Deputy Head of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), AbdulAzeez Arisekola-Alao, has died in a London hospital at the age of 69.
Family sources confirmed the death on Wednesday
The Ibadan-based Islamic leader was noted for his philanthropy towards Islamic causes.
He was recently flown to Switzerland for medical attention from where he was moved to London.
A statement from Aso Rock said President Goodluck Jonathan received with great shock and sadness, news of the death of the renowned businessman and religious leader.
On behalf of himself, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria, President Jonathan extends sincere condolences to the Arisekola-Alao family as well as the people of Ibadan and Oyo State on the passing away of the famed Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland.
As they mourn the famous entrepreneur, community and religious leader, President Jonathan urges his family, relatives, friends, associates and dependants to be comforted by the fact that Alhaji Arisekola-Alao lived a very fulfilled life, and in passing on, leaves behind a legacy of significant and commendable achievements.
The President notes that Alhaji Arisekola-Alao will always be remembered and honoured, especially for the remarkable entrepreneurial skills with which he established many successful businesses and created jobs for numerous Nigerians, as well as for his religious leadership and philanthropic gestures.
He prays that God Almighty will receive Alhaji Arisekola-Alao’s soul and grant him eternal rest.
Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has described the death as tragic, disheartening and a big blow, not only to the state but also to the entire country.
The governor stated this in a statement issued in Ibadan on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo.
He said that he received the news of the death of the business mogul and religious leader with shock and disbelief, saying that the passage of Alhaji Arisekola-Alao marked the end of an era in the history of the state.
“Aare cannot die as those who lived the kind of life he lived, with imprints in the lives of millions of people, never die. He lived a life that was devoted to the lives of others. It is indeed the end of an era for us in Ibadan and Nigeria in general,” the governor said.
Governor Ajimobi described the late Alhaji Arisekola-Alao as a devout Muslim, shrewd businessman and a philanthropist whose commitment to the cause of the downtrodden in the society was unequalled.
“Uncle Arisekola-Alao was an upright, consistent and principled man. He called a spade by its name without minding whose ox was gored.
“Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland was also a pillar of support to our administration whose wise counsel had helped tremendously in the success story so far recorded by our government,” he remarked.
Although he said that the death of the late religious leader was painful and that the vacuum that would be created by his passage would be hard to fill, the governor, however, said that Alhaji Arisekola-Alao lived a fulfilled life.
“He was a fulfilled man, fulfilled in all his earthly assignments. I am sure he died very happy with himself. Besides, Arisekola-Alao also used his God-given endowment to touch the lives of several millions of people. He was a source of joy to those who came across him,” he said.
Governor Ajimobi commiserated with the family, friends, associates, religious leaders, the Muslim Ullammahs and indeed, the entire people of the state and prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased.
He urged them to take solace in the imperishable life devoted to humanity that he lived.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has described Arisekola-Alao’s death as a loss to Nigeria.
Atiku said in a statement by his media office in Abuja that he was shocked and saddened by the death of Arisekola-Alao.
The former Vice President noted that the colourful and astute businessman was passionate about Nigeria.
“Arisekola was a devout Muslim and community leader. He was generous and loved his people; the quality of his humanity and compassion was unprecedented. The country will surely miss him,” Atiku said.
“I visited him recently after the death of his wife and he hosted me to lunch in his palatial Ibadan home. He related well with all Nigerians,” the Turakin Adamawa recalled.
He expressed his condolences to the family and people and government of Oyo state over the loss.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, also on Wednesday expressed shock and sadness at the passage of the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland.
In a message of condolence to the family of the deceased, the governor said the passage of the frontline politician and religious leader would leave a vacuum that would be very hard to fill in Oyo State in particular and Nigeria in general.
According to the Fashola, Arisekola-Alao would be sorely missed by all for his widely acknowledged philanthropy, statesmanship and entrepreneurial leadership.
While also condoling with the Government and people of Oyo State, Fashola said the indelible mark left by the deceased in the field of commerce and industry and the contribution he has made to the economic development of the South West region and Nigeria in general would never be forgotten in a hurry.
The governor urged all those left behind by the late astute businessman to take solace in his good deeds while alive and prayed that Almighty Allah grants the soul of the departed Aljanah Firdaus.