By Rasheed Abubakar and Abdullahi Abdulganiy/Ilorin
Former colleagues of Alhaji AbdurRazaq Adegboyega AbdusSalam, popularly known as Abu Umar Al-Faruq, have taken turns to shower encomiums on him as he bows out of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) after three decades of meritorious service.
Abu Umar Al-Faruq, who served as head of several units at the organisation, retired as a director.
He was at a time appointed Special Assistant to the former Director General of the VON, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa. Read more about him HERE.
Fondly called Abu Baba mostly in the Muslim circle, the renowned author who hails from Aran-Orin, Irepodun Local Government area of Kwara State, was the first Amir of The Muslim Congress, TMC.
Narrating their knowledge of the retiree in separate exclusive interviews with Muslim News, colleagues said he stood for truth, and justice and was a professional to the core whom they had benefitted from.
They noted that his exit from service would be greatly felt, recommending him as an ideal model for young professionals.
He instills focus in teammates, subordinates – Solanke
Mallam Warees Solanke, who is at the moment the Deputy Director, Strategic Planning and Corporate Development at VON, said Abu Umar Al-Faruq was able to instill focus in his teammates and subordinates, noting everyone who worked with him benefitted from his values and experience.
He traced their relationship back to their days at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), saying he has always been a father figure to many.
“Everyone who worked with him at Voice of Nigeria (VON) has at one point or the other benefited from him, his values and experience.
“I’ve known Abdur-Razaq Abdus-Salam since 1985, during our days at UNILAG. He’s always been mentoring people, he’s still a father figure to many. He is a leader, not only in the industry but in all spheres. He has placed himself on a high pedestal professionally, standing out of the crowd. Professionally, he is very detailed and passionate,” he said.
Speaking on some of his contributions, Solanke remarked that Abu Umar was the major backbone behind the successes recorded by former DG, VON, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa. He also referenced his efforts at championing Islamic journalism through Al-Hikma Awareness.
“Let me start with Al-Hikma Awareness (a Muslim publication). I can say Muslim News Nigeria (this medium) is a succession of what Al-Hikma Awareness used to be. As the Editor-in-Chief of Al-Hikma Awareness, he championed the cause of Islamic Journalism. Muslim News Nigeria is one of the worthy inheritors of the Al-Hikma Awareness legacy.
“Also as Special Assistant to the Director General, Voice of Nigeria, the success of any DG. is a function of who his lieutenants are and Abu Umar was a very brilliant lieutenant of the DG, VON, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa. Hence, Mallam Jijiwa’s remarkable success is a reflection of the quality advice and contributions he got from Abu Umar, his SA.
“He has done well as a professional. My advice to him is to find ways he can be of greater use to the nation and the ummah. He should not stop there, he should continue to mentor the younger generation of professionals and Muslims in the fold of Da’wah. He should continue to be an inspiration to many as he has always been.”
He was approachable, friendly, and never condoned intimidation or cheating, says Imam Adebayo
On his part, another colleague, Imam Tajudeen Adebayo said Abu Umar Al-Faruq is friendly and approachable. He added that he stood for justice at all times in the workplace and never condoned intimidation and cheating.
Adebayo, a Deputy Director, the Department of Languages, VON and Chief Imam of Falomo Central Mosque, Ikoyi, added that Ustaz AbdurRazaq AbdusSalam was always willing to mentor and offer consultancy services.
“I joined VON in 2004 and Bro. AbdurRazaq AbdusSalam fondly called Triple ‘A’ was one of those people I met on the ground in Lagos. We look up to him as one of our bosses. He was very approachable and friendly. He’s always willing to mentor up-and-coming professionals. Aside from being a Muslim brother, he is also known as a veteran in that field. Whenever we had a cause for consultation, he was one of those people to consult.
“As time went on, our relationship got cordial and I realized he was kindhearted and has no envy in his heart. I got to know that when I became the first to win an international award three years after joining VON. When you have such a big assignment, you need to consult your superiors. I did and was fortunate to win the award. He came to congratulate me and there was no sign to show that he was envious of my win. I was convinced of his sincerity in faith, service and mentoring the younger generation and this drew us closer,” he said.
Commenting further, the Deputy Director said he would feel his exit from service greatly and advised the young ones to emulate his professionalism, objectivity and truthfulness.
“When he became the director of public affairs, we saw him as our boss in the house. He’s a very wonderful and firm person who does not condone intimidation or cheating of any kind. He’s a true vanguard of “justice for all”, someone that won’t let shenanigans of the egomaniacs’ slide and for that reason, they disliked the fact that he stood for the truth. His exit from the service will be greatly felt, especially by his close allies.
“Talking about the professionalism of the highest order, he is an ideal model. His truthfulness and objectivity in the field of journalism can also be emulated.
“Moreover, the fact that he maximizes any opportunity he has for the benefit of the people around him is another thing that can be learned from him.”
He is a strong Da’ee – Aliu Akoshile
Meanwhile, a veteran journalist and Publisher of NatureNews, Alhaji Aliu Akoshile, described Abu Umar Al-Faruq as a strong Da’ee (propagator) who has achieved a lot in Islamic activism.
“Abu Umar and I met around 1985 when he joined a room named Embassy at El-Kanemi hall in UNILAG and we stayed together till I graduated in 1987. We maintained a good relationship even after UNILAG and Abu Umar has always been a very strong Da’ee. He has done a whole lot. I remember when they started TMC in Lagos with other like minds, he was the first Amir (President) back in those years due to his activism. He is a blessing to the ummah.
“Abu Umar has a great sense of duty. He doesn’t joke with work even at the peak of his career. We consider our respective professions as a form of service to the Highest as ambassadors of Islam. As he retires, I pray he continues to uphold the legacies which have been built over the years. He will even do more. I wish him the best in his retirement,” Akoshile said.
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