Leader of Muslims, Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola Alao is died. He died today at the age of 69.
The eldest daughter of the deceased, Khadija, confirmed the death of Alao, who was also a prominent businessman in Nigeria. He was also the Deputy President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs of which the Sultan of Sokoto is the President General.
Late Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao was born on 14th day of February, 1945 to the families of Alhaji Abdur Raheem Olatunbosun Olaniyan Alao and Alhajah Rabiatu Olatutu Abegbe Alao. The parents were peasant farmers who hailed from Ajia in Ona – Ara Local government of Oyo state. Alhaji Arisekola Alao attended St. Lukes School, Adigun, Ibadan and later ICC Primary School, Igosun, Ibadan, due to the persistent persuasion of one school teacher, Mr. J. O. Oladejo.
This was because he never wanted to go to a secular school. The reason for this was because of his love for Islamic education, which he had been attending with absolute dedication since he was three years old.
He completed his primary school education in 1960 and applied to further his education in the secondary school. He applied to Christ School, Ado – Ekiti and Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan which were first class in terms of knowledge dissemination and moral sublimity. He defeated all comers at Christ School and emerged third best candidate for Lagelu Grammar School. Unfortunately the economic impoverishment of the parents created an impediment for his pursuit of an academic career.
However, whatever Alhaji Arisekola lacks in formal education, he has abundantly in business: intelligence, shrewdness and aggressiveness, through honest pursuit of economic goals.
Alhaji Arisekola’s love for education led to the establishment of “Pa Raheem Alao scholarship foundation for indigent students of tertiary institutions.
The beneficiaries of this scholarship are paid either monthly, semesterly or annually.
He is a co-founder and highest donor of Barakat International School situated at Bodija.
The said school is probably the cheapest private school in that elitist environment of Ibadan.
He also has endowments in most Nigerian Universities and has donated substantially in millions of naira to many of the private tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Since Alhaji Arisekola could not further his academic career due to the poverty of his parents he went straight into the business world.
In 1961, he started the sale of Gammalin 20 by establishing Azeez Arisekola Trading Company. He became interested in the sale of vehicles and established Lister Motor in 1972.
It was the establishment of Lister Motors that actually catapulted him to the zenith of public acclamation as a business guru when the economy of Nigeria was booming. Lister Motors added a charitable face to the business by donating buses to handicap homes, hospitals, schools, sport clubs and notable religious organisations.
His other business interest in the Lister conglomerate include:
1.Lister Oil Nigeria Limited.
2.Lister Flour Mills, Nigeria Ltd.
3.Lister Property and Estate Company.
4.Lister Printing Press.
5.Lister Farms and Fishery (at Abegede covering 200 hectares).
6.Lister Insurance Company.
7.Barakat Investment Nigeria Limited.
9.Monitor Group of Newspapers.
10.Aris Corporation (based in London).
He also has various honors and substantial investment in various banks in Nigeria.
A. Alhaji Arisekola became the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland in 1980 and has been contributing tremendously to religious (Islamic) activities in Nigeria.
B. The Abdul Azeez Arisekola Central Mosque, which he named after himself, was built along Iwo Road, Ibadan. The mosque has three well-paid Imams and dozens of staff for its maintenance.
C. He was instrumental to the establishment of the Grand Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria (1996) and the Alasalatu Ibadu Rahaman which was set up for the spiritual advancement of Muslim Women.
D. He had been the greatest financier of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) and National Council of Muslim.
E. Youth Organisations (NACOMYO) sponsoring their seminars and Islamic vacation courses annually. He bank rolls the annual seminar of NACOMYO every year, whether it is organised in the North or South.
F. He is the patron of more than 100 Islamic organisations within and outside Nigeria.
G. He sends hundreds of people throughout the country to hajj. Alhaji Arisekola is the only Nigerian who is honoured with selecting delegates by the Chief Imam of Mecca for the annual ceremonial washing of the Ka’aba and annual international convention of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs of Egypt.
H. He built 100 bed ward as part of Oyo State Muslim Hospital which was named Rabiatu Alao Ward, after his mother. On Monday, 22nd December, 2008 Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao was honoured with the National Award, CON, Commander of Order of the Niger by the late president, Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’adua. [myad]