Eminent Nigerians at the weekend continued to throng the Oluwo Kekere Basorun Ibadan residence of the late billionaire businessman and Muslim leader in the South-west, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola-Alao, who died last Wednesday in London at the age of 69.
Among the dignitaries who visited included the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, who represented his boss, President Goodluck Jonathan. He described the death of Arisekola as a monumental loss to the nation.
On arrival, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, his deputy, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, the Deputy-Senate Whip, Senator Ayoola Agboola, Chief Olabode George, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, Mr. Oba Otudeko, Ajibola Afonja, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi and some children of the deceased, among others welcomed him into the palatial residence.
Sambo, who arrived Arisekola’s “Aso Rock Villa” at 5:20p.m. yesterday, was led into the estate where he spoke glowingly of the late Islamic leader and expressed Jonathan’s heart-felt condolences to the government, the family and the entire people of Ibadan and Oyo State in general.
This came as Ajimobi again betrayed his emotion while receiving the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and his entourage who were on a condolence visit at the Ibadan residence of Arisekola-Alao.
Ajimobi had temporarily relocated to Arisekola-Alao’s residence since the news of the businessman’s death broke out last Wednesday.
He had upon hearing of Arisekola’s death broke down in tears and continued same till Friday.
Ajimobi said Arisekola’s death was a challenge to all to do good at all times just as he likened the demise of the Islamic leader to Mandela, saying “people who knew me know that I hardly cry in public but Aare is worth crying for, look at his house, look at his children, is there anybody here that Aare has not touched his life?” In an emotion laden voice, Ajimobi said Aare made many lives and impacted positively on all those he came across,.
“I pray that may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.”
Ajimobi said Arisekola-Alao lived for only 69 years out of which 50 years were used by him in the service of mankind without expecting anything in return.
Responding, the Sultan thanked Ajimobi for all he did for Arisekola’s family since his death on Wednesday, saying it was an honour well-deserved.
Abubakar, who double as President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), urged all to emulate the good legacies left behind by the late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland by doing good to all.
The Sultan also urged the government of Oyo State to immortalise Arisekola-Alao by naming a monument after him in honour of his memory.
Also, a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday visited the family of Arisekola-Alao.
Tukur was accompanied on the visit by Aare Alaasa of Ibadanland, Chief Lekan Alabi, Seyi Makinde, who is seeking to contest the governorship ticket in Oyo State and some members of the party in the state.
After a prayer session with the deceased family, which Tukur led, he told reporters that Nigeria had lost a great leader who combined philanthropic work with bringing peace to his domain.
“We have lost a good friend and a great leader who acted like father to all those who sought his help. We will miss him greatly. I was here a few months ago to deliver a message to him. He was in his usual self joking and expressing his interest in the development of the nation’s economy. I have known him for a long time and I personally will miss him,” said the former PDP chairman.
In his own reaction, Makinde described Arisekola as father from the same area of Ibadan whose shoes would be difficult to fill.
Other notable Nigerians who paid condolence visit to late Arrisekola’s house and paid glowing tribute in honour of his memory included Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla, Adeniyi Akintola, Dele Belgore, Santor Jibril Aminu, and a host of others.
Also, the Soun of 0gbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade 111, has described the late business mogul as Allah’s gift to humanity. This was contained in a condolence letter sent to the state governor, Ajimobi and the family of the decease.
Oba Ajagungbade III said in the letter that the deceased lived a life of selfless service to humanity. The royal father added that Arisekola impacted positively on humanity through humility, industry and philanthropy. Ajagungbade urged the governor, family members and well wishers to see the death of the deceased as a call to higher service and thus take solace in the fact that he (Arisekola) is resting in aljanah.