By Deji Â Elumoye, Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Â Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
President Muhammadu BuhariÂ SundayÂ paid tribute to the late former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, saying his greatest assets in life were his enviable integrity and incorruptibility.
Justice Akanbi, who was pioneer chairman of the lndependent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (lCPC) died in IlorinÂ on SundayÂ morning at the age of 85.
The president, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said Akanbi who, would be long remembered for bringing enormous credibility and respectability to the country’s judiciary.
According to the statement, the president described the death of Akanbi as a colossal loss not only to the Nigerian judiciary, but the country as a whole.
The president was quoted as saying, “being respected by the people for your honesty and patriotism is the best legacy a man can leave behind.
“In a country where corruption is perceived as fashionable, Akanbi stood out as a remarkable man who put personal integrity and selflessness before the desire for money outside his legitimate income.”
The statement added that the president affirmed that Akanbi’s greatest achievement was leaving the public service with his integrity intact and untainted, noting that throughout his distinguished career in the judiciary and public service, he resisted the defeatist mindset that says, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
The president was further quoted to have said: “Great men like Akanbi didn’t believe in joining evil because it was popular or supported by the majority.”
The statement added that Buhari extended his heartfelt condolences to Akanbi’s family, the government and people of Kwara State and the entire Ilorin Emirate.
Senate President Bukola SarakiÂ in a condolence message signed by his Special Adviser onÂ Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the death of Akanbi was a personal loss to him.
He described Justice Akanbi as an indefatigable, honest and principledÂ jurist who upheld the fine ethics of the judicial process till he breathed his last.
“I am sad that Baba (Akanbi) has left us. He was fearless, courageous and spoke truth to power during his lifetime,” Saraki said.
“He was like a father to me. His death is a personal loss. Kwara State will miss him. Nigeria will miss him,” he said.
He stated that the late Justice Akanbi would be remembered for his unquenchable zeal to restore the principles of transparency and accountability in the country through his fight against corruption.
Saraki noted: “He was an anti-corruption czar who fought the malaise both when he was in and out of office. He never gave up. His untiring zeal to stamp out corruption from all facet of our national life never dimmed. He lived what he preached and you could see there was no pretense about him at all.
“He was an incorruptible jurist whose judgements could hardly be faulted while on the bench. During his stint as Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), he fought corruption with uncommon passion and courage.
“After leaving office as the ICPC boss, he again joined the board of the Justice and Law Enforcement Reformation Organisation – a non-profit organisation – to continue his anti-corruption crusade. Besides, he later established the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation, in furtherance of his quest to strengthen the culture of transparency, accountability and good governance in the country,” Saraki stated.
He described Akanbi as a true son of Kwara State whose contributions to the development of his immediate community, state in particular, and the country in general, will remain indelible in the hearts of the people.
The Senate President commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the government and people of Kwara State, and urged them to emulate the virtues and values of integrity, selfless service and unparalleled patriotism of the late jurist.
While praying Almighty Allah to grant the soul of the departed a place among the righteous onesÂ in Aljannah Firdaus, Saraki stated that he will continue to draw inspiration from the fact that late Justice Akanbi did not only live a worthy life, but was a great blessing to his generation.
The remains of the late juristÂ were interred at his Ilorin GRA residence aroundÂ 2.30pmÂ Â on Sunday.
The Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Mohammed Bashir, led the Janazah prayer that preceded the internment.
The Kwara State governor, Alhaji Andulfatah Ahmed, led dignitaries that attended the burial of the late justice.
Other dignitaries that thronged Ilorin to pay their last respect to Akanbi include a retired Appeal Court President, Justice Ayo Salami, pioneer Grand Khadi of Kwara State, Justice AbdulKadir Orire, Kwara State’s Chief Judge, Justice Sulyman Kawu, Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN), Adelodun Salman (SAN),Kehinde Elena (SAN), Saka Isau (SAN) and state’sÂ Grand Khadi, Justice Ola AbdulKadir.
Others include former grand khadis in the state, Imam Oba Fulani, AbdilMutalib Ambali and Solihu Mohammed; the national publicity secretary of APC, Bolaji Abdullahi; JAMB’s Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; vice chancellors of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State University, Al-Hikmah University; Professors, Sulymam AbdulKareem, AbdulRasheed Na’ Allah and Ibrahim Taofik respectively.
Also in attendance were former Kwara Chief Judge, Justice Raliat Elelu-Habeeb; Rector, Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, Mas’ud Elelu; former minister of Transport, Bio Ibrahim; former speaker, Kwara House of Assembly, Babatunde Mohammed; members of the state executive council and prominent Islamic scholars from far and near.
In a brief prayer after the burial rites, the Chief Imam of Ilorin prayed Allah to receive Justice Akanbi as his true servant.
He expressed delight that the late jurist led a virtuous and righteous life.
Chief Imam urged Nigerian leaders across board to emulate his simple life style and exemplary conduct “through which he impacted positively on the lives of numerous people.”