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Mustapha Akanbi, pioneer ICPC chair, is dead, buried

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As Buhari, Saraki, Gov Ahmed, others mourn 

By Demola Akinyemi & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
—The remains   of pioneer chairman of lndependent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, lCPC, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, was, yesterday, interred at his GRA residence in Ilorin, Kwara State, around 2.30pm.

Justice Akanbi

The Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Mohammed Bashir, led the Jabazah prayer that preceded interment.

Governor Andulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, led the other dignitaries that attended the burial.

In a brief prayer after the burial rites, the Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Mohammed Salihu, prayed Allah to receive Justice Akanbi as His true servant.

He expressed delight that the late jurist led a virtuous and righteous life, urging Nigerian leaders across board to emulate his simple life style and exemplary conduct “ through which he impacted positively on the lives of numerous people.“

Justice Akanbi, who was president of the Court of Appeal and first Wakili of Ilorin, died in the early hours of yesterday at his GRA residence in Ilorin after a protracted illness.

It’s a colossal loss —Buhari

Reacting to the death of the late jurist, yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari  described him as a man whose greatest asset in life was his enviable integrity and incorruptibility.

Buhari in his tribute in Abuja, said the eminent jurist would be long remembered for his enormous contributions in bringing credibility and respectability to the country’s judiciary.

Buhari in the tribute signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, noted that the death of the pioneer chairman of ICPC was a colossal loss not only to the Nigerian judiciary, but the country as a whole.

He said: ”In a country where corruption is perceived as fashionable, Akanbi stood out as a remarkable man who put personal integrity and selflessness before the desire for money outside his legitimate income,’’ he said.

The President affirmed that Justice Akanbi’s greatest achievement was leaving the public service with his integrity intact and untainted, noting that throughout his distinguished career in the judiciary and public service, he resisted the defeatist mindset that ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.

”Great men like Akanbi didn’t believe in joining evil because it was popular or supported by the majority,” the President said.

Buhari extended heartfelt condolences to Justice Akanbi’s family, the government and people of Kwara State and the entire Ilorin Emirate.

It’s a personal loss —Saraki

In his reaction, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said Akanbi’s death was a personal loss to him.

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described the late Akanbi as an indefatigable, honest and principled jurist who upheld the fine ethics of the judicial process till he breathed his last.

“I am sad that Baba (Akanbi) has left us. He was fearless, courageous and spoke truth to power during his lifetime. He was like a father to me. His death is a personal loss. Kwara State will miss him. Nigeria will miss him,” he said.

He stated that the late Justice Akanbi would be remembered for his unquenchable zeal to restore the principles of transparency and accountability in the country through his fight against corruption.

It’s shocking, devastating —Ahmed

Also reacting, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, described his death as shocking and devastating, stressing that the state and, indeed, Nigeria has lost a rare gem, philanthropist and revivalist.

“Justice Akanbi’s years in the bench as an incorruptible judge, his stint at ICPC, struggle for good governance and involvement in community services would remain indelible in the history of Nigeria,” Governor Ahmed said.

Sulu-Gambari expresses sadness

Also,the Emir of Ilorin and chairman, Kwara State Traditional Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, in a statement, expressed sadness over the death of Justice  Akanbi.

In his condolence message signed on his behalf by National Secretary of Shehu Alimi Foundation for Peace and Development, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, the emir described late Akanbi as an incorruptible judicial officer who served the nation without blemish.

He said:  “We have lost a rare gem in the Ilorin Emirate and nation at large. The history of judicial system in Nigeria would not be complete without adequate reference to the tremendous contributions of the late Wakili of Ilorin.

“I can vouch for him anywhere because he was such an indefatigable personality whose major interest was nation-building, uprightness, preservation of professional ethics among other salient features of a worthy ambassador.”

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