Lessons from the cases of Gbemi and an “Ilorin-Gbemi”

Lessons from the cases of Gbemi and an “Ilorin-Gbemi”

Distinguished senior compatriots, whoever was at the Main Auditorium and the Central Mosque of the University of Ilorin last Friday (February 7,2020) would agree with me that the foremost institution of higher learning played host to two important events dominated by two great citizens of this potentially-great country,which a critic once described as “a nation where the best is impossible and the worst would never happen”.The two solemn events would avail any discerning observer different but rewarding and pervasive lessons.

Since yours sincerely was at each of the events,I felt it imperative to bring the reportage and the lessons therein to your notice.This is for no other reason but to facilitate the possibility of perceptible readers drawing some vital lessons from them for personal benefits and the benefit of others you might have any reason to share them with.

The first event was the colourful public lecture put together by the University’s Post-Graduate Students Association. It was made glamorous by the magnificent presence of a distinguished daughter of Ilorin Emirate and an elegant Kwaran, Senator Rukayat Gbemisola Saraki.”The amason of Saraki dynasty”,as the trained economist was described by the ‘star-boy” of her brother’s political empire at the event ,was the key-note Speaker.

While I was proud of her intellectually-stimulating performance and captivating style of presentation , I was more enamoured that the success of the event was worked for by a promising daughter of the soil, Mrs.Wasilat Abdulwaheed-Na’Allah.

My “campaign” or “image-laundering” here is not because the young Microbiologist is from Ilorin. Far from that! The two-term 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 but unassuming lady,who happens to be the Vice-President of the Association.

The beautiful daughter of the second republic Senate Leader and late Waziri of Ilorin, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, did not just dazzle 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 was requested.If that happens, as she promised, it would be a big plus to the efforts of the University administration.

The issue here is that If a lady as young as the woman-in-question can bring a whole Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the campus of the University of Ilorin, can’t we see that no one should be underrated?

I, therefore, suggest that we should always tap the organisational capacities and other talents of members of the younger generations as much as we prioritise the wisdom and experience of the elders for the benefit of our society .I hinge my advocacy on the incontrovertible fact that no society develops without carrying all the segments of its population along in its developmental strives and projects! Is that not why the Yorubas say that “Omode gbon,agba gbon ni a fi da Ile-Ife”?

The other event was the valedictory sermon delivered by the very distinguished and prolific Prof. AbdulGaniyu Abdussalam Oladosu as the Chief Imam of the University at the institution’s Central Mosque . The event evidently pointed-out the unassailable fact 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’s 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 Unilorin Muslim community but also as a staff member of the nation’s most sought-after University. His profound resourcefulness,wide fame and unquestionable integrity did not add a day to the date of the commencement of his well-deserved retirement from paid public service! What does that tell you and I? It reminds us of our dates with history. How it would come is dependent on who we are and our dispositions to official and unofficial matters! Just as the erstwhile cleric-don often warns “we must audit ourselves before our books of reckoning are audited by unbribable Auditor of all”.

We must,therefore, live by the advice Prophet Muhammad gave when he said that “everyone should work for the hereafter as if it commences right away and work for this life as if we would be here forever”.

Prof. Oladosu, whose retirement started yesterday (February 10,2020), 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”(Ilorin made me whom am I) , which he gave himself.

Prof. Oladosu is undoubtedly, the most impactful Islamic scholar and public preacher of Islam to have passed through the University of Ilorin. His capacity for delivery of scintillating and captivating lectures in the midst of intellectuals and doing the same in the gathering peopled by “the unlearned “, who are, however, as important as the former, is second to none, at least, among his colleagues in the academia. His powerful command of English language, exciting communicative power of delivery in Arabic and profound knowledge of Yoruba language and culture coupled with his incomparable native intelligence and his extremely deep understanding of Islam conspired to make a great multi-talented luminary out of him.

One must also acknowledge his candour, courage, eloquence, humility and disdain for materialism. All those virtues stand him out since his return to Nigeria in the early 1980s turned him into a “gbajumo”. If you never met or knew him, it will be difficult for you to regard him as “a must-listened to multi-lingual scholar”.

This great cleric is also blessed with an uncommon but effective command of different penetrating teaching methodologies with which he often deliver his “academic lectures”,weekly sermons and public preachings to the amazement of his listeners. He is,indeed, a unique export of the great University of Ilorin, whose outstanding services and exemplary leadership will be missed by all but especially among those who value scholarship and piety expected of righteous religious leaders and emulative members of the intelligentsia.

This prolific orator first set his blessesd foot on the blessed soil of Ilorin in 1966 as a pupil of Mahad Al-Azhar Institute established by the immortal first Mufti of Ilorin, Shaykh Muhammad Kamaldeen Al-Adabiy,MFR,OFR, ORSA.At the school, he was a contemporary to the late Prof. Musa Ajetumobi,Prof.Kamaldeen Balogun and Dr. Abdulhameed Aminullahi Olohun-Oyin, to mention a few.

Prof. Oladosu was subsequently trained at one of the first generation of globally-renowned Universities, Al-Azhar University, Cairo,Egypt, where he earned his first degree on top of his class .He received his Master degree at the American University, Cairo,(AUC) and ultimately crowned his academic credentials with a Doctorate degree obtained from the University of Ilorin.

This cleric-don,who was born in Ghana in 1950, taught at the University of Ilorin for almost four decades where he,in conjunction with others, produced generations of teachers, scholars and leaders who are scattered across the world contributing to the human advancement .He was at a time the Director of the Institute of Education, University of Ilorin.He also served as the University’s Director of Academic Planning and was also the founding Director of the Centre for Ilorin Studies of the University.He also discharged so many other adhoc responsibilities in the services of the University and the progress of the institution’s host community.

His voice was aloud and clear during the campaign against sale of alcohol and staging of night parties across Ilorin in late 80s and early 90s,respectively as spearheaded by his teacher and mentor,Shaykh Kamaluddeen. He was also at the launching of the Ilorin City Hall Complex where he served as an Interpreter to the late Shaykh Kamaldeen Al-Adaby, who was the Guest Speaker.He was also one of the Guest Speakers and,in fact, the only one who made his presentation in English at the fund-raising ceremony for the remodelling and rehabilitation of the new Ilorin Central Jumaat Mosque, among several roles he played towards the development of Ilorin Emirate Community.

As his ancestral community of Erin-Osun in Osun State is always proud of him; I am sure the good people of Ilorin Emirate are also proud of his contributions and accomplishments as one of the great individuals who, though not born of Ilorin parents; studied,worked and lived all their productive lives in the blessed city.

Imam is National Publicity Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union.

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