TRIBUTE: Remembering Justice Orire, Alhaji Saro, and Promising UDUS Students

By Aliyu Abdulhameed Agaka

These past few days, I have been trying to figure out what clearly distinguishes life and death. So far, I have come to realize that depending on how long or short God destined our time on earth to be, we could either live not beyond a second on the clock, or for as long as many generations.

I reflected on the torrents of obituaries, mourning and tributes over the death of our loved ones, especially the aged ones whose lives were well spent and exemplary, together with the young ones who still had so much energy and expectations for future.

Apart from Coronavirus that plugged the lives of many great personalities and even ‘commoners’, the marauding activities of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers; road accidents also recorded many casualties.

On January 26, 2021, just few days back, I was jolted by the sad news of the demise of Justice Abdulkadir Orire, who was then the Sarkin Malami and Marafa of Ilorin. Even though he lived an accomplished life, his death came as a rude shock and big loss, not only to the Ilorin Emirate, but the entire nation, at large.

Justice Orire was an erudite Islamic scholar, legal luminary and community leader who devoted his entire life to scholarship, humanitarian services, propagation of Islam and inter-religious co-existence, together with peace-building in Kwara and Nigeria.

He was in the fore front of promoting Islamic and western-oriented education. Until his demise, Sheikh Orire was the Chairman of the Islamic Missionaries’ Association of Nigeria (IMAN), Grand Patron and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), among others.

Just when one was recovering from the shock of Orire’s demise, the news was broken of the death of another community leader in the person of Alhaji Umar Ayinla Saro, a business mogul and Sardauna of Ilorin.

Alhaji Ayinla Saro was a successful business magnate, industrialist, community leader, philanthropist and elder statesman, whose generosity and contributions led to the human capital development and empowerment of many less privileged.

As if to prove that death doesn’t discriminate on age, dozens of young persons were killed in multiple accidents on January 30, 2021 along Bode-Saadu-Jebba Expressway and in a road crash at Yauri, Kebbi State. So horrific was the reported death of young university students who were traveling back to resume school after a long period of ASUU strike and the COVID-19 lockdown.

Most touching was the death of a 21-year-old final-year student of the Usmanu Danfodio University Sokoto (UDUS), Aminah. Late Amina, had glowing eulogy showered on her, especially on WhatsApp groups, over the fulfilling life she devoted to caring for her aged parents and needy. She and other students who were victims of the accidents had nursed the dream and aspiration to grow and better the society, before their sad end.

Both Justice Orire and Alhaji Saro will continue to be remembered for their patriotism, advocating peace and progress of the communities as they undertook various philanthropic activities, not only in Ilorin, but across Nigeria, as a whole. May their noble souls rest in the Lord’s bosom eternally.

We pray Almighty Allah should also repose the souls of the young students too, who could not reach the peak of their aspirations of making positive impact in their societies. May their good deeds be accepted by Allah, who we beseech to also forgive their shortcomings and grant them paradise. Ameen.

Aliyu Abdulhammed Agaka, writes from Mandate Estate Ilorin

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