By Abubakar Imam
While I was growing-up, only two professions of all appealed to me! I was always fascinated by law as a calling; the same way I admired journalism as a career!! My conviction was premised on my “childishly assumption”; that for one to exert maximum impact on the progress and development of his community one must be a member of both or either of the two noble professions!!!
My specific admiration for the two professions was further irrigated by what I often heard from the teachers who taught me Social Studies and Government at the 86-years old Pakata Primary School, Ilorin, and soon-to-mark 40th years of establishment-Barakat Community Secondary School also in Ilorin, respectively. Using different languages, examples and styles, the two teachers,who made the most impact on me as a young boy, would always say that; if not for those foremost and unforgettable Nigerians who combined both or pursued either of the two callings as careers and eventually worked together for the sake of their fatherland; Nigeria would have lasted beyond the time it did and in a more perilous way as a British colony.
Those two exemplary teachers often cited the exceptional roles, numerous contributions and limitless sacrifices to nation building offered by those they called illustrious nationalists and founding fathers of Nigeria who authored endless petitions and repeatedly advocated the freedom of Nigeria far beyond the expectations of the erstwhile colonial power. Those gentlemen included but not limited to Mr. Herbert Macaulay(1864-1946), Dr.Nnamdi Azikwe (1904-1996), Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909-1987), Chief Ladoke Akintola (1910-1966), Mallam Saad Zungur (1914-1958) and Mallam Abubakar Imam (1911-1981) , among others who were either lawyers or journalists; and who used the instrumentality of their professional resourcefulness to ensure that a stop was put to the further deprivation of our people from the enjoyment of political freedom.
As a young chap, I was not able to thoroughly decode the messages of those two teachers of mine until I attained some level of intellectual maturity and was also privileged to be exposed to more relevant literature on the subject-matter. Of particular local reference was the specific case and patriotic roles of the recently deceased Alhaji Abdulganiyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq, SAN,OFR (1927-2020), who was not only a lawyer but also a media technocrat and whose most distinguished efforts greatly accounted for the retention of Ilorin Emirate; and indeed, Kwara State as part and parcel of the defunct Northern Region.
To those who taught me nationalism and nation-building, it was through the efforts of Lawyer Rasaki, as the departed pioneers in many aspects of our greatness, was often called by his unlettered compatriots, that Ilorin remains a segment of the erstwhile Northern Region, as fought for by the founding fathers of Ilorin Emirate, that many of our foremost forebears, including my own father, were able to go to school with minimal fees; secured employment with ease, and recorded unprecedented career progression at both the regional (state), and federal public services with relative ease compared with those from other geopolitical regions.
Probably drawing inspiration from the career of the late AGF AbdulRasaq; the first Northern Nigeria lawyer, who was called to bar on February 8,1955, Ilorin Emirate has since 1960 when the late Justice Mahmud Babatunde Belgore (1936-2011), the longest-serving Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, became the southernmost Emirate’s second Lawyer, produced generations of hundreds of distinguished legal practitioners and jurists who not only made their services available towards the development of their community but have also kept the flag of their beloved Ilorin Emirate flying and glowing either as members of the bench or as solicitors and advocates of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
One of those learned gentlemen who used their memberships of that respected professional calling to advance the development of Ilorin Emirate is my my distinguished brother, fascinating mentor and role model of a patriot, Alhaji Shehuluqman Bolaji Sambo; who is popularly known among his contemporaries as Lawyer S. B. Sambo.
Alhaji Sambo, who by the special grace of the ever-gracious Allah is set to mark his diamond birthday on Thursday, August 6,2020, is a man who deserves to be celebrated by all those who appreciate selflessness and patriotism. He is worthy of special celebration by not only the people of Ilorin Emirate but also by all those who have had one form of association or the other with him. This is not only because of his extraordinary intelligence, enormous wealth or uncommon pedigree; but due to the essential omoluabi deposited in him and which often reflected in his dispositions as repeatedly demonstrated in his untainted patriotism and devotion to the development of Ilorin Emirate.
I must say that since I knew him as a Member of the old Ilorin Branch of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) many years ago; and prior to my excursion into the annals of Ilorin Emirate, I was often surprised with the magnitude and quality of the consistently consistent commitment of Lawyer Sambo to the cause of our beloved community. The reason was not just because he was neither born nor raised in Ilorin but also for the fact that his Yoruba diction, even till date, remains that of a typical Lagos boy who ordinarily should have no time for Ilorin and its nuances .
But when I eventually had access to the lives and times of some of our seniormost compatriots like Sheikh Adam Abdullahi Al-Ilory (1917-1992); Compol Abdulsalam Ebun Agbabiaka; Alhaji A.G.F.AbdulRasaq,-SAN,OFR,(1927-2020); Justice Mustapha Akanbi,-CFR,(1932-2018); Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki (1933-2012); Prof.Shehu Ahmad Jimoh, -OON (1944-2014); Alhaji Shafi Ajibola Jimba (1942-2018) and, of course, Alhaji L. A. K. Jimoh (b. 1940), who were all born and raised outside Ilorin; and yet became distinguished standard-bearers of the alluring flag of Ilorin Emirate; I felt that Lawyer Sambo was and still rightly following the exemplary footsteps of those illustrious predecessors.
Born on August 6,1960, at Idi-Araba, Lagos,to the family of the late Alhaji Imam AbdulKareem Sambo; who himself though a Member of the Agano family, whose ancestral homestead is situated near the ancient Alaaya Mosque in the Oke-Sooto axis of Pakata area, Ilorin, was born in Lagos some decades earlier, and Madam Hasiat Sambo, who was a daughter to the popular Kadiri-Obe family of Ebuta-Metta, Lagos; this distinguished lawyer, like most other indigenes of Ilorin Emirate, started-off as a pupil of a traditional Quranic school in Lagos. It was from that school that he was inculcated with the skills of reading and thorough recitation of the Holy Quran.
In 1966, Lawyer Sambo was enrolled as a pupil into the Lagos City Council School, Surulere, Lagos, from where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1972. He also attended the famous Zumratul Islamiyyah Grammar School, Yaba, Lagos, where he was trained between 1973 and 1977. In 1978, he was a student of the University of Ilorin Extra-Mural Classes and from 1980 to 1982, he attended the then Kwara State College of Technology (now Kwara State Polytechnic), Ilorin, from where he earned a Diploma in Law. His contemporaries at the 48 years-old institution of higher learning included Shaykh Ahmad AbdulRahman, the brilliant Chief Imam and National Missioner of the Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria; Mallam Igbayilola Akande, a one-time Chairman of the Asa Local Government Council; Alhaji Moshood Mustapha, a former Member of the House of Representatives; Lawyer A.T.Ahmed (Tejidini) and the Honourable Justice Halima Ayodele Saleeman, a Judge of the Kwara State High Court.
Sequel to the completion of his Diploma in Law course at Kwara Poly, Lawyer Sambo proceeded to the University of Jos for his Bachelor’s degree in Law, which he successfully ran between 1982 and 1985 where he was a course-mate to Lawyer Saka Yusuf Abidogun from the famous Idi-Ape Quarters, Ilorin, and Lawyer Abdulmumini Ayinla, who hails from Popo-Giwa and was a one-time Company Secretary and Legal Adviser to the Kakawa Discount House, Lagos. He also attended the Nigerian Law School from 1985 to 1986, along with the Grand Khadi of Kwara State, Honourable Justice Abdulkadir Ola Muhammad; Justice Saliu Saidu (Ajanaku), a Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria; Alhaji Shuaib Adisa-Ololu, who served in the last ministry administration in Kwara as the Attorney-General and Honourable Commissioner for Justice; and Prince Abdulkadir Kolapo Abdulkadir as well as a former National Secretary of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union, Mallam Yahaya K. Saadu.
As a professional who does not fancy limiting his intellectual wherewithal, Lawyer Sambo also attended the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife for his Master’s degree in Law, which he earned in 2002. He is currently a doctoral student of International Law at the better by far University of Ilorin.
This great son of Ilorin Emirate started his exciting working career as an NYSC staff of Messers Ambrose and Silas Chambers, Yola, Adamawa State. He served at the Chambers between 1986 and 1987. He was found to be so effective and efficient at work that he was retained by the law firm after he was gloriously paraded-out of the mandatory youth service.
His love for Ilorin, however made him to return to the land of his forebears despite knowing very little about it. He subsequently joined the law firm of the then Lawyer Lambo Jimoh Akanbi as he was then known. Sambo was therefore, a staff of the Liberty Chambers, Ilorin. He was at the Chambers located along the popular Taiwo Road, Ilorin, between 1988 and 1991. Towards the end of 1991, this birthday boy pulled out of the law firm of the now retired Honourable Justice Lambo Jimoh Akanbi to establish his own law outfit, which he called S. B. Sambo & Co. He competently ran the firm from 1991 to 1999 at Ilorin before moving it to Lagos where he operated till 2000.
Lawyer Sambo is today the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at Ora, Egbunike & Associates; a firm of Estate Valuers and Acquisition Consultants headquartered at Abuja.
This patriotic son of Ilorin Emirate has offered series of services to his profession, community and Islamic faith in so many ways. He was the Publicity Secretary of the Ilorin Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association between 1990 and 1992. He also served the same pedestal of the Association as the Secretary-General from 1996 to 2000. He was also an ex-officio Member of the National Executive Council of the NBA between 1998 and 2000.
At community level, Lawyer Sambo has over the years distinguished himself as a functional and effective Member of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union. He was not only a Member of the old Ilorin Branch of the Union; but also the National Legal Adviser of the Union between 1995 and 1999 during the tenure of Alhaji Mudi Adebayo Gold (b.1942) as the Union’s National President. He also served as a Member of the pioneer Governing Board of the Ilorin Comprehensive High School, Ilorin, and has remain one of the longest-serving Ex-Officio Member of the National Executive Council of the Union whose voice and interventions at critical juncture in the annals of the Union is always respected.
As a Member of the umbrella sociocultural organisation of the people of Ilorin Emirate for close to 25 years, I can attest to the commitment of this birthday boy to the progress of Ilorin Emirate using the instrumentality of the IEDPU. Lawyer Sambo is among the very few who believed that apart from taking part in the activities of the Union, they must also invest their widows mights towards the development of the Union and Ilorin Emirate Community. Lawyer Sambo has evidently committed his hard-earned resources to the Union in so many ways and over the years that all may be difficult to recall. He was among the trio of himself, Alhaji AbdulRauf Babatunde Issa (Hajj Young), a former Chairman of the Ilorin Branch of the IEDPU and Alhaji Abdullahi Kale Yusuf, the Permanent Secretary of the Kwara State Ministry of Special Duties,who paid for the tilling of the floor of the upper segment of the one-storey erstwhile National Secretariat of the Union in Pakata at the instance of its old Ilorin Branch. He also led the same patriotic trio to erect a befitting POP at the ceiling of the current National Secretariat of the Union at Geri Alimi Area, Ilorin, about a decade ago. Those were in addition to the several influential interventions in leadership recruitment for the Union and other unannounced forms of charity extended to several lessprivileged members of the community.
Aside the IEDPU, Lawyer Sambo is also a prominent Member of the Third Estate, Ilorin, a sociocultural forum of purely distinguished professionals of Ilorin Emirate origin.
He is also a valued Member of the Pakata Area Development Association as well as the Legal Adviser of the “Pakata Patriots”, Ilorin, since its establishment over three decades ago; to mention a few of his commitment to the all-round development of Ilorin Emirate.
This outstanding patriot, who was born into the Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria; as his father was one of the earliest generations of Members of the foremost voluntary Muslim agency, has remain one of the most illustrious members of the oldest surviving Muslim organisation in Nigeria. He was a Member of the National Legal Council of the Society between 1994 and 2000. He also served as the Legal Adviser of the Northern States Council of the Society between1994 and 2004. He was appointed into the same position in 2008 and has remained as such till date; in addition to being the 1st Assistant National Secretary of the Society.
Lawyer Sambo has also not been found wanting in offering of periodic public service assignments. He was a Member of the Local Government Appeal Petition Tribunal in Kwara State in 1996. He also served as a Member of the Visitation Panel to the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, between 1996 and 1997, to mention a few.
His contributions in other spheres include being an Assistant Scout Commissioner, Kwara State Chapter of the Boys Scout of Nigeria. In the realm of business, this resourceful professional is a Member of the Board of the following commercial establishments: Total Facilities Management Limited, Facilities Consulting Services Limited, FM Outsourcing Limited, Patey Petrol Oil & Chemical Company Limited, Al-Jazeerah Company Limited and S. B.Sambo & Co.
This illustrious son of Ilorin Emirate is also a Member of several respected professional bodies. Apart from his membership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), he is also a Member of the International Law Society, the Chattered Institute of Management, the Procurement Professionals Association and the International Right of Way Association. He is also an Associated Chattered Member of the Institute of Arbitrators (Nigeria); and a Fellow, Chattered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.
Lawyer Sambo, an unassuming learned gentleman who has turneddown several well-considerd honours and awards for personal reasons from various organisations; is a well-traveled man who has visited several countries including Niger Republic, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Turkey, Philippines, Sudan, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia variously for business, leisure and religious purposes.
This committed patriot is so much in love with Ilorin that, despite his Lagos background, he is married to an Ilorin woman; Hajia Hajarat Sambo, a daughter to the Onikeke family of Alore Quarters, Ilorin, from where the famous Ilorin horse riders of the 1940s fame, Olorunmako hailed from. The 31 years old marriage of Lawyer Sambo to that delectable ex-Banker is blessed with two alluring children Dr. Hasiat Sambo and Engr. Abubakar Sambo, who are obviously doing well as their parents.
The career and contributions of Lawyer Sambo are as pleasant and encouraging like most of other outstanding patriots earlier mentioned who, despite been born and raised outside Ilorin Emirate, did their ultimate best towards the progress of the land of their forebears.
On behalf of the National President of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union- Alhaji Aliyu Otta Uthman, fsi, I wish this great patriot and brilliant lawyer a very happy 60th birthday anniversary, more healthy and prosperous years and decades ahead in the services of the Almighty Allah, humanity and Ilorin Emirate. To be specific, it is my hope that more of our compatriots born and raised within and outside the shores of the territory of their illustrious forefathers would emulate Lawyer Sambo by not only identifying with their roots but they should also take up their responsibilities in community development seriously; if for no other reason, but for putting into practice the exultation of the Best of Mankind-Prophet Muhammad(SAW), who was reported to have said that: “patriotism is an integral aspect of faithfulness to Almighty Allah”.
Imam is the National Publicity Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union