Prof. M.M. Akanbi: A massive fish gone out of the ocean

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By Abdulrauf Toyin, KURANGA

Words seem too feeble in moments like these. But Surely, Allah takes what is His, and what He gives is His, and to all things He has appointed a time. Those who have patience get rewarded. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Our hearts still ache in sadness, for what it means to lose you no one will ever know. You were a father, a friend, a Boss and a mentor whose worth can never be told. You have left in our hearts a vacuum no one can fill. I miss you now and always will. The loss of a Boss like a father and a friend no matter how old changes one’s life forever, you never really get over the loss, you learn to live with the loss and he is never far from your thoughts.

Prof. Akanbi was a man like no other, if love, humility and compassion had a form in humans then it was him, he was an icon worthy of emulation, a true definition of what a family man should be. He was a hero, a strong support system, a hardworking and strong individual who was always there for his family, friend and associates. To him, everybody was his family and family meant so much to him; he never travelled and left home for a long time. He was selfless, he lived for others always willing to help, he is highly principled and stood firm for what he believed was in the general interest of everyone. He was a team maker and player, always there for peacekeeping and upholding ties and friendship.

There is a family bond. Kuranga and Akanbi, like a Siamese. Like he fondly called me, “Omo Alikali”, my father was a father to him, and a friend to his late father. My siblings cherished the relationship we had with Akanbis. He gave so much importance to the well-being of the people around him. His staff members – teaching and non-teaching at the Kwara State University, Malete and other places could testify to his uncommon humility. Just like the people of the Malete community, they all could bear witness to the selflessness and progressiveness of Prof. Akanbi. He had visions and lofty dreams that could inspire sustainable development at KWASU. He wouldn’t see himself as a Vice Chancellor or Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

He was a friend to us all. There are no words enough to describe just how amazing he was to us and all the lives he touched and what a powerful influence he was.

Prof. Akanbi was loved so dearly and brought so much happiness to the many hearts he touched. He was always kind, caring and understanding. And if help was ever needed then it came so freely from him. He was a blessing and Gods gift to everyone he came across and brought so much joy to us. At a young age, he had achieved a lot. He was not only a Professor of Law, A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a Vice Chancellor, but he was also a loving father, a caring husband, a bridge builder, a philanthropist, a teacher and a mentor, one of a kind. He had been a steady compass at work patient, supportive, and a truly wonderful boss. At work, he has been a formidable leader and has motivated me to face challenges head-on.

Life became empty ever since he left. Hot tears still flow ceaselessly from my eyes each time I want to discuss my plans with him at the special odd hours and I remember youre gone, but your loving, caring, fatherly role and legacy will continue to give solace to my humble heart.. The morals and values you taught us will continue to be a guiding light in our lives. We will try our very best to live by the pious virtues youve raised us with. We will always remember that charming smile of yours, that caring heart, and most importantly, a valuable life lesson that everyone is a family and family is key and to always stay together through thick and thin, and to support, love and respect each other. He was a great character worthy of emulation and we will all love to live by your legacy. For as long as there is memories, they live in our hearts to stay. When someone dies, they live on in the hearts of those left behind and when we die, we are promised to be reunited with our loved ones. Lets hold onto hope, it is everywhere in the deen. Love leaves a memory no one can steal. When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.

Nevertheless, as painful as it gets, I am incredibly grateful to have spent my good moments with him. He was a fighter. He fought his battle so well that he could fight no more because it was time. Alhamdulillah, he died fulfilled knowing he had the greatest support of his family and friends who meant so much to him. I am pleased knowing heaven has gained an angel by the special grace of Almighty Allah because His mercy were present during his last moments. A once agile, strong and active individual who was later reduced to nothing as his remains were buried within.

In his own philosophy, he believed that the community must strive to pay a particular attention to its youth as well as its land, which he labelled as the fundamental capitals of a society. As such, he cherished to invest in people’s talent and potentials. With no particular reference to his landmark achievement, Prof. Akanbi has emerged as one of the philanthropists who believes that flowing waters makes stagnant water move. As a result, he feels investing ones riches and resources on peoples happiness is the best form of sacrifice.

In his modest capacity, he has made life-changing efforts to reconstruct lives of individuals who had seen themselves and had been considered as societal dregs. As a disciplinarian, he had zero tolerance for immoral acts and societal ills. To him, acts of faithfulness, unalloyed loyalty, humility, trustworthiness, and honesty are the best weapons to conquer a fortified castle surrounded by warriors.

Today and always, I will pay tribute to my mentor, father and boss Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Olaroungbe Akanbi. A few times a year, he would prepare emergency packages and distribute them to the vulnerable around him. I have particularly watched him foot medical bills of those in need of it, pay school fees and empower people and one of the reasons he created a non-governmental organization called, MMGIVIT. He was indeed a rare human. His death has been a bitter pill for me and many others to swallow.

It is not common at this stage of our careers to have people who shape our intellect, interest, and life in general. But my mentor did that. While we were originally brought together by family relations, I soon began to learn from his views and perspectives and his wealth of knowledge officially by working closely with him. That will always be fundamental for my understanding of the world. I hope that when people come across the likes of my mentor, they won’t take it for granted. I certainly never did, and never will. Prof. Akanbi, You carved your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. One of the last words I heard from him still rings true; ‘’God will not waste a single hurt that weve been through’’. As such, I will still mourn his loss, but I will never forget… That God is watching over me; and is not finished with me yet.

Truly, to Allah we belong and truly to Him we shall return. May Allah S W T have mercy on my friend, Boss and mentor, forgive his sins, shine his light upon him, expand his grave and grant him Janatul Firdaus. And may He have mercy on all the ones that have passed before us. Ameen.

A man has died and taken his place, in heaven within its glorious space. Nevertheless, Im so grateful that he taught me that all dreams can come true as long as we are consistent in our pursuits.

Adieu Olaroungbe Aremu oko Shakirat baba Sakinah, Muhammed, Munfa’at ati Dhul-Qarnain

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