Today, June 18, 2020 makes it exactly 6 years after the paradigm and Ibadan-born philanthropist answered the heavenly call. A patriotic citizen and cheerful giver, whose salutary impacts to his city and nation at large could not be forgotten, so soon.
Born on February 14, 1945 to a peasant farmer, Alhaji Olaniyan Alao and a petty trader, Alhaja Olatutu Àlàó, Arisekola had his early life so rough, as fortune failed to smile on his struggling parents which pushed him(Arisekola) to become an apprentice to his uncle, Alhaji Kasim Olasupo at a very tender age.
Having had the basic business knowledge from his uncle, Arisekola decided to take a giant stride at 16 years of age as he went solo with his own business in 1961, then at Gbagi Market. The then 16 year-old-boy ventured into the sales of Vending Gammalin-20 and other chemical substances with a loan of 310 pounds he obtained from one Mr Olaniyi Owodunni.
Amidst hustles and bustles, he kept pushing through till he started having his way to the path of riches – and in the long run, he dabbled into food production, real estate management, insurance, transport and publications.
Even though he had no access to tertiary education because of the weak pocket of his parents which couldn’t lift the weighted bills that comes with tertiary education, Arisekola refused to hold on to that, rather, he sponsored many life-changing scholarships for tertiary institution students. Maybe Baraka International School, Bodija would have ceased to exist if Arisekola had refused to be a co-founder. Or many private institutions where he had great donations would have gone into extinction. Prayers will never cease on him for the laudable donation he made to the University of Ibadan by giving them a mouthwatering Zoo; one of the foremost and outstanding menageries in Nigeria; hosting families, breeds, and species of animals, fishes, and birds.
Part of his notable acts, also, was a 100-bed-ward he donated as part of Oyo state Muslim hospital which he named ‘Rabiatu Alao Ward’ in commemoration of his late mother. His weekly charity for the street urchins on the street of Iwo Road, Ojaaba and other notable streets in Ibadan will forever linger in the memories of those he relieved of their throes.
In the process of spending his wealth on good causes, he never sidelined his religion. He spent greatly on religious purposes too, as he was one of the founding fathers of the Grand Council for Islamic Affairs in 1996. As if that was all he did, he was so active religiously, an act which earned him The Deputy Head of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland in 1980, by the Muslim Ulaama of Yorubaland. He was a noble man who moved with top-notch scholars in the country during his lifetime, one among who is the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakr III.
His awesomely crafted Arisekola Central Mosque – a mouthwatering and ever shinning building – gigantically erected along Iwo Road, Ibadan where he pays salary to many hired hands is also an attestation to his rare spirituality. As well, he sponsored the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), The National Council of Muslim Youths (NACOMYO) among other organizations he reached out to.
The above, and many other generous acts of his, earned him the title Aare of Ibadanland in 2006, by the then Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Yinusa Bankole – and ‘Commander Of The Order of the Niger (CON), an honour he was designed with, during the administration of late president Umar Musa Yar’ adua in 2008.
The cheeks of the street urchins he had given comfort to, that of the known and unknown he had relieved of their woes, and many other citizens and admirers of his were filled with hot streak of tears as his body arrived Nigeria from his UK home where he had taken his last breath. The whole of Oyo State was thrown into mourning as he was consigned to the mother earth. If death does forgive noble men who had generously spent on good cause, indeed, Arisekola should live till judgement day, but reverse remains the case. The philanthropist was made to pay the heavenly price at 69 years of age. Wednesday, 18 June, 2014 was when he embarked on a journey of no return to meet his first wife, Alhaja Risikat who had earlier journeyed to the other world on May 23, 2013.
As a notable man with rare personality, the Oyo State Government declared Friday, June 20, 2014 as a public holiday to mourn a man of impeccable character. Indeed, Arisekola’s light continues to shine, even after his demise. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Born and bred in Ibadan, Hashim Yussuf Amao is a Graduate of University of Ilorin. He tweets via @LegalBard
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