By Abdulrahman Kayode
Let me begin with the words #CongratulationsOurLeader, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki on his turbaning as the Baba Adini of Ansarul Islam worldwide. The title, which was bequeathed on him in Ilorin last weekend during the 75th year anniversary of the society, is a well deserved one owing to his immense physical and anonymous contributions towards the propagation of Islam in Nigeria and beyond.
Obviously, the passion that Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has for Islam being an ardent and undiluted muslim, vindicated him to emerge as the first Muslim Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In spite of all the concerted efforts of political adversaries in the ruling (All Progressive Congress) party, the party he worked for relentlessly to ensure its victory in 2015, against his ambition. It is on record that Dr. Bukola Saraki never toyed with any Islamic clarion call whenever he heard it; and since he emerged as Senate President his impacts on Islam throughout the nation have continued to justify his commitment to the religion. This shows that the distinguished Senate President recognizes the fact that supporting the course of Allah is due for him not only as a Muslim but also for all wonderful support he has bestowed on him.
All right-thinking Muslims who are keen followers of history would not marvel on the Senate President’s bits to Islam as a popular Yoruba adage says “Omo ajannaku kii yarán, omo tekun babi, ekun nii jo”. My apologies to the non-yoruba speakers. It is scientifically proven that great men take after their ancestors. This is because the Senate President’s late father, Dr. Olusola Saraki who was popularly called Oloyee, lived his life all for the propagation of Islam and alleviation of the downtrodden as many community mosques, Qur’anic and Islamic schools were built and financially supported by him during his lifetime. Specifically on Ilorin Central Mosque, which is the rallying point of all Ilorin Emirate muslims home and abroad, one can conclude that the Islamic spirit of Sen. Bukola Saraki is hereditary. This inheritance evidently spans Oloyee’s easing of Muslim faithful in terms of provision of foods and beverages during Ramadan, Eid-il-Fitir, Eil-il-Kabir and other Islamic festivals. From the archive, In 1970s when the mosque was first constructed to suit the world class taste, the contribution of Late Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki to the putting of that gigantic sacred edifice was second to none. However, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the distinguished Senate President, as a true son of the man who dedicated all he had to the course of Allah, replicated his father by not only donating huge amount of money, but for exploring his position to woo many of his political and non-political associates (Muslims and non-Muslims) including Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Femi Otedola among others to donate colossal amount of money in 2009. The mosque was completed within the timeline promised and its interior and exterior beauty is unequalled to any mosque on the continent of Africa and beyond to some extent. This is another remarkable achievement of Dr. Bukola Saraki for Islam worthy of flaunting over every now and then, but he never stopped there as he recently sponsored the construction of the women wing of the mosque and started the monthly donation for the maintenance of the edifice.
Moreover, the contribution of the Distinguished Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to the development of Islamic societies and organizations within and outside Ilorin Emirate cannot be overemphasized. One of these is his periodic financial support to the construction of Muhammed Kamaldeen University during and after the lifetime of Sheikh (Dr.) Muhammed Kamaldeen Al Adabby, the founder of Ansarul Islam Society of Nigeria which is the first Islamic society in the northern Nigeria. The optimism on the university reached its peak when the Senate President visited the University site last year (2016) and promised the needed facilities within his capacity to ensuring the university secures approval and commences operation in order to get Sheikh Kamaldeen, who produced thousands of erudite Islamic Scholars, immortalized. This alone is great, not to talk of other support which are not visible to the members of the public, towards making the university operational.
On the last note, the recently held National Qur’anic competition in Ilorin, Kwara State had Bukola Saraki’s name etched to its success, because of his marvelous dedication to the course of Allah which he displayed through his largesse. As an appreciation to the Almighty Allah as well as the Nigerian Muslims, being the first Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he singlehandedly sponsored the programme with huge amount of money. Not only that, he identified with other Muslims as he deemed it fit to be in attendance on the day of grand finale of the competition with special financial and material packages, to the tune of fifty million naira, for the winners at different categories and the organising and officiating teams. This simple depiction revealed how important the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, takes Islam and also vindicated him as a true son of Ilorin, where we have no any business other than the Qur’an.
Abdulrahman Abdullahi Kayode writes from Ilorin.
By Abdulrahman Kayode