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APC, Emir, Gbajabiamila, Mohammed, Others Mourn AbdulRazaq

The death of Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq, SAN, (OFR) has been described as a colossal loss not only to the family but also to the nation at large. The legal icon passed on in the early hours of yesterday, July 25, at the age of 93.

The first son of the family, Dr. Alimi AbdulRazak, in announcing the death, said the legal icon died of natural causes at about 2:00 am in Abuja.

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The statement reads, “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.”

He was survived by his widow, Raliat, and children that include, Dr. Alimi AbdulRazak, a national figure in politics and public administration; Hajiya Hairat Abdul-Razak-Gwadabe, who represented the Federal Capital Territory in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1999 and 2003; Alhaji Isiaka AbdulRazak, Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Alhaji AbdulRahaman AbdulRazak, the incumbent Kwara State governor; Hajiya Aisha Lawal, widow of the late Governor of Kwara State, Muhammad Alabi Lawal (1999-2003) and Alhaji AbdulRauf Baba AbdulRazak, an Abuja-based businessman.

Among the early sympathisers were the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bashir Bolarinwa; state Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi and the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari.

In a condolence message by his media officer, Bolarinwa said: “The late Mutawali of Ilorin, Tafida of Zazzau (Zaria) and Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benchers was a quintessential legal role model and a potent voice in the politics of the old Northern Region. He was a shining light in the Nigerian firmament.

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“His wealth of experience has remained invaluable over time. We are indeed saddened by his exit at this time, however, we take solace in the illustrious life he lived and the worthy legacies he left behind.

“On behalf of the executive committee, elders and entire membership of our party, l commiserate with the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq and the entire Abdulrazaq family over the passage of their patriarch. I pray Almighty Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljanah Firdaus.”

The state’s Deputy Governor, Alabi, expressed sympathy to the Abdulrazaq family over the death of their patriarch.

Mr. Alabi, who also condoled with the Emir of Ilorin, Dr. Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, described the death of the first lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the Northern Region as a great loss not only to the AbdulRazaq family but also to Kwara State, Northern Region and indeed Nigeria at large.

He said that Kwara State, the former Northern Region, and indeed, Nigeria would never forget in a hurry, the many giants and laudable inputs of the late AbdulRazaq to nation-building as well as sustenance of growth, development, peace and stability in the land.

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In a condolence message issued by Emir of Ilorin’s spokesperson, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, the monarch described AbdulRazaq as an accomplished legal icon whose records as the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in the northern region put Ilorin community in the global map as a city with people of high substance and values.

Alhaji Sulu-Gambari, however, urged the governor and the entire AbdulRazaq’s family to find solace in the fact that the late sage lived a remarkable life worthy of emulation.

He prayed that Allah should forgive his misdeeds and grant him “Al-janatul firdaus’.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, while describing the death as a painful loss, said the late former minister in charge of railways in the First Republic, was one patriotic Nigerian.

Gbajabiamila recalled with nostalgia how his late father and the late Alhaji Ganiyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq were best of friends.

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Gbajabiamila said in a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, that the late AbdulRazaq would be remembered for his contributions to the development of the country.

While praying Almighty God to grant him a peaceful resting place, Gbajabiamila prayed for God to give Governor Abdulrazaq and other members of his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has also condoled with the AbdulRazaq family.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the Minister also sent his condolences to the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, the Ilorin Emirate as well as the government and people of Kwara State.

He said the family of the deceased should take solace in the fact that Alhaji AbdulRazaq, SAN, led a worthy, fulfilled and exemplary life.

‘’He left his footprints in the sand of time. He was not just a mere witness in the making of an independent Nigeria, he was an active participant.

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‘’However, his greatest achievement, in my opinion, is the fact that he raised very successful children who, in their own rights, have also positively impacted Nigeria in their various fields of endeavour. That he lived long enough to see His Excellency, Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, elected and sworn in as the Executive Governor of Kwara State, is no doubt the jewel in the crown of his incredible landmark achievements,’’ Alhaji Mohammed said.

The APC has also commiserated with the family over the death of their father. The party equally expressed condolences to the Ilorin Emirate of Kwara State on the passing of the Mutawali of Ilorin and Tafida of Zazzau (Zaria).

“An elder statesman, diplomat, senior advocate of Nigeria, first lawyer from Nigeria’s northern region and Chairman of the Nigerian Body of Benchers, the party mourns an accomplished man.

“While we commiserate with the immediate family, the people and government of Kwara State, our great party prays the Almighty Allah forgives Alh. AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq, SAN, OFR, his shortcomings and grant him Al Jannah Firdaus.”

Born on Sunday, November 13, 1927, in Onitsha, the present Anambra State, Alhaji Abdul Ganiyu Folorunsho AbdulRazak SAN (OFR) hailed from Yerimisa compound in the Idigba quarters of Pakata, Ilorin, Kwara State.

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His mother was a daughter of the Onikatako family in the Gaa Aremu quarters of the same Pakata.

AbdulRazak, who had his secondary education in Buguma, Rivers State, was among the pioneer students of the premier university in the country, University of Ibadan.

Upon completing his studies at the then University College, Ibadan, he left for Great Britain, where he obtained a master’s degree in History. He equally had a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education and added an L.LB.

He was one of the young, educated Nigerians, who, with the elder nationalists, fought for independence. At a time, he was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Minister in charge of Railways in the First Republic. He was also the Chairman of the Body of Benchers, President of Nigerian Stock Exchange. He was the first National Legal Adviser of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC).

He was a thorough nationalist who used his vast knowledge of the law as a weapon to end colonialism. He participated in several constitutional conferences within and outside Nigeria. His performance astonished many leading Nationalists of his time so well that he was seen as the engine-room of the successive Northern Nigerian delegations to those conferences.

When AbdulRazak observed the problem his people faced securing secondary school admission for their children and wards, he single-handedly established the then Ilorin College, Ilorin, in I967 at Adewole Area of Ilorin. The school is now called Government High School, Ilorin, following its take-over by Kwara State government.

Apart from the several appointments he held, he also contested the governorship of Kwara State in 1979 on the platform of the defunct Great Nigeria People’s Party. He was also a member of the 49 wise men, who mid-wived the Presidential system of government in Nigeria.

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