ONE YEAR WITHOUT OMO-OBA RASHEED ADESOKAN: ANY LESSONS LEARNT? ASK ABDUR RAHMAN BALOGUN (ARAB)

A terse WhatsApp message on Bodija Estates and Environs Muslim Community (BEEMC) by Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni, Chairman, Muslim Community of Oyo State on Saturday evening of March 25, 2023 threw the Ummah into a mournful mood following ” Inna lilah Waina ilayhim rojiun. We lost Baale Rasheed Adesokan today, Janazah details will be announced by his family later” . The short announcement which spread like wildlife to other platforms in a twinkle of an eye and went viral on both social media and online media, sounded unbelievable as we still chatted online some few days before his passage.

Omooba Rasheed Adesokan, the Balogun Mumini Of Yorubaland, the Baale of Bodija Community, the Director-General Centre for Islamic Information and Youth Development alas returned to His Creator At 75 years on that fateful evening of March 25, at University College Hospital, Ibadan after a brief illness and was buried on Sunday March 26, after a mammoth crowd witnessed his janazah prayers at his beloved UCH central mosque in Ibadan which he wrote in his will that his Janazah prayers should be done there. UCH Central Mosque, was one of the many mosques he built with a unique architectural design.

Difficult to come to terms with his sudden exit, both young and old kept on asking a rhetorical question: “So Baale is dead? So Omooba is gone? This was so because of the shock his death brought to the Muslim Community and the thought of losing the last of the titans. In South West, it was generally believed that the zone had five philanthropic pillars that are benevolent but the zone lost all of them within two decades. They are: Chief M.K.O Abiola, Chief Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo, (Baba Adinni of Yorubaland) Alhaji AbdulAzeez Arisekola Alao, (Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland) Chief Mufutau Lanihun (Giwa Adinni of Yorubaland) and Alhaji Omooba Rasheed Adeniyi Adesokan (Balogun Mumini of Yorubaland). May Allah be pleased with all of them and reward them with al-janah firdaus. Aameen.

Undoubtedly, there is no one in South West and beyond that has not benefited one thing or the other from all the above listed Muslim leaders and Islamic titled holders in South West.

Though Baale, as he was fondly called, is dead and far gone, the legacy, good deeds and contributions of the late foremost diplomat and defence analyst, will continue to reecho in the annals of history.
Omooba Adesokan was a man of many parts, a lover of education, who supported many youths through Scholarship and regular weekly youth forum in his 7 Oluyole road residence in Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State, a veteran of Nigeria Civil war as a soldier who retired as a Captain, a renowned Islamic scholar, who had virtually memorised the whole Qur’an and its translation in English and Yoruba, as a diplomat, he was the President of Nigeria Society of International Relations, a sports enthusiast who played long tennis and a member of the Ibadan Tennis Club, Mentor/Patron of many Islamic groups and Societies, a community leader as Baale in the elitist area of Ibadan – Bodija due to his support for community transformation, a Prince of Oyo town and a strategist and believer in order and discipline.

In his quest for knowledge and its disemination, he established a well-known Centre For Islamic Information as far back as 1985, this was a multi-approach to Islamic knowledge dissemination as Islamic books were published for free distribution for willing people, Yusuf Ali translated Qur’an were freely sent on request across the world, a weekly releases by name “Iqra series” from the Centre to youth and adult readers in addition to those who on their own interest and conviction approached the Centre to accept Islam.

It will be recalled that part of the core programme of the Centre was the weekly coverage of live Jumu’ah services at both Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia to Nigeria viewers by buying 30 minutes airtime on both Radio and Television.

Another major output of the Centre was the identification of areas that needed a befitting mosque.  After such survey, a modern Mosque with essential needs for worshippers was put in place. Among such mosques were the University College Hospital Central Mosque, the Premier Hotel Ibadan central Mosque, the Ibadan end tollgate Mosque, the Ogere tollgate Mosque and the Are street Mosque to mention a few.

Without mincing words, the exit of Baale Adesokan has left a big gap in his well-researched global analysis as well as the strategic roles he was playing in the Muslim community in Nigeria.

It is indeed sad and painful that Nigeria lost such a good man when the country needed his words of wisdom more during this challenging period.
As a man of many parts, he was a great family man, a displinarian, wonderful administrator that one wonders how he was able to cope and manage his time despite his crowded schedule. As a retired soldier, diplomat, defence and security analyst, he was at home with the media houses with his well- informed analysis on security matters, global politics, traditional and religious institutions as well as sports.

A year without Baale, has created a huge vacuum, just like other four pillars mentioned above, in the scheme of things. What happened to all his legacies? Who amongst our upcoming well to do Muslims is ready to step into Omooba’s shoes? The Ummah is greatly missing the passage of Omooba Adesokan and praying for more of his likes in our society.

Baale Rasheed Adesokan legacies live for people to learn from and perhaps emulate. We must Remember that we always pray to be model for Righteous. Baale Rasheed Adesokan didn’t wait for death to be righteous, but he worked for righteousness before his death. May Allah continue to shower His blessings on him, reward him with al-janah firdaus and be with the family and the Ummah he left behind. Aamin.

Abdur-Rahman Balogun is the National President of Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) and contributes this piece from Abuja. (rahmor2001@yahoo.com)
March 25, 2024.

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