nigerian Institute of Management(NIM).

Any piece on this extraordinary personality would be incomplete without a generous mention of his contributions to the all-round development of Ilorin Emirate. His endless sojourn in the struggle "for the love of our people" started right from his secondary school days when he became a functional member of the then Ilorin Students Union(ISU).His interest at developing the Emirate garnered more strength when he was enrolled at ABU, Zaria.He was the Assistant National Secretary of the Ilorin Students Union during the presidency of the late Lawyer Saadu Abdulkareem Duro Alawaye between 1977 and 1978.He was also involved in the emergence of a retired Assistant Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service,Alhaji Abdulmumini Ayo AbdulMalik, as the National President of the ISU from 1978 to 1979.He,along with Senator Isiaka Adebayo Salman,constituted the two-man Electoral Committee,which organised the historic elections held at the Pakata Primary School,Ilorin,where the Hon.Justice Lambo Jimoh Akanbi emerged as the President whoran the then vibrant Union,who ran its affairs between1979 and 1980.The duo introduced ballot box system in the annals of Students Union elections in Ilorin Emirate.Justice Akanbi ran the affairs of the Union prelude to the inauguration of the Second Republic with the support of Danmasani and others.

After his graduation from the University and upon been gainfully employed, he and his contemporaries felt the need to offer more qualitative interventions in community development.They collectively gave birth to the defunct Ilorin City Club(I.C.C).The club was a conglomerate of selected Ilorin indigenes who graduated from the University between 1977 and 1981.Members of the Club included most of those previously mentioned and the immediate past National President of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union(IEDPU),Ambassador Sheikh Usman AbdulAzeez, fwc;the late Alhaji Nuru Oniyangi;Alhaji Funsho Aikore;Dr.Ayodeji Jimoh;a veteran Journalist and Publisher of the defunct Ilorin (Kwara)Watch,Mallam Yunoos AbdulRahman and Alhaji Muritala Shehu, who retired as a Permanent Secretary in the Kwara State Public Service,among others.

Despite his series of professional successes and tight engagement,this outstanding Engineer always found time to fraternise with the people of Ilorin sojourning at his various stations.He was a functional member and generous supporter of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union(IEDPU) everywhere he served.Be it in the Northern,Eastern and Western parts of Nigeria.He was so involved in the activities of the Union that he became and served as a Vice-President of the Union,representing the Western Zone.That was between 2003 and 2007.He was so popular within the Union that he was "drafted" into the race for her presidency in 2017,a privilege he politely turned down because of his deep professional commitment outside Ilorin,the operational base of the umbrella socio-cultural organisation of people of Ilorin Emirate and,which took him round the federation of Nigeria between 2017 and 2019,among other factors.

It is also important to say that Engr.Yahaya is one professional who always feel concerned about the inclement situations of his people in his chosen field,electricity.He was the brain behind the gigantic power project located at Ganmon by the Federal Government of Nigeria.It was his encounter with the late Second Republic Senate Leader and the 3rd Waziri of Ilorin,Dr.Abubakar Olusola Saraki(1933-2012),at an IEDPU event in Lagos,coupled with the active support of the then Governor Bukola Saraki and others,that led to the construction of the outfit as the first successfully-completed National Integrated Power Project(NIPP) in Nigeria!

The efforts of the new Danmasami also resulted in the construction of the Adeta Injection Sub-Station,located within the precinct of the Government High School,Ilorin(an institution earlier established in1967 by Alhaji A.G.F.AbdulRasaq SAN,OFR(b.1927), the father of the Kwara State Governor,Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq.)He had suggested to the then power that be and worked-out the construction of the project with a view to reducing pressure on the aged power facility at Sawmill,Ilorin.The project was also targeted at improving power supply to the indigenous segments of Ilorin.The other facility, he attracted to Ilorin to further aid more quality and regular power supply,which is nearing completion,is located at Oko-Olowo on Ilorin-Igbeti Highway.

Engr.Yahaya had earlier in the early 1990s worked with an equally patriotic senior colleague in the erstwhile NEPA,Mallam Isiaka AbdulRasaq,the retired Chief Financial Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(N.N.P.C),who was the then General Manager,Investment and Treasury, of the Authority,which led to the installation of more than 30 number of Distribution Transformer across the city of Ilorin to boost power supply.

This unassuming community leader did not stopped at facilitating power infrastructures to Ilorin and its environs. His record of achievements as regards the human capital development of the Emirate, in the realm of job provision and career progression, is also profoundly pleasant. No fewer than 100 indigenes of Ilorin were assisted into the power sector through his patriotic interventions. Many of such individuals, who are University graduates, are, today, high-ranking officials working in various units of all the successor-companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria across Nigeria.

This exceptional patriot also bankrolled the education of several indigent but brilliant younger compatriots who he sponsored through school. The bursary scheme, named after his father, was handled by Dr. Yusuf Lanre Babaita, the present Head, Department of Metallurgical Engineering, University of Ilorin and Lawyer Ismail Slade, who teaches in the Faculty of Law of the same University, catered for those who pursued Western andIslamic education.The two were the President and Public Relations Officer of the Alore Youth Development Association,respectively.He also offered other forms of support to several individuals and organisations in so many qualitative ways many of which are not announced in conformity with his style of giving and not telling others. Engr. Yahaya was also the sole sponsor of a biographical project,which features the careers of about 100 prominent and successful indigenes of Alore Quarters in 2003.The project,which was undertook by the Alore Youth Development Association(AYDA),was the first of its kind in Ilorin Emirate and it propelled similar intellectually-stimulating undertakings by the people of Adewole and Pakata areas of Ilorin, some years after.

Although the infectious impact of this outstanding patriot in the socio-economic development of Nigeria, through his over three decades of eventful services in the nation's power sector, cannot be controverted; his illustrious contributions to the all-round development of Ilorin Emirate are excitingly marvelous!

For some years, his name has been associated with the cultural rejuvenation projects of Ilorin Emirate. He is, at present, the Chairman of the impactful Ilorin Emirate Durbar Committee, which has consistently and consecutively organised two fascinating Durbar festivals that attracted the attention and attendance of people from all walks of life and from all over the world to Ilorin. Just a few weeks ago a Committee he headed organised a very successful public presentation of "Arabic Manuscript in Ilorin Emirate" a fascinating book authored by Prof. Moshood Mahmood Jimba of the Kwara State University, Malete. The event attracted highly distinguished dignitaries from all walks of life and from all-over the country.

His efforts, here and there, have not being unsung. It is on record that he politely excused himself from close to twenty chieftaincy titles from so many appreciative communities that were amazed by his exemplary contributions to the progress of their home-stead,particularly using the instrumentality of his several good offices over the years,on principle.

Despite his unassuming nature, he could not reject over seventy of such honours, which came from institutions of higher learning, professional outfits and Islamic religious bodies. A few of such honours are Musaidu-Deen of the Alore "Main" Mosque,Ilorin; Faarul Islam of Masarul-Al-Adabiy Society; Zaenudeen of Shaykh Tajul Adabiyy Mosque, Abayawo, Ilorin; a Certificate of Merit conferred on him by the Zaria chapter of the Jamaatul Nasril Islam under the umbrella of the Emir of Zaria, Alhaji Shehu Idris CFR; Merit Award from the Council of Muslims Organisations under the banner of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari CFR, and the title of Aare Musulumi of the Zumuratul Soliheena Society of Nigeria, Osogbo, under the leadership of Sheikh AbdulWahab Afonta. He also received so many other awards from various chapters of the Ilorin Emirate Students Union(IESU);the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive(Branches),and,of course, from the G.S.S, Ilorin Old Students Association, which later imposed the office of its National President on him.

Besides, he has received several other honours, awards and commendations from various communities, institutions, organisations and most importantly from the nation's power regulatory body, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)including three different stimulating Letters of Commendation from His Excellency, the former Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sullivan Chime, and His Excellency, the former Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha as well as from His Excellency, the former Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo GCON, when he was the Executive Governor of Kaduna State; the trio wrote to salute his exemplary dedication to the services of his fatherland in their respective jurisdictions. Those are addition to several religious titles conferred on him in appreciation of his devotion to the services of Allah and humanity. He was recently awarded a meritorious award of the Centre for Ilorin Studies of the University of Ilorin for his outstanding services to humanity and most especially to the progress of the institution's host community.

It was, therefore, not surprising when he was recently appointed as the Danmasani of Ilorin by His Royal Highness, Alhaji(Dr.)Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari,CFR, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman, Kwara State Council of Emirs and Chiefs, in appreciation of his enormous contributions to the development of his ancestral community. The unpunctuated commendations, loud salutations, repeated applause and sonorous ovations the appointment attracted from all and sundry, and particularly from the informed segment, confirmed the glowing place of the new Danmasani in the minds of the good people of Ilorin Emirate, Kwara State and Nigeria.

This distinguished son of Ilorin; who enjoys reading, travelling and table tennis as hobbies, is also a remarkable polyglot. His upbringing and sojourn in other places, outside his place of birth, has imbued in him the "universatility" expected of an urbane personality and modern leader of an heterogeneous community like Ilorin. His friends, who are so many, that a book of many volumes would be needed to capture, cut across social, economic, religious and political strata of our. He is an "integrational figure", who is at home every wherever he visits, but exceptionally admired by the less-privileged members of Ilorin community, for whom he cares most with all it has pleases Allah to bless him with. Despite his alluring closeness to the youthful segment of the community, Engr. Yahaya also maintained close relationship with respected elders of Ilorin. Apart from the Emir with whom he has been Associated with for more than two decades,he was also very close to the first Mufti of Ilorin,Shaykh Muhammad Kamaldeen Al-Adabiy and his worthy successors, Shaykh Khidir Salaudeen Apaokagi Al-Adabiyy(1917-2013) and Shaykh Sofiyulahi Kamaldeen Al-Adabiyy(1926-2014).He was also at home with Shaykh AbdulRaheem Aminulahi Oniwasi-Agbaiye, who was like his uncle, and the pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Hon.Justice Mustapha Akanbi(1932-2018) as he is to the Grand Mukadam of Ilorin, Shaykh Suleiman Abubakar Sooro(Dan Borno);he is also fraternal with the Talba of Ilorin, Prof.Shuaib Oba AbdulRaheem,OFR(b.1947);the Zanna of Ilorin, Engr.Yusuf Olarewaju Sagaya, MON,OFR(b.1946);and,of course, the Mudirul Markaz, Agege, Shaykh Habibulahi Adam Abdullah Al-Ilory, OON(1958), among other distinguished elder statesmen, from whom he drank from their wealth of wisdom.

The new Danmasani speaks English, Hausa, Igbo and, of course, Yoruba as well as a lot of pigeon English which exposes him to all and sundry! Is he not a balanced Nigerian? He is.

Engr. Yahaya is happily married to Princess Aishat Adunola.His elegant spouse is a daughter to the late charming Prince, Kawu Kolawole(d.2012),of the Abdulkadir lineage of Aiyelabowo Royal Dynasty of Ilorin. His married to that beautiful Nurse and home-maker is blessed with three outstanding children, who are successful professionals in their own rights. He is equally blessed with six promising grandchildren.

The new Danmasani, who succeeds the late Alhaji Hassan Taiwo Abdulkadir (1943-2011),a distinguished statesman and retired Deputy Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, has visited all the major countries across all the continents of the world for business, learning and leisure at various times.

The prayers on the lips of every patriot within and across Ilorin Emirate, and even beyond, is for the almighty Allah(SWT) to grant this bridge-builder, unifying factor, flag-flying hero and exemplary statesman long life, sound health and more prosperity. I also beseech Allah to afford him every other thing he would require to succeed in the responsibilities of the title and to enable him contributes more to the advancement of our community and over all progress of Nigeria

Imam is the

National Publicity Secretary,

Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union.

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