Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Senate President Bukola Saraki, in a condolence message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, expressed grief over the death of the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Akanbi, and said his death was a personal loss to him.
He described the late Akanbi as an indefatigable, honest and principled jurist who upheld the fine ethics of the judicial process till he breathed his last.
“I am sad that Baba (Akanbi) has left us. He was fearless, courageous and spoke truth to power during his lifetime,” Saraki said.
“He was like a father to me. His death is a personal loss. Kwara State will miss him. Nigeria will miss him,” he said.
The Senate President stated that the late Justice Akanbi would be remembered for his unquenchable zeal to restore the principles of transparency and accountability in the country through his fight against corruption.
Saraki noted: “He was an anti-corruption czar who fought the malaise both when he was in and out of office. He never gave up. His untiring zeal to stamp out corruption from all facets of our national life never dimmed. He lived what he preached and you could see there was no pretense about him at all.
“He was an incorruptible jurist whose judgements could hardly be faulted while on the bench. During his stint as Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), he fought corruption with uncommon passion and courage.
“After leaving office as the ICPC boss, he again joined the board of the Justice and Law Enforcement Reformation Organization – a non-profit organization – to continue his anti-corruption crusade. Besides, he later established the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation, in furtherance of his quest to strengthen the culture of transparency, accountability and good governance in the country,” Saraki stated.
He described Akanbi as a true son of Kwara State, whose many contributions to the development of his immediate community, state in particular, and the country in general, will remain indelible in the hearts of the people.
The Senate President commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the government and people of Kwara State, and urged them to emulate the virtues and values of integrity, selfless service and unparalleled patriotism of the late jurist.
While praying Almighty Allah to grant the soul of the departed a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah Firdaus, Saraki stated that he will continue to draw inspiration from the fact that late Justice Akanbi did not only live a worthy life, but was a great blessing to his generation.
Kwara State Governor Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, in his condolence message, described as shocking and devastating the passing away of the pioneer Chairman of the ICPC.
Governor Ahmed, in a condolence message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, said the state and indeed Nigeria had lost a rare gem, philanthropist and revivalist.
“Justice Akanbi’s years in the bench as an incorruptible judge, his stint at ICPC, struggle for good governance and involvement in community services would remain indelible in the history of Nigeria,” Dr Ahmed said.
The governor explained that his philanthropist gesture and investment in education, which is a key component of human capital development, will be greatly missed by all.
Ahmed described Justice Akanbi as a true Nigerian, Pan Africanist and lover of his community with exceptional penchant for the advancement of humanity irrespective of race, ethnicity and religious belief.
According to the governor, the late Justice Akanbi was an epitome of humility, uprightness, honesty and discipline, whose virtues would remain exemplary to generations to come.
He recalled that Justice Mustapha Akanbi was among eminent Kwarans honoured by the state last year for his contributions to national development during the 50th anniversary.
“The state and indeed the entire country is grieved that it has lost one of its finest. The state is saddened that the outstanding contributions of the elder statesman will be sorely missed. But we take solace that Justice Akanbi lived a pious, modest and exemplary life worth of emulation.”
Ahmed prayed Allah to grant the truly incorruptible judge Aljannah Firdaus and give the family, the Ilorin Emirate, Kwara State and Nigeria as a whole the fortitude to bear the loss.
In his own message, the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman Kwara State Traditional Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, expressed sadness over the death of Justice Mustapha Akanbi.
In his condolence message signed by the National Secretary of Shehu Alimi Foundation for Peace and Development, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, the Emir described the late Akanbi as an incorruptible judicial officer who served the nation without blemish.
He also recalled that the late jurist was instrumental to the mentorship of many legal practitioners both in the bar and on the bench through his unique and sterling qualities of equity, fairness and justice to all.
According to him: “We have lost a rare gem in the Ilorin Emirate and nation at large. The history of the judicial system in Nigeria would not be complete without adequate reference to the tremendous contributions of the late Wakili of Ilorin. We were together in the judiciary at different point in time up to the Court of Appeal.
“I can vouch for him anywhere because he was such an indefatigable personality whose major interest was nation-building, uprightness, preservation of professional ethics among other salient features of a worthy ambassador.”
The monarch, however, noted that although the late Wakili of Ilorin lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation, his death is a great and colossal loss to the entire nation and humanity at large due to the fact that “he was a unique symbol of truth, equality and justice.”
Sulu-Gambari prayed Allah to grant Akanbi eternal rest, grant him Aljannah Firdaus and give his immediate family, the people of Ilorin Emirate and the entire nation the respite to bear the great loss.
The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad, has described Justice Mustapha Akanbi as one of the best judges ever produced by the Nigeria judiciary.
A condolence message issued by the Speaker’s Special Assistant on Media, Shuaib Abdulkadir, said the late jurist was an icon of Nigeria’s judiciary, stressing that his demise was a colossal loss to the nation.
The Speaker noted that the pioneer chairman of the ICPC was acknowledged for his deep knowledge in law, disciplined personality and as an incorruptible jurist per excellence.
Ahmad added that throughout Akanbi’s sterling career as a judge, he rendered selfless service to the country, saying that several years after his retirement lawyers still revere him as a result of his expertise in the field of law.
These qualities, according to him, made former President Olusegun Obasanjo to appoint Late Justice Akanbi as the pioneer Chairman of ICPC shortly after Nigeria’s return to civilian rule.
The Speaker lamented that the erudite jurist died at a time his wealth of experience and wisdom were still required, particularly as the nation’s judiciary is passing through a difficult moment in the nation’s checkered history.
He said it was, however, gratifying that having served Nigeria meritoriously for the greater part of his life, Justice Akanbi, a Pan African of note, retired to his country home to dedicate his remaining years to serve Allah and humanity through the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation.
Ahmad described the late Wakilin of Ilorin Emirate as one the personalities who contributed significantly to the growth and development of Ilorin in particular and Kwara State at large.
He then consoled the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed over the loss of one the illustrious sons of the state.
“Late Justice Mustapha Akanbi was a source of inspiration to every Muslim, the Bar and the Bench. He was a big source of inspiration to baby lawyers in the legal profession and to a lot more people in community service. He was very religious. We can only pray Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljannah Firdaus,” he said.
The Speaker equally prayed Allah to grant the Emir of Ilorin, his family, Mustapha Akanbi Foundation and Kwarans the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
He also urged Justice Mustapha Akanbi’s immediate family to see his death as a challenge to sustain the legacies of their father.
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bolaji Abdullahi, has commiserated with the family of Justice Mustapha Akanbi.
Abdullahi said the passage of Justice Akanbi is a painful and irreplaceable loss to the Ilorin Emirate, Kwara State and Nigeria as a whole.
He described the late Akanbi as a man of peace, integrity and honour who, as a lawyer and judge, contributed greatly to the development of Nigeria’s legal system.
“His tenure as the first Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) provided a solid foundation for the organisation and recorded several cases of prosecution of corrupt persons.
“The late Justice Akanbi was incorruptible, spartan and fair to all. Though he had a Pan Nigerian outlook, he was very passionate and committed to issues of development of Kwara State.
“His death at this time when his fatherly insight is more needed than ever before is a painful one. May his soul rest in peace,’’ Abdullahi said.
In his own message, a chieftain of the APC, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, expressed shock over the demise of Akanbi.
He described Akanbi was a father to all, a truly incorruptible judge, anti-corruption czar and great philanthropist which made him to establish his NGO, the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation to cater for the poor and needy in society.
Baraje said, during his lifetime, the late jurist served Allah wholeheartedly, the country diligently and made positive impacts on society which made him a role model to many Nigerians.
The APC stalwart said the late former President of the Court of Appeal played a great role in the fight against corruption and dispensation of justice in Nigeria, pointing out that he would be missed by all and remembered for his laudable contributions to the progress of Nigeria, humanity, for his candid opinion, honest mentorship and his desire to touch lives positively.
Baraje condoled with the immediate family of the late Justice Akanbi, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, the Balogun Gambari, the entire people of Ilorin Emirate, Kwara State at large and Nigeria as a whole, on the loss of a great son of the Ilorin Emirate.
He prayed Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljannah Firdaus, while also praying Allah to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.