Opinion

Imam Abdulwahab Onipe: Tribute to a brother

 

By Abdulwahab Oba

“Out, out brief candle.  Life’s but a walking shadow A poor player that struts and frets  his hour upon the stageAnd he’s heard no more.It’s but a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury. Signifying NOTHING”…William Shakespeare.

“Salaam alaikun, Sir”, my wife answered the call made through his phone. “Give the phone to daddy”, Najeeb directed my wife.  I hurriedly and enthusiastically received the phone hoping to hear the voice of the owner, Sheikh Imam Abdulwahab, who I had made frantic efforts to reach the previous night, thinking he was responding to my calls to him.

Before I departed to Abuja on Monday before his death, he was supposed to go for some tests at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. So, I had frantically wanted to know the results. But rather than hear the voice of Imam Abdulwahab, the pillar of our family, the one, flag-bearer of our family heritage, bridge between the young and the elderly, Najeeb, his eldest son, murmured “Hajj Imam is dead”.

Allah is great! Allah is great!! Allah is great!!! With his death our family has lost a worthy son, an Islamic scholar, a pious and easy going Imam. God is great. Born in 1955, Imam Olountoyin Abdulwahab attended Ansarul Islam Primary School from where he proceeded to Arabic Training College (Markaz), Agege. He graduated with distinction and proceeded to Al-Azhar University Cairo in Egypt. Imam Olountoyin Abdulwahab also attended King Saudi University, Riyald, Saudi Arabia before returning home in 1981 to commence his teaching and preaching career, a profession he long prepared for. He was chief Imam Nawarudeen in Ilorin and Imam Popo Igbonna mosque.

An epitome of what an Imam should be, Imam Olountoyin died on the 30th of May after a brief illness. Alas! Daddy Najeeb has departed this sinful world. No one for us again to consult. The stabiliser has gone. The agent of peace and unity has left us on our own. Nurudeen will not see his dad again. Najeeb has missed a counsellor. Naheem will no longer see his caring father. Nusirat has forever lost her guidance. The Onipe family is bereaved of a worthy ambassador, a role model.

Mummy Najeeb will no longer be in company of her heartthrob, her sweetheart. What an ephemeral world! What a world of vanity!! What a meaningless world!!! Today, you are young and agile, tomorrow, are old, weak and feeble. Today, you are a celebrity, tomorrow, no one remembers your name. Life is indeed vanity upon vanity. Living will be worthless if we cannot bequeath a worthy legacy. I was amazed at the crowd that attended both the Janazat and five days prayer for Imam Abdulwahab. It was a testimony that he lived a worthy life.

I  pray that friends, relatives and those that I deeply care for would never witness this kind of calamity. I beseech God to show you His love and power.  O’ Allah, strengthen our faith  at this moment to withstand this trial. We are pain, please give us peace and blessing. O’ Allah, let people gather to celebrate our seasons of blessing, success, victory and favour but not sympathise and condole us any more. Let no one cry or mourn concerning our families any more.

We thank all those who identified and sympathised with us as we sadly close another eventful chapter in the history of our family. We most sincerely appreciate the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Imam Muhammad Bashir Soliu; Imam Imale, Sheikh Abdullah Abdulhammeed; Imam Yaqub Aliagan and other notable Imams who helped in the Janazat prayer and repose of our brother.

We thank the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, Secretary to Kwara State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Shola Gold, Chief of State, Government House, Ilorin, Alhaji Babatunde Yusuf for their messages of encouragement, condolences and visits. May Allah meet you at the points of your needs. May your enemies tremble under your feets.

We thank Niqoobat Markaziyin for their presence, their prayers and admonition. We specially  appreciate the support of Mudirul Markaz, Sheikh Habeebullah Adam and the presence of Dr Yusuf Ilala, Dr Abdulkadir Sambaky, Registrar, JAMB, Prof. Ishiaq Oloyede and other old students of Markaz. May you continue to grow in Knowledge and wisdom.

I sincerely appreciate  the supoort and presence of SSA  Media and Communications to His Excellency, Dr Muideen Akorede,  Managing Director, National Pilot Newspapers, Biliaminu Adedamola, General Managers, Herald Newspapers and Radio Kwara, Abdulrazak Adebayo Laro and Adedeji Adebowale, respectively, Mashood Adebimpe, Tunde Akanbi, chairman, NUJ, Kwara State Council, Abiodun Abdulkareem, Chairman, correspondents chapel of kwara NUJ, Mr Layiwola Bolaji Olarewaju and other members of the NUJ, chief Mukadam of Ilorin, Sheikh Suleiman Dan Borno, members of Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union, IEDPU, CMD, General Hospital, Dr Olookoba, Hajj Abdulkadir Onilemarun Abdulkadir, Alhaji Sheu Gafar, Permanent Secretary, SUBEB, Alhaji Saliu ‘Dele Ahmed, Permanent Secretary, Government House, Alhaji Ayo Yusuf, Commander, NDLEA, Kwara command, Mr Joseph Ogelegu, DG, Mandate, Musa Abdullah and his team, Hon. Kayode Omotoshe, Mallam Yunusa Ibrahim and other well wishers too numerous to mention. May Allah recompense you in multitudes.

May the soul of Imam Olohuntoyin Abdulwahab continue to rest in peace.

*Oba can be reached via e-mail: [email protected]

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