More Nigerians have been reacting to the demise of businessman and Islamic leader, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao.
Secretary-General, Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu described Arisekola-Alao’s death as a great loss.
Dr Aliyu said the deceased was one of the most distinguished Muslims in the southwest and Nigeria.
“We lost a bridge builder and lover of peace. JNI condoles with deceased’s family, the Muslim world and Nigerians at large; his philanthropical gesture is unquestionable. We pray Allah grants him Al-Jannah Firdaus,” he said.
The JNI Secretary-General enjoined Nigerians to emulate the late Arisekola-Alao’s simplicity, efforts to improve lives of humanity and spending in the course of Allah.
“We should not forget to ensure peaceful co-existence with our neighbours, eschew bitterness and put the interest of the society above personal benefits; these and many more qualities distinguished Alhaji Arisekola-Alao,” he said.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, described his departure as saddening.
Prof Akintola said: “He was a shining model for all and a leader of exemplary qualities.
“Arisekola-Alao was a deeply religious man. He was a lover and promoter of peace. He was a philanthropist nulli secundus, a humanist primus inter pareil and a patriot numero uno. He was kind to a fault and he was also a very pious man.
“As a committed Muslim, he single-handedly funded the propagation of Islam in the whole southwest of Nigeria for several decades. As a philanthropist, his generousity knew no religious or ethnic bounds. He fed thousands on a daily basis without asking for anything in return. He was a true friend of the poor. He loved the city of Ibadan with immense passion, Oyo State with great zeal and Nigeria with an unusual patriotism.
“Unlike many other wealthy Nigerians, he rose from a very poor background. With little education, he built a great business empire by dint of hardwork and transparency. His business acumen and fame started manifesting from the 50s.”
The MURIC Director said the death of Aare Arisekola Alao has left a mighty lacuna which may be difficult to fill for a very long time.
“MURIC commiserates with the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the NSCIA, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Muslim Ummah of Nigeria and the Nigerian people at large. We pray that Almighty Allah will forgive Aare Arisekola-Alao, shower His Mercy on him and grant him Al-Jannah al-firdaus. We also pray that Allah will give his family the strength to bear this great loss,” he prayed.
Senator Mudasiru Hussain, representing Osun West Senatorial District in the Senate, described the death of late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland as shocking.
Senator Hussain described the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Deputy President-General as a legend.
“He was a good man who contributed immensely to the development of humanity; it was a great loss not only to the people of Oyo state, Nigerians and the Islamic world will miss him,” he said.
According to him, Alhaji Arisekola-Alao has contributed in no small measure to political terrain in Oyo State and supported the sustenance of democracy in the country.
“Nigerian leaders have a lot of good things to learn from him including transparency, humbleness accommodative-nature and kindness. He was an advocate of peaceful co-existence irrespective of religion and ethnic colourations and above all, a strong believer in God,” Senator Hussain said.
Hon Lasun Yussuff, a member of the House of Representatives, prayed Allah to grant the deceased eternal rest.
Yussuff said the late Arisekola-Alao epitomizes Islamic tendencies.
“His death came as a shock; how I wish he could live longer with us because of his contributions to the traditional, Islamic and political system in the country. His opinions were always sought for and cannot be discountenanced by the stakeholders. No doubt, a big vacuum has just been created by his demise which would take long time to find someone to fill it,” he said.
The lawmaker said that despite Arisekola-Alao’s inability to further education at tertiary level, he was able to weather the storm in the business world and political terrain.
Chief Imam of Nawair-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Lagos zone, Sheikh Abdul Mojeed Ayinla, described Alhaji Arisekola-Alao as rare among the Islamic personalities in the country.
“His death is indeed a great loss to Islam and it will take time to get someone who can act in his capacity. May Allah forgives him, have mercy on him and grants his household and the Muslims in general the fortitude to bear the great loss,” Sheikh Ayinla said.
National Amir (President) of The Companion, Alhaji Musibau Oyefeso said Alhaji Arisekola-Alao “was a very successful businessman, a dutiful husband, responsible father, passionate community and religious leader.”
“He was highly generous and always played key role in who governs Oyo state,” Oyefeso said.
Secretary General Al-Mu’minaat Organisation, Mrs Kudirat Adedeji described Alhaji Arisekola-Alao as a detribalised Nigerian leader
“The late Islamic leader and business tycoon not only contributed to Islam but to the development of Nigeria as a country. “Alhaji Arisekola-Alao’s believe in the human rights and freedom of information led him to publish the now defunct Monitor Newspaper. An advocate of peace, he co-chaired a committee to facilitate understanding between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria in 1990 and has since been part of various efforts at ending intolerance in the country,” Mrs Adedeji said.
According to the Al-Muminaat scribe, the former NSCIA Deputy President-General enhanced the capacity of youths by providing them with employment and financial grants.
“We hope that the Muslim community in Nigeria will be able to replace Alhaji Arisekola-Alao with yet another leader that will touch the lives of all and assist the Nigerian government in bringing peace and stability to the country, especially at this trying period”, she said.
Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) Lagos State Area Unit Amir (President) Kamil Kalejaiye said: “He was an exemplary character. He gave to the known and the unknown. Yet he never advertised his generosity on the pages of newspapers. He did this everyday. He is one of those Muslim philanthropists who gave without looking for any recompense from fellow human beings. He spent so much on the path of Allah”