Opinion: Abdul-Ganiyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq: Gone, Yet Evergreen In Our Memories. By Bashir Adigun

Date: 2020-07-29

There is no doubt that the late Mutawali of Ilorin has left indelible footprints on all areas of human endeavours in Nigeria. He has lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation, not only by the people he left behind in his family, but for all young Nigerians who aspire to live exemplary lives.

The late Alhaji Abdul Ganiyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq, popularly known as AGF, was the first lawyer from Northern Nigeria. Baba AGF Abdul-Razaq was a senior advocate of Nigeria, life bencher, member of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), and Grande Officer De La Ordre National, Cote D’Ivoire. He was a foremost lawyer, teacher, politician, humanist, philanthropist and, above all, a Nigerian who loved his people. The Tafida of Zazzau and Mutawalin, Ilorin was a man of many first, not only in the North but the whole of Nigeria.

Baba Abdul-Razaq, the first child of his parents, was the first indigene of the Ilorin emirate and Northern Nigeria to have acquired early education in Igbo land and South-South Nigeria at both primary and secondary school levels. He was also the first Ilorin indigene to gain admission for university education in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom, and the first northern Nigerian to qualify as a lawyer and barrister-at-law.

He was the first Ilorin indigene to be appointed Nigeria's ambassador to a foreign land, first to be a federal mMinister and he was the pioneer commissioner for Finance and later commissioner for Health in the old Kwara State, from 1967-1972.

As the legal adviser to the Northern People's Congress (NPC), Baba AGF was a member of the 1957 London constitutional conference, where he exhibited brilliance, to the surprise of older delegates at the conference. He played a major role in the conference and the commission of inquiry, which was later set up to ensure that Ilorin and Kabba province remain part of Northern Nigeria

According to an elder statesman and the most read contemporary author on the history of the Ilorin emirate, Alhaji L.A.K Jimoh, Alhaji AGF Abdul-Razaq’s leading contributions in the creation of Kwara State and his inestimable legal victory for all traditional rulers and chieftaincy title holders to be turbaned, like in the rest of the North, alonside the retention of land resources by what is today the Ilorin emirate, and his singular establishment of the then Ilorin College, now Government High School, Adeta, as the first individual private school in the State, made the late AGF Abdul-Razaq a leading reference in patriotism to the younger generation in the Ilorin emirate and the State in general.

Sharing the same view, another statesman and a leader of the progressives in the fight for the liberation of Kwara State in the last four decades, Chief Wole Oke, described Baba AGF Abdul-Razaq as the leading contributor, inspirator and supporter of the creation of Moro and Asa Local Government Areas, over three decades ago, at a time when the overwhelming majority of the elites in the polity could not see the benefits for the creation of the two local governments

There is no doubt that the late Mutawali of Ilorin has left indelible footprints on all areas of human endeavours in Nigeria. He has lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation, not only by the people he left behind in his family, but for all young Nigerians who aspire to live exemplary lives.

The Tafida Zazzau is gone but he would remain ever green in our memories.

May the Almighty Allah grant him Aljanah Firdous and comfort all those he left behind. ( Amin)

Bashir Adigun, a journalist, lives in Abuja.

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