The remains of the late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola Alao (69) were laid to rest at around 11.15am on Friday at his Oluwo Kekere residence in Bashorun area of Ibadan after prayers were held at the Lekan Salami Stadium Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan.
The body of the late businessman and philanthropist arrived in Nigeria from the United Kingdom on Friday and was received at the Ibadan end of the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway by Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his wife, Florence, as well as other important personalities. It was later driven to the stadium.
Many of the people who were at the stadium when the casket bearing the body of the Muslim leader was driven in at 10.05 am could not hold back tears.
Among the dignitaries were his associates, religious leaders, and government officials including the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu; Ibadan High Chief, Kola Daisi; Oba Otudeko; juju maestros, Chief Ebenezer Obey and Niyi Adegeye popularly called Sunny Ade.
Others were Justice Bola Babalakin; Gen. David Jemibewon; Gen. Raji Rasaki; Chief Yekini Adeojo; former Senate leader, Teslim Folarin; Chief Rotimi Akeredolu; Mr. Musiliu Smith; wife of the former governor of the state, Kemi Alao-Akala; Arch Bishop Emeritus, Felix Alaba Job; Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; and his counterpart from Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun.
President Goodluck Jonathan was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Abdul-Jeleel Adesiyan; Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro; and the Chairman of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Mr. Jide Adeniyi.
After prayers were held for the deceased, Governor Ajimobi described Arisekola as a true Nigerian who devoted his wealth to the good of the people.
“Aare was to the Nigerian masses what the late President Nelson Mandela was to the South Africans. He served the poor and helped the rich. He came to serve humanity and served them to his very last. He was accommodating, spiritual, religious and intelligent. He had been serving the poor from the age of 19. He was the greatest philanthropist of our time. Aare gave everything he had for the benefit of the people,” said the governor.
In his tribute, son of the late Lekan Salami, Yomi, said that Arisekola was a man whose knowledge of religion had no limit.
“He knew the bible inside out. His knowledge of history was impeccable. He was sound in almost every study and could be described as an encyclopaedia of history and religion. I was probably one of the closest people to him in many ways. The respect he accorded to me was unimaginable. I am sad at his demise,” said Salami.
In his sermon, the National Missioner of the Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Ahmad, said that the vacuum created by the death of Arisekola would be hard to fill.
“There are so many rich people in Nigeria, and particularly in Oyo State, but not all of them have the philanthropic spirit as Alhaji Arisekola. He was generous to a fault and he lived a purposeful life,” he said.