Today, Sunday, 18th June, 2017, is the second anniversary of the death of Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola Alao, CON, the first Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, second Aare of Ibadanland and late Vice-President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
Insideoyo.com, as a mark of honour for the lale philantropist, reveals some of the things you many not know about him.
1) He was born on February 14, 1945.
2) He died on Wednesday, 18th June, 2014 in his London (UK) home at age 69.
3) He was buried on Friday, 20th June, 2014 in his home at Oluwo Kekere, Basorun, Ibadan, Oyo State.
4)His father was late Pa Abdul Raheem Olaniyan Alao.
5) His mother was the late Alhaja Olatutu Alao.
6) He attended St. Luke’s Primary School, Adigun at Adigun Village of Ibadan, in Ona-Ara Local Government Area of Oyo State and ICC Primary School, Igosun.
7) He topped his class constitently until he obtained the Primary School Leaving Certificate (Grade A) in 1960, the year he came to the city from his village.
8) Successfully, he passed the entrance examinations into the prestigious Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State and Lagelu Grammar School Ibadan, but could not take up his admission in either school due to the poor financial position of his parents.
9) He later studied Western, Arabic and Quranic education privately.
10) He later joined his uncle, the late Alhaji Karimu Olasupo Jenrola at the popular old Gbagi Market in Ibadan as an apprentice trader.
11) After successfully understudying his uncle, he started the sale of Gammalin 20 products, in 1961 with a loan of 310 pounds given to him by Mr. Olaniyi Owodunni, vide the incorporation of his Azeez Arisekola Trading Company.
12: The Western Regional Manager of Imperial Chemical Industry (ICI) of England, Mr. P.K. Hampel, a Briton, discovered in the young AbdulAzeez, great business acumen and appointed him a dealer of their products in the now-defunct Western Region of Nigeria.
13) Within a year, he received a commission of 1,000pounds from ICI and an all-expenses paid trip to the company’s headquarters in the United Kingdom.
14) At age 21, he purchased a Peugeot pick-up van at the cost of 400 pounds.
15) In 1970, at age 25, he built his first house.
16) He performed his first holy pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia in 1971.
17) In 1972, he registered his motor company, Lister Motors, becoming the star dealer for the Japanese brand, Datsun.
18) He stopped going to parties in 1980, at age 35, when he was turbaned the first Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, by the League of Imams and Alfas in Yorubaland.
19) His business interests included automobile, oil and gas, banking and insurance, food and beverage, farming and animal husbandry, real estate, publishing, transportation and food processing.
20) He owned Lister Insurance, Lister Property and Estate Company, Lister Flour Mills, Lister Oil Nigeria Limited, Lister Property and Estate Company, Lister Press, Lister Farms and Fishery, Barakat Investment Nigeria Limited, Jubab International, Monitor Group of Newspapers and Aris Corporation.
21) At a point, he was adjudged the largest shareholder in FirstBank Plc.
22) In 2006, late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Yinusa Bankole Oladoja Ogundipe, Arapasowu I made him Aare of Ibadanland in 2006.
23)He later established the AbdulAzeez Arisekola Mosque on Iwo Road, Ibadan, Oyo State.
24) He founded the Grand Council for Islamic Affairs (GCIA) in Nigeria.
25) He founded Alasalatu Ibaadu-Rahman Society.
26) He was patron and foremost financier of more than 100 muslim organizations in Nigeria and abroad.
27) From 1980 when he became the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, he extended annual Hajj scholarships to hundreds of Muslim faithful just as he sponsored Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem annually too.
28) He was one of the privileged few honoured by the Chief Imam of Makkah to send delegates for the annual ceremonial washing of the Holy Ka’bah.
29) He was also invited to the annual Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs International Convention in Cairo, Egypt.
30) He was conferred with the title ‘The Defender of Faith’ in recognition of his love for religious peace and harmony as he was the one who mobilized support for the settlement of the internal rift amongst the members of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Oke-Seeni, Ibadan and ensured the settlement of their rift out of court.
31) His Oluwo Kekere home at Basorun area of Ibadan is expansive and comparable in size, structures, amenities, population and traffic to some towns/counties in Nigeria and abroad.
32) His zoo boasted of a family of lions (until he donated them to the UI zoo), camels, crocodiles, ostriches, tortoise etc.
33) The birds, who normally fly over his expansive home to perch, get fed, yes, fed, by designated staff, have left.
34) He was Deputy President General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
35) He never identified with any political party but he was an acknowledged power broker and kingmaker in Oyo State
36) As far back as 1978, he teamed up with the late Alhaji Busari Adelakun (alias Eru o b’odo) against Venerable Emmanuel Alayande, to ensure the victory of late Chief Bola Ige as the governorship candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
37) He later teamed up against Ige after being quoted as saying that Ibadan people were not educated. He threw his weight behind the governorship candidate of the National Party of Nigeria, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, who eventually won the election.
38) The eventual victory of Chief Kolapo Ishola as Oyo State governor in 1991 was not without his support.
39) He supported Lam-Adesina in 1999.
40) He backed Rashidi Ladoja against Lam-Adesina in 2003
41) He stood behind Adebayo Alao-Akala against Ladoja in 2007.
42). He never hid his support for the governorship ambition of Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi in 2011.
43) He was very close to the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; and Chief Adedibu.
44) He made popular the 120Y model which transporters were fond of. The car came with just two doors but Alao was able to talk Nigerian technicians into adding two more doors.
45) Alao built a 100-bed ward as part of Oyo State Muslim Hospital which was named Rabiatu Alao Ward, after his mother.