An enviable businessman many would reckon. But the late billionaire, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao, died with many unfulfilled dreams, Ademola Babalola writes
For the late billionaire businessman and Muslim leader in the South-west, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao, there were some regrets and unfulfilled dreams before the cold hands of death snuffed life out of him while asleep at his London residence on a Wednesday afternoon.
Arisekola, like many ambitious people of his ilk, had wanted to officially open the new rejuvenated Lister Flour Mills and Lister Biscuits factories located at Podo Industrial Layout, situated along old Ibadan-Lagos expressway immediately he returned from the London trip.
A top family member made this disclosure while recounting the many exploits of the late businessman in the area of shrewd business management, philanthropy and undying love for the development of the nation's economy and the advancement of the cause of Islam.
The source who pleaded anonymity explained that Arisekola had made great plans to make the company resume full operation having injected several millions of naira for its successful take-off before this year's Ramadan billed to commence a few days from now.
He said everything was set for the company's take-off and a visit to the area would readily confirm that the late businessman meant well as state of the art facilities to make the company stand on sound footing had been put in place with workers already at their desks.
Not only that, he said Arisekola had wanted Ibadan state created out of the present Oyo State and was always giving the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) all the needed support when issues relating to the proposed new state are brought to him.
“You know that he bungled the opportunity to get Ibadan state created during the military era because he was sufficiently closed to the powers-that-be then and could have gotten it created without much ado especially under General Sani Abacha's administration.
“But it wasn't something so serious to him then and having realised this shortcoming, he wanted to use the on-going opportunity of constitution amendment to get Ibadan state created by teaming up with people of like minds, who were desirous of making Ibadan state a reality.
“Also, his 70th birthday coming up next year (February 14th) was already expected to be a grand celebration where the foundation for him would be launched to take care of the needy in the society in line with his philanthropic disposition to help the people across all tribes in the country," he said.
However, contrary to the belief in certain quarters that Arisekola died intestate like Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, who maintained close relationship with Arisekola to the extent that he entrusted his Will to his hand, the latter, he said had a prepared Will often updated.
"He has prepared his Will. I can confirm that to you and the document is with an Ibadan-based lawyer who is not even a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. The Will is updated from time to time. Arisekola's didn't die intestate and all the family members too are aware of that much."
Meanwhile, outpouring of grief, emotion and encomiums has continued at Arisekola's residence as people from across political divides, captains of industries, eminent industrialists, clerics, National Youth Service Corp members, members of diplomatic corps and royal fathers have continued to pay their last respect.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun had honoured him thus:
“A good man is gone to rest in the bossom of the Almighty Alllah. We will miss your smile, your warmth, your candour, your inspiring thoughts and leadership. He was a devout Moslem, who cared for all and sundry; a philanthropist of repute. Adieu, our dear Egbon. May Almighty Allah grant you Aljanat firdaous. Bye bye, Aare.”