Clerics Hold Special Prayers for Saraki at Obanikoro Mother’s Burial


• As prominent Nigerians storm final internment rites

Olawale Olaleye

In what stood out from other activities on the day’s agenda, four Muslim clerics, led by the Chief Missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Olanrewaju Ahmad, who anchored the 8th Day Fidau prayer for the late Alhaja Wosilat Ejide Obanikoro, mother of the immediate past Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, yesterday set aside a few minutes for a special prayer session for the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki being a major player in the current democratic experience and sought God’s guidance on his behalf.

Saraki, who was returning from the wedding ceremony of one of the daughters of Chief Bisi Akande, a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, had also stopped by in Lagos to honour Obanikoro, whose mother died last Saturday, July 2, at the age of 95.

Although a brief prayer session, supervised also by the Chief Imam of Lagos, Mohammed Garba Akinola Ibrahim, the missioners had earlier recognised in prayers too, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing and former Lagos Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola as well as other notable and active political actors present at the event.

But a special session was specifically held for Saraki, albeit on request, at the fidau witnessed by eminent Nigerians from all walks of life, a majority of them politicians across all known political parties, accomplished businessmen and captains of industry, who had come to honour Obanikoro as he held the final burial rites for his mother.

Sheik Ahmad, who delivered the sermon for the memorial and also served the first salvo in the prayer session, said though it was a request by Obanikoro for the Senate President, he contended that it must have been informed by certain agitations shared by the both of them, adding that whatever it was they nursed in their minds, he prayed God to grant it speedily.

According to him, such a request must have been informed by something quite serious and important, which he claimed he was not privy to, but was certain that once it was predicated on truth and sincerity, God would hear their prayers and grant them.

His sermon was also hinged on righting one’s ways with God, adding that in a digital age, where people’s activities and profiles are clinically documented in the cloud, a place they remain immutable and no longer subject to obliteration, it is certain that God’s ways would be particularly more difficult to manipulate, urging those present to be mindful of their undertakings and dealings with God.

He admitted that there was no person that was completely free of sin and could be granted “total clean bill”, but held the view that even as mortals, people could be so circumspect that they would not be caught in cheap and embarrassing sins that could make them fail the simple tests by God.

Immediately he was done, other clerics too took turn to pray for Saraki, specifically asking God to see him through both the challenges he was facing and the task of nation-building set before him, albeit with a proviso that if his way was right with his God. They also asked the audience to join in the prayers with a clean heart, adding that whoever was not going to do so could be excused.

While the prayers lasted, however, guests kept trooping in and out of the venue of the memorial, held at ‘D Venue’, Victorial Island, Lagos and co-compered by a renowned comedian, Mr. Gbenga Adeyinka.

Apart from Saraki, others at the event were former governors Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun) and Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo); Senator Ganiyu Solomon, former Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Demola Seriki; the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire; former Ogun State First Lady, Mrs. Derinsola Osoba and the Managing Editor of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Eniola Bello.

There were also the Senators representing Lagos West, Ondo Central, Ogun East and Bayelsa East, Solomon Adeola, Omotayo Alasoadura, Buruji Kashamu and Ben Bruce respectively; former Air Marshal, Adesola Amosu (rtd); Chief Executive Officer of Centre Spread Advertising Agency, Mr. Kolawole Ayanwale; former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Otunba Femi Pedro; prominent Lagos politician and former Mushin Local Government Chairman, Chief Willy Akinlude, the Lagos; White Cap Chiefs led by Baba Oloye Obanikoro, Erelu Abiola Dosumu and Senator Anthony Adefuye.

Also present were the Secretary to the State Government, Lagos, Mr. Tunji Bello; former Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon. Muyiwa Oladipo and Hon. Tunde Sanusi, who both represented Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State; Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Wasiu Esinlokun; former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele; former Kogi State Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi; former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu and prominent Borno State politician, Malam Kashim Imam.

Present too were the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Kazeem Adeniyi; Chief S.O.B Babalola, Chief Rasak Akani Okoya, Justice George Oguntade, Hon. Funmi Tejuoso, Mr. Tunde Ayeni, Justice O. Dabiri, Oba Adeyemi Adeniji, Oba Gbobifabe of Yaba, Lagos and Oba Michael Ajayi from Osun; Mr. Kayode Fashola, Governor Fashola’s mother, Madam Omolara; former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith; Air Vice Marshal Ladi Smith; Chief Mutiu Are, former Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, Senator Ayo Adeseun, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Mr. Supo Sasore, Mr. Olu Okeowo, Professor Akin Oshuntokun, Mr. Reuben Abati, Senator Tokunbo Ogunbanjo and Mr. Samuel Olakunle Ojo, amongst other friends, who had come to honour the deceased and family.