By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
An Ibadan-based billionaire and Islamic leader, AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, is dead.
Mr. Alao, 69, died in his house in London on Wednesday afternoon, his eldest daughter, Khadijah, confirmed. in Ibadan.
Mr. Alao, who doubled as the Deputy President General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, was until his death a prominent businessman and Islamic leader.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, the Speaker, Monsurat Sunmonu; Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Baosari Haruna; and commissioners, were among the early callers to his Oluwo-Nla residence in Ibadan.
Mr. Arisekola-Alao was born on February14, 1945. He bagged many awards, including Commander of the Order of the Niger.
Reacting to the death, a former Oyo State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, described Mr. Arisekola-Alao’s death as a great loss to the nation.
Mr. Alao-Akala, in a statement in Ogbomoso, said the death of the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland is a rude shock.
“He was a devoted Muslim, quintessential leader and philanthropist who will be greatly missed. His contributions to religious activities, the state and national development cannot be quantified.
“He had created a vacuum too difficult to fill,’’ he said.
Also, Oladunni Oyewunmi, the Soun of Ogbomoso, said the late Mr. Arisekola-Alao died at a time when his wealth of experience was most needed.
Mr. Oyewunmi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Toyin Ajamu, said “a devoted Muslim and philanthropist is gone. He will be greatly missed for his immense contributions while alive’’.
The Chairman, Oyo State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Taofeeq Akewugbagold, said the vacuum the deceased left would be difficult to fill.
Also, the Executive Secretary, Muslim Umah of South-Western Nigeria, MUSWEN, Daud Noibi, who is also the in-law to the deceased, said the death of Mr. Arisekola-Alao came at a wrong time.
He described him as a rare philanthropist who would be missed by the various categories of people.
In his condolence message, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara said the death of Mr. Arisekola-Alao, is a tragedy to the nation.
Mr. Ahmed, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, described the late philanthropist as a bridge builder.
He said it is painful that Mr. Arisekola-Alao died at a time when the nation needed his wise counsel as an elder statesman.
The governor commiserated with the people and Government of Oyo State, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, and the Arisekola-Alao family on the painful loss of the patriarch.