Former Oyo State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi, is one of the politicians close to the late Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Arisekola-Alao. He was one of the late business mogul’s close confidants. He in fact spoke with him in London a day before he died. Gbolarumi spoke with WESTERN POST on the late businessman cum Islamic scholar….
What is your immediate recollection of Alhaji Arisekola-Alao one year after?
When you talk of somebody like Aare Arisekola-Alao, you are talking about somebody who had everything he wanted in life in abundance. He was a godly person and he was a man who believed in je ki nje, live and let live. This was a person who did not believe in age. To him, human beings are all equal before Almighty Allah. He was a man who believed that all humans should be friends; we should all be family members irrespective of where we come from. He did not believe in sentiments. He believed we are all one. That was why everybody loved the man; we are all his people, we are all saddened that he left us.
What do you miss most about him?
I missed many things, and I believe everybody will miss many things about him too. Whoever that was so close to Aare Arisekola will surely miss the man because he would never hurt you. For anything, he would not ask whether you are from Sokoto or Kafachan. If he liked you and believed in you, he would go to any length to do what he wanted to do for you irrespective of what people would say. You will agree with me that even Northerners have respect for Alhaji Arisekola-Alao perhaps more than we Yoruba because they believed so much in him. You know he was the Deputy National President of the National Council for Islamic Affairs. Everybody loved him and he loved them as well. Everybody loved him and they all had access to his home anytime he was around.
Were you in any way privy to his last moments?
Actually, we spoke a day before his demise. We spoke at length, we discussed many things, even general things and he said he would be back to Nigeria soon. He died on a Wednesday. I remember we were all expecting him on Thursday. Unfortunately, he did make it. The next thing I heard was that he was dead. It was so painful to me; he was really a father, brother and a confidant. I really missed him and I will continue to miss him. Imagine the Ramadan Festival that is on now. This was a man that would not even be scared that a lot of people would be looking up to him to make the Ramadan worthwhile for them by giving them money and materials for the festival because he would have prepared himself for it. He would tell people not to bother, he would say whatever they would need, they should let him know, especially the less -privileged ones. He would give everybody according to his or her needs, even me, if i told him what I would give out to people on Ramadan, he would tell me not to worry that he already knew. And he would even do beyond my expectation, even to my driver. And there is one thing about him, whatever Alhaji Arisekola gave you, no other person would know about it. That is his kind of person that he was.
There are reports about some controversies among the children with respect to his estate. I don’t know what advice you will have for them.In this kind of situation you should expect that. But I don’t even like to discuss this kind of thing because it’s a family thing. And it is being resolved. It’s like there are some people who are peddling some misconception about it all. His immediate children are not his only children; many others are his children as well like myself. And we are all trying to resolve whatever differences there is so that peace can reign in the family.