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AGF Abdulrasaq, the man who fought Saraki’s dynasty till his last breath

Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq, SAN may be popularly known for being the first Nigerian lawyer from the north but there is more to this personality…

Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq, SAN may be popularly known for being the first Nigerian lawyer from the north but there is more to this personality as the history of present Kwara State cannot be completed without a mention of him.

Born November 1927, the demise of the Ilorin born politician/diplomat was announced in the early hours of Saturday, 25th of July 2020 and many have paid their last respect to the late legal luminary.

While Olusola Saraki, the father of the former Senate President, Bukola held sway as the godfather of Kwara politics for over 40 years, Abdulrasaq was one of the most sort after politicians in Ilorin and his environs in the 1950s and late 1960s.

It was reported that Abdulrasaq, who is the father of the present governor of the state, played a key role in the selection of Ilorin as the capital when Kwara was created in 1967 by the government of General Yakubu Gowon.


Educational background

Abdulrasaq was born in Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria but he started his education at the United African School in Ilorin from 1935 till 1936.

He also attended CMS Central School, Onitsha in 1938 and he left in 1943 at the end of his primary education.

Abdulrasaq started his secondary education at the Kalahari National College, Buguma Rivers State in 1944 and was there till 1945 when he left to attend African College, Onitsha.

He was at African College till 1947.

He was a foundation student at the University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan) in 1948.


Professional career/politics

Abdulrasak was the first legal practitioner in Northern Nigeria after he was called to bar on February 8, 1955 at the Inner Temple, London.

He was subsequently appointed as national legal adviser of the Northern People’s Congress.

Apart from serving as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cote D’Ivoire and a Member of Parliament in the Northern Regional House of Assembly, AbdulRazaq was equally Minister in charge of the railway in the First Republic, and the first Commissioner for Finance in Kwara State.


The feud with Saraki’s dynasty

Abdulrasaq was a prominent opposition to Olusola Saraki’s political dynasty in Kwara state.

The fierce rivalry between the two political gladiators could be said to have been passed to their children as evident in the squabbles witnessed when the Abdulrasaq’s son and present governor of the state, ‘ordered the demolition of ‘Ile Arugbo’ built by late Olusola Saraki.

While there is no known record of what led to the bitter rivalry between the old Abdulrasaq and old Saraki, the former had in a 2010 interview with TheNEWS magazine claimed that the Saraki family was not from Ilorin.

He asserted that Dr Olusola Saraki’s father, the late Alhaji Muttahiru Saraki, who was a businessman across West Africa, had informed him about their ancestry during a discussion.

“He (Alhaji Muttahiru Saraki) asked me where I come from.

“I told him I am from Ilorin.

“Alhaji Saraki said he was an Egba man from Abeokuta.

“By this time, I did not even know the existence of Olusola Saraki.

“So, the man told me he was from Abeokuta, but he went to a Quranic School in Ilorin at Agbaji, an area reputed for Islamic scholarship.

“The man with his own mouth told me he was an Egba man from Abeokuta, not an Ilorin man.

“This was in early 1963.”

He also disclosed that Olusola Saraki was put under his care when he was still studying medicine in London.

The two families till date have always been on opposing sides of the political spectrum, contesting against each other in elections.


The Children

He is also blessed with children that have excelled in different fields of endeavours, notable among whom are the immediate past Chief Finance Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Isiaka AbdulRazaq; Senator Khairat Gwadabe; Barrister Alimi AbdulRazaq; Hajiya Aisha Lawal; and the current governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

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