Few day ago a program was held to make the 8th anniversary of the demise of Baba Dr Abdullatif Adegbite, 27th of September 2020 precisely. The late Secretary General Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. The program was held virtual. I was required to make or say something about Baba Adegbite.
I am stupendously blasted with exhilaration being asked to speak on Baba Dr Abdulatif Adegbite, one of the founders of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), and her first National President. A cerebral profounder. Where does one begin from. Who can possibly talk about Baba Adegbite? An enigma! When a spoon is partially immersed in water it looks curved. When a stick is partially immersed in water it looks bend. On a shinning day you see a pool of water in front of you. All these phenomena are called refraction. They are a consequence of optical delusion. How does one guide against being delusional when speaking about Baba Adegbite? He was a phenomenal being incapable of an exact description. I found irresistible beauty of meaning and radiance in all that he did. Even at old age, his memory was prodigiously tenacious. From every of his conversation, hope peeped, or oozed out giving intimation of an assurance of a blithesome tomorrow. He was a man everyone, save the fiends, got along well with so swimmingly. He had an uncommon capacity to debarrass the essential from the accidental. He was too dignified in speech to be ribaldrous. A deeply reflective and self evaluating man. He never was detached from the sense of justice which very many people today serve as repast only to the high and mighty. Everywhere he was he inspired an awesome ambience in which one inhaled the deep odour of sanctity. The air around him was so consecrating of values and morals. He was never, ever, blighted by the prerogatives of the high offices he occupied. His love for Islam and the Muslims was lengendry. I recall with deep love and undying respect for for him when he invited us to Lagos to hold a talk on the implementation of the Shariah in the south of Nigeria. A stuff that was deemed insuperable and consequently anathematised. Obasanjo got one of the leaders of Muslims in the south west to decline us the use of the very mosque that was the venue of the program. We moved to Baba Adegbite’s house. Justice Bola Ajibola called Dr Adegbite from the UK at the instance of General Obasanjo to ask why he was fighting his government. A very puerile and fiendish thinking. Yerima had just introduced shariah in Zamfara state. So Baba desiring same for the south was a sin for which Obasanjo was ready to immolate Baba for this. Yet both were Egba chiefs. Baba never, ever, was open to inducement on either hogish or parochial considerations. Baba was unflagging. His commitment and love for Islam were meracious. Every intercourse with him was refocillating. He was solicitous for the well being of others. At Ilorin in 2009, during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Council of Muslims Organizations in Kwara State, he said to me Nurudeen let me have your CV. He had made same demand nearly a decade earlier at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, where we met at an MSSN program. He again made the demand less than a year before his death when we met at a program organized by the an agency of the United Nations. Whereas I did not give him my CV, he was undaunted in asking for it. What a great mind he was. He knew that the sinew of friendship was sincerity and frankness. He was never duplicitous. He was loyal to his convictions and friends. He knew how to blend so harmoniously with the young ones. When those beneath him in every sense of the word conducted themselves with such suffocatingly insupportable hubris, baba was a lesson in humility. He never, ever, trailed on anyone on account of the person’s ignorance. He was a great man. I am greatly beholden to him. For those of us MSSN shaped, reshaped and refocused our lives, let me find the impavidity to say that whereas our parents gave us being, Baba Adegbite spearheaded the creation of a platform that gave us well-being. A platform that has helped to render sublunary things as adjunct to our spiritual twist. If baba had lived now, his attitude towards the cascade of society towards dystopian would not have been one of inscrutable insouciance. As society becomes incrementally chaotic and dichotomized, let us in honor of baba seek to tame and domestic them centrifugal forces. This can only happen if we don the wrapper of integrity, fairness, equity, inclusiveness and sacrifice which baba was the very personification of. May Allah grant him and those who were with him during the formation of the MSSN, who are now gone back to their Lord, forgiveness and firdaus