By Mumini AbdulKareem and Mike Adeyemi
The remains of the elder statesman, Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq (SAN) who died in the early hours of Saturday has been interred at his Idi-Igba family house in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, in accordance with Islamic rights.
He was aged 93 and survived by many sons and daughters including Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
The body of the late Mutawali of Ilorin arrived Ilorin International Airport at about 4pm on Saturday and was conveyed to his ancestral home at Idi-Igba, Pakata area where he was interred.
The janaazah was led by the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Muhammad Bashir Solihu and attended by the Imam Imale, Sheikh Abdullah AbdulHameed and other prominent traditional title holders and religious leaders from the Ilorin Emirate.
His demise was earlier announced by his eldest son, Dr. Alimi AbdulRazaq who said, “with total submission to the will of the Almighty Allah, the AbdulRazaqs of Ilorin Emirate of Kwara State hereby announce the passing of their patriarch and statesman Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq SAN (OFR) at the age of 93 in Abuja. He was born in 1927.”
According to Dr. Alimi AbdulRazaq “their patriarch died peacefully at about 2 a.m. on Saturday, July 25th, 2020 (the 4th day of Dhul-Hijjah 1441 AH)”.
Other eminent personalities across the country who were in attendance to witness the janaazah were Governors Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, Yobe, Mala Buni who doubles as the Acting National Chairman of APC.
Also in attendance is the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who led a high powered National Assembly delegation to Ilorin which included Hon. James Faleke among others.
Until his death, the late AGF is the Mutawali of Ilorin and Tafida of Zazzau(Zaria). He was also the Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benchers.
The first lawyer from the Northern Region is survived by his 90-year-old wife Alhaja Raliat AbdulRazaq,
He was among the first batch of students of the University College, Ibadan now known as University of Ibadan in 1948. AGF Abdulrazaq was the first indigene of Ilorin to become a degree holder.
AGF Abdulrazaq who was born and raised in Onitsha, Anambra state was called to the bar on February 8, 1955 at Inner Temple, London which made him become the first lawyer from the old Northern Region. He later emerged as the first Senior Advocate from the region.
He was the first person to establish a private school in the old Kwara state in 1967, the Ilorin College, which is now Government High School, Ilorin. He is the first person to serve as Kwara state Commissioner for Finance.
At different times, he served as ambassador, Minister of State for Transport during the first republic. He also served as Kwara state Commissioner for Finance, Health and Social welfare between 1967 and 1972.
He was the Legal Adviser of the Northern People’s Congress, NPC during the first republic.
Abdulrazaq was also the National Legal Adviser of the GNPP and the party’s gubernatorial candidate at the 1979 governorship election. The late Dr Olusola Saraki’s candidate, Alhaji Adamu Attah however won the guber election.
When the British Imperial Government appointed a Minorities Commission in 1957 to look into fears by minorities in Northern, Eastern, and the defunct Western Regions, AGF Abdulrazaq successfully fought before the Willink Minority Commission and Minority Rights that Ilorin Province should be retained in the Northern Region.
He was also the Chairman, Organizing Committee of the Kwara state Industrial Development Fund held in Lagos in 1985.
He was among the forty nine prominent Nigerians named as members of the Constitution Drafting Committee who were asked to draft constitution for the Second Republic ahead of October 1, 1979.
The committee eventually recommended the presidential system of government which has since been retained.
Among his children are ; Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq , Dr Alimi Abdulrazaq , Senator Khairat Gwadabe who represented the Federal Capital Territory in the senate between 1999 and 2003 and Alhaji Isiaka Abdulrazaq, former Executive Director of Finance, NNPC-
For his contribution and achievement in Education and law, many credit regarded him as the one that brought the recognition of Ilorin as the City of Lawyers and inspired many people then to be exposed to education.
Although there family was yet to make pronouncement on the date of the Fidau, a source at family compound Adeta, said the family is looking at Wednesday and may take it to the Ilorin central mosque.
He was one of Nigeria’s greatest legal mind – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the demise of Alhaji Ganiyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq, (SAN).
In a tribute to the late First Republic Minister, Parliamentarian, pioneer Commissioner of Finance, Kwara State and until his passing, Matawali of Ilorin and Tafidan Zazzau (Zaria), the President said he was highly saddened by news of the demise of the statesman and outstanding parliamentarian of his time.
According to President Buhari, “We will remember him as one of this country’s greatest legal minds and a national leader. He garnered respect that transcended our barriers visible and otherwise. His enormous contribution to the welfare of the people of his community, Kwara State and the country as a whole will serve to inspire future generations of our citizens.
Also, the Northern Governors Forum has also commiserated with the family. Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong in a condolence message described his death as a great loss to not only the people of Kwara State but to the entire region and the nation at large.
Lalong in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham said “we are saddened by the passing of this great man who brought pride and dignity to his family, the Northern region and Nigeria through the many responsibilities he handled during his lifetime. Though his death is painful, we should also celebrate his achievements particularly in the legal profession where he set the pace by mentoring and inspiring many in the profession, using his influence as Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benchers and a Senior Advocate.”
Kwara has lost a statesman – Saraki
Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has described the death of Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdul-razaq, Mutawalli of Ilorin as a loss of one of the statesmen produced by Kwara State.
Saraki in a statement released in Abuja noted that the late senior advocate who died at the age of 93 had lived a good life and contributed his own quota to the development of Kwara State and Nigeria in general.
“The late AGF as he was fondly called by people who knew him will be sorely missed and I believe he did his best in the service of our people in Kwara State and Nigeria as a lawyer, politician, diplomat and President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange”, Saraki noted.
Saraki who is the Waziri of Ilorin commiserated with Dr. Allimi Abdul-razaq and his siblings, the entire family of the deceased, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, the entire Ilorin Emirate and the people of Kwara State. He also pray that Almighty Allah forgive the sins of the late Abdul-razaq and grant him a place in Aljannah Firdaus.
End of an era – Tinubu
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has commiserated with the AbdulRazaqs over the passage of their father, Abdulganiyu AbdulRazaq.
Tinubu described the death of the Kwara-born politician as the end of an important era in the country.
In a condolence statement personally signed by him, Mr Tinubu said: “The passing at 93 of the iconic patriot and elder statesman, Alhaji AbdulGaniy Folorunsho Abdulrasaq, popularly known as AGF, signifies the end of another era in the annals of this country.
“The likes of AGF were the proverbial hewers of wood and drawers of water who laboured hard for the strong foundation upon which our dear country was erected.
“He was there in the thick of all the nationalistic struggles and negotiations during the transition from colonial era to an independent Nigeria.
He said the death of Mr AbdulRazaq has left a huge vacuum in our national life.