By Abubakar Imam
Sometime in March this year and just as mourners from all spheres of life throng to pay their last respect to a former Secretary of the Kwara State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), late Alhaji Kola Onimago, at his Adewole Estate Residence in Ilorin, Alhaji Ladi Gambari (a mourner) saw Dr. Salaudeen Funsho AbdulRazaq (SFA) after many years. Alhaji Gambari was pleased that he could use that opportunity to express his gratitude to SFA for a favour he had received from him. He succeeded and I was impressed.
I was with Dr. AbdulRazaq who held my hand immediately he saw yours sincerely. This ex-NEPA employee could not immediately recognise Alhaji Gambari. The latter had to remind him of the assistance extended to him when he (AbdulRazaq) was a staff member of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Alhaji Gambari then thanked him for helping him resolve the “crazy bill” syndrome he suffered before his intervention.
The interaction was not a surprise to me. It only reminded me of the need to always be good to all manner of people without necessarily expecting anything in return. The good done to a fellow human being would surely come back to the doer no matter how long it takes.
That is Dr. AbdulRazaq for you. He has been like that to many people and for several years. His exemplary life of service became more expanded and multidimensional following his transformation into a “rallying figure” for and among his contemporaries within and around Idigba axis of Ilorin, particularly in the last few years when his cousin, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, assumed office as the Governor of Kwara State.
Though, he holds no specific position in government, his influence has been remarkable. His interventions here and there had turned him into a man of influence who is always tireless in putting smiles on the faces of ordinary members of the community.
My desire was to do this and get it timely published in commemoration of his 55th birthday, which fell due over two months ago. However, since wishes were not horses, the desire was hindered by several other commitments of mine. While I initially thought of postponing doing so till next year, I eventually yielded to the temptation of getting him celebrated since it is always “better late than never “.
I make bold to say that Dr. AbdulRazaq and I have known each other for close to five decades. Those who know about my childhood would not contest this fact. I was raised at Idigba from 1973 to 1986. My generation at Idigba comes next to his. The football pitch at Idigba Oke, which attracted youngsters across and beyond Idigba, including the subject and writer of this piece, was located right behind Ile Olaomo, which was the home of my “alagbabo” (foster parents) . The Idigba Oke Mosque, which is situated in front of the ancestral home of the AbdulRazaqs, was also where my foster family and I often offered our five daily obligatory prayers. So,we saw and interacted regularly as youths then.
But I must confess that he became much more admirable to me just a few months ago. That was when I approached him for assistance on salient information while working on an article I entitled “The Footprints of the AbdulRazaq Family in Ilorin Emirate”. The article was one of the three published by yours sincerely to celebrate the turbaning of Dr. Alimi AbdulRazaq as the Mutawali of Ilorin in March this year.
Dr. AbdulRazaq amazed me with rare but honest information. Although, some of the information were not completely new to me, I was still impressed that he could divulge as much as he did. The subsequent juxtaposition of what he told me with those previously gathered from other sources reinforced my conviction on what I dished out to the public.
Let me say that I never expected him to be so forthcoming. This is because those who became privileged always share stories of “victorianism”. In his case, he was plain and honest. I remained impressed with this fantastic disposition from somebody who has always been my friendly egbon (brother) of many years standing.
Dr. Abdulrazaq was born on Wednesday March 15, 1967 into the famous AbdulRazaq family of Yerinsa Compound, Idigba Quarters, Adewole Ward, Ilorin. His father, Mallam AbdulMutalub AbdulRazaq, who died in 1972 in Zaria, Kaduna State, was a cousin to the first Mutawali of Ilorin, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq , SAN, OFR. His mother was Alhaja Humuani Abike AbdulRazaq (d. 2016) who was an offspring of the Ologbin chieftaincy family, that produces the traditional head (Alangua) of the Adewole Ward, Ilorin. His maternal grandfather was Mallam Abubakar Adewole who reigned as the Ologbin for 46 years. Funsho shares the same middle name with the first Mutawali, Folorunsho. While the meaning of the names are the same (God’s guidance), the difference is that, that of the Mutawali (Folorunsho) is the full form and old school of the name, Funsho is the short and funky form of modern day.
From the above, it can be gleaned that this outstanding patriot has a very solid family root. He equally has a rich resume as he is blessed with tremendous exposure in life. His trajectory over the years has offered him profound life training, which has contributed to making him who he is today.
Young Funsho attended Barakat Primary School, Ilorin, between 1973 and 1979 for his First School Leaving Certificate. He also attended the famous Ansarul Islam Secondary School, Ilorin between 1979 and 1984 where he bagged his West African School Certificate.
He proceeded to the Plateau School of Accountancy and Management Studies, Jos, Plateau State, where he was trained between 1986 and 1988 at the end of which he earned an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Banking and Finance. The Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, was his next port of call. He was at the institution between 1994 and 1996 for his Higher National Diploma (HND) in Accountancy.
Dr. AbdulRazaq was unrelenting as he proceeded to Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, for his Postgraduate Diploma in Finance Management and subsequently a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, in 2007.
In 2008 , he enrolled at Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso, for his Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree with specialisation in Financial Management. He was also educated at the prestigious University of Professional Studies, Benin Republic, for his Master of Science degree in Accounting and Finance, which he completed in 2016.
Between 2011 and 2012, Dr. AbdulRazaq was trained at the Nigerian College of Accountancy, Jos, Plateau State. He was, thereafter, inducted as a Member of the Association of National Accountant of Nigeria (ANAN).
This promising son of Ilorin crowned his exciting academic credentials with a doctorate degree. He obtained the highest academic qualification in Finance from the Kwara State University, Malete in 2021.
Dr. AbdulRazaq was a financial technocrat in the nation’s power industry for 16 eventful years. He was an Oga NEPA between 1998 and 2014. He was part of the story of the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). He was equally there when it became Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as he witnessed its eventual privatisation and transformation into the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) and others.
He started as a Cash Control Officer from 1998 to 2003. He served as the Customer Care Manager between 2003 and 2007. He became a Reconciliation Officer in 2007 and served as the Manager, Data and Credit Control, from 2010 and 2012. He eventually quitted the services of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) as the Business Hub Accountant in charge of the Challenge Hub of the company, a position he held between 2013 and 2014.
He subsequently established BAFUNBOL Integrated Limited, Ilorin. He has been the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company that has executed several (multimillion Naira) power projects within and outside Kwara State in its less than one decade of existence.
Dr. AbdulRazaq is a grassroot man. In spite his closeness to the seat of power on Ahmadu Bello Way, Ilorin, he remains essentially an Idigba boy. He is always at home and among the good people he grew up with sharing joy and pains. He is a regular member of the “Idigba Oke Assembly” and has remained very close to the ordinary people of his immediate ancestral community and surrounding areas who always feel free to approach him for various forms of support and assistance.
Dr. Abdulrazaq is married to Dr. (Mrs) Fatimah Funsho Abdulrazaq, an Associate Professor of Law and Head, Department of Private and Property Law at the University of Ilorin as well as the Principal Partner of Fatimah Abdulrazaq & Co., Ilorin. They are blessed with obedient children.
Let me add that though AbdulRazaq is not yet a “card-carying member” of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU),the umbrella sociocultural organisation of the good people of Ilorin Emirate, he has, nevertheless, been of great assistance to the Union in more ways than one. The Union’s National President, Alhaji Aliyu Otta Uthman, fsi, and those who “work closely” with him can attest to his support, patriotism and collaboration with the leadership of the Union at least in the last few years.
I join his numerous relations, friends and colleagues in wishing him many more years of quality existence and rewarding services to Allah and humanity.
Imam is National Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union.