By DEMOLA AKINYEMI
Ilorin-President Muammadu Buhari has said that the federal government will forever be grateful to late Justice Mustapha Akanbi for laying solid foundation for anti corruption fight in the country,describing him as a critical pillar of Nigeria’s nascent anti-graft institutional framework.
The president,said this at the eighth day firdau prayer for the late judicial icon in Ilorin on Sunday.
Represented by the Attorney general of the federation and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN who led federal government delegation to the event, he said that, “so many years after completion of his tenure of office, he remained a strong and persuasive moral voice in articulation and implementation of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agenda.”
He also said,”The legacy Justice Akanbi has left behind for Nigeria in general and for the legal profession in particular is one that will continue to inspire us all for years to come.”
“It is indeed by appreciating those attributes that we are consoled at his departure at this time, at the blessed age of 85 years. ”
“Throughout his impressive career on the Bench , which culminated in his ultimate elevation to the position of the President of the Court of Appeal, he displayed an uncommon sense of integrity, diligence and capacity for team work.”
The President, who harped that the country would forever be grateful to the late Justice Akanbi for his positive contributions, added that he would forever be remembered in noble terms and that Nigeria would continue to be inspired by his ideals and values.
“He played his part fully as a responsible family man, a strong voice for religious values, a crusader for humanitarian causes and a pillar of support to his immediate and extended communities. ”
“It is particularly gratifying to note that these personal values and norms as well as his commitment to high human ideals will continue to be promoted by the various Foundations, which he either founded or was affiliated to, such as the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation, Maasalam Islamic Foundation and the Mustapha Akanbi Library and Resource Centre, among others.”
In his sermon at the occasion, the Grand Mukadam of Ilorin, Sheikh Sulaiman Dan Borno, enjoined all to emulate attributes of the late Justice Akanbi, saying that his abhorrence of hypocrisy made him to be feared by many people.
The cleric, who described his death as fall of one of pillars of the Ilorin emirate, said that the late judicial icon was not in habit of concealing truth.
“If you claim to pious and a good man,the day you meet Baba Akanbi,it would dawn on you that you are just half of what he is.He was the kind of man expected death every day of his life” He stressed.
An Ilorin based legal icon,Yusuf Olaolu Ali SAN also described the pioneer Chairman of ICPC as a man of high intellect ,who stood for everything that was right “.
The Vice president of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Issa Aremu described late Akanbi as first class progressive and comrade who was always very constructive in a very engaging manner,without being destructive.
Dignitaries at the firdau include Kwara state Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Senator Mohammed Sha’aba Lafiagi, former national planning minister Prof Abubakar Suleiman, Dr Wale Babalakin, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) registrar Prof Ishaq Oloyede.
Others are former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Modibbo Alfa Belgore (rtd), former Appeal Court President Justice Isa Ayo Salami, former United Nations Undersecretary Prof Ibrahim Gambari, labour leader Isa Aremu, Senate President Bukola Saraki represented by Saka Isau (SAN), Executive Chairman, Kwara state Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), Dr Muritala Awodun, Secretary to the Kwara State Government Isiaka Gold, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali (SAN), Adebayo Adelodun (SAN) and Chief Executive Officer of Lubcon oil, Alhaji Jani Ibrahim.
The Emir of Ilorin Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari led the pack of traditional rulers that graced the occasion. Other personalities at the event are Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) Prof Sulyman Age Abdulkarim, his predecessor, Prof Abdulganiyu Ambali, Chief Imam of Ilorin, Alhaji Mohammed Bashir, PDP governorship hopeful in Kwara state, Alhaji Mohammed Ajia Ibrahim.