Lessons from the cases of Gbemi and Ilorin-Gbemi


By Abubakar Imam

Distinguished senior compatriots, whoever was at the University of Ilorin yesterday, Friday (February 7, 2020) would agree with me that the foremost institution of higher learning played host to two important events. The two would avail any critical observer different but rewarding lessons.
Since yours sincerely was there I felt it imperative to bring the reportage and the lessons there-in to your notice. This is for no other reason but for the possibility of you drawing some lessons from them for personal benefits and those of others.
The first event was the colourful public lecture put together by the University’s Post-Graduate Students Association. It was made colourful by the magnificent presence of a distinguished daughter of Ilorin Emirate, Senator Rukayat Gbemisola Saraki. “The amazon of Saraki dynasty”,as she was described at the event ,was the key-note Speaker.
While I was proud of her intellectually-stimulating performance, I was more encouraged that the success of the event was brought about by a promising daughter of the soil, Mrs. Wasilat Abdulwaheed-Na’Allah, a scion of one of us, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Shuaib Pakata.
My “campaign” or “image-laundering” here is not because the young Microbiologist is my niece. Far from that. The two-terms Senator and the Hon. Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Transportation made it abundantly clear that she “was brought to the event” by that young lady, who happens to be the Vice-President of the Association.
The Economist turned politician did not just dazzled the academic community with her impeccable English and mesmerising oratory but also promised to facilitate a bigger Hall of Residence for the Post-Graduate students of the University than what they requested. If that happens, as she promised, it would be a plus for the people of Ilorin Emirate.
If a lady as young as the woman-in- question is can bring a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the campus of the University of Ilorin, can’t we see that no one should be under-rated?
I, therefore, suggest that we should always tap the organisational capacities and other talents of the younger generation as much as we prioritise the wisdom and experience of the elders for the benefit of our community.
The other event was the valedictory sermon delivered by the very distinguished Prof. AbdulGaniyu Abdulsalam Oladosu as the Chief Imam of the University at the institution’s Central Mosque . The event eminently proved that no matter who we think we are, we can never remain on the same position forever. It showed the transience of life and the impermanence of whatever position we hold. The solemn event, indeed,  confirmed that no one is and can ever be indispensable.
Despite the world class status of Prof. Oladosu’ erudition, his venerable humility and sagacious leadership, the event effectively marked the end of his glorious sojourn as not just the spiritual leader of the Muslim community but also as a staff member of the nation’s most sought-after University.
We must, therefore, live by the advice of the Best of mankind, Prophet Muhammad when he said that “everyone should work for the hereafter as if it commences right away and work for this life as if he would be there forever.
Prof. Oladosu, whose retirement commences next week Monday, no doubt, gave a very good account of himself as a teacher, preacher, scholar and, above all, an “agbejemante”. He, indeed  lived up to the reputation of the nickname of “Ilorin-Gbemi”, which he hilariously gave himself.
The prolific orator, who first set his foot on the blessed soil of Ilorin in 1966 as a pupil of Mahad Al-Azhar Institute of the late Shaykh Muhammad Kamaldeen’s Ansarul Islam Society of Nigeria, taught at the University of Ilorin for almost four decades and was also the founding Director of the Centre for Ilorin Studies of the University,apart from other ad-hoc community development responsibilities he played towards the progress of Ilorin Emirate .
As his ancestral community of Erin-Osun is proud of him, I am sure the good people of Ilorin Emirate are also proud of his accomplishments as one of the great individuals who, though not born of Ilorin parents, studied, worked and lived all their productive lives here in the blessed city of Ilorin.
Alhamudulilahi, if this piece is meaningful. And accept my sincere apologies, should you find it a waste of time.
*Imam is the National Publicity Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union.

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