Opinion: Prof. Abdulraufu Mustapha (1954-2017): Witness to Being Good. By Issa Aremu, mni

Date: 2017-08-14

Though he has passed on, his rich intellectual legacy will remain relevant, widely discussed, cherished and avidly utilized. This is because Dr. Mustapha's work captured the lived experiences of Africans in diverse ways. A good many of his publications have not only been conceptually rigorous and path-breaking, they have also proven to have a long shelf life. As we mourn the passing on of our colleague and comrade, we will also continue to celebrate that he lived a life of integrity, excellence and promise."

- Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)

A comprehensive Memorial in honor of late Dr Abdulraufu Mustapha (Allah willing!) comes up on Friday 25th of August at Yar Adua Centre, Abuja. Professor Abdulraufu died on Tuesday 8 August, 2017 at the age of 63 in Oxford after a dignified and courageous battle against stomach cancer. Many thanks to Kole Shettima, the Director of MacArthur Foundation Africa Office in Abuja, Nigeria who as our official Minister of Solidarity for late comrades once again rose to the challenge of organizing (instead of agonizing!) all comrades, friends relatives to give befitting burial to the late scholar and brother. May Allah reward Kole Shettima and notable blossom childhood friends of Rauf like A.B Mahmood, (NBA President), Shehu Yahaya, Asmau Joda, Modhibo Kawu and great family members who helped at the shortest notice to make the last wish of Dr Rauf a reality; being buried at home in Ilorin.

Special appreciation to his first friend-wife, Kate, children, Asmau and Seyi Yahaya for the remarkable care for Dr. Rauf while alive and even more for the dignity with which they posthumously honored Dr Rauf remains from Oxford to Ilorin via Lagos. May Allah grant them more energy to bear the irreparable loss. While we await a comprehensive tribute session to highlight the scholarly legacy of Dr Rauf, yours comradely at the weekend witnessed the dignified burial of a good man that Dr Rauf was.

The palace of Emir of Ilorin Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari is known to host gracious and prestigious guests. But yesterday 13th of August was unique as the Emir of Ilorin, Chief Imam of Ilorin, notable palace chiefs and a host of family, friends and well-wishers eagerly but patiently awaited the return of the remains of the illustrious son of Ilorin, Dr Rauf. His remains was received at the palace amidst tears and consolation. His Royal Highness led the first prayers as people said their final goodbyes to a scholar and a good man. The traffic to the palace was a testimony to the wide and diverse impact the late Dr. had on the lives of several people. From old colleagues and classmates to influential members of Kwara state welcomed his body and accompanied him to his final resting ground. Arriving at his family home at Oke Apomu in Ilorin, the streets were filled with multitude of sympathizers mourning their loss. He was truly a man of the people with scores of testimonies about his simplicity, care for his family members and in particular his 96 years old father who is still alive to testify to a worthy caring son. Accounts of his good deed almost turned deep grief to celebration of a worthy life that impacted on humanity.

The most common of accounts were about the professorís gentle nature and his genuine heart at goodness. The hope is that these positive words and testimonies serve as some form of comfort and solace for his wonderful equally good wife and his two lovely children in this difficult period of eternal separation. Professor Abdulraufu Mustapha was an eminent scholar, author, researcher, friend and a professor of African Politics (Oxford University) United Kingdom. Born in Ilorin at Oke Apomu to Alhaji and Alhaja Mustapha 63 years ago, he attended Federal Government College, Sokoto. He later studied political science at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and proceeded to St Peterís College, University of Oxford for his Doctorate Degree and stayed back to lecture. He had held teaching positions at Bayero University Kano, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

He was a B.O.T member, Development Research and Projects Centre, (DRPC), Kano. He was until his death, a Professor in African Politics, Oxford Department of International Development (ODID), Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. He was also the Kirk-Greene Fellow at St. Anthonyís College. He was the Principal Researcher in the Nigeria Research Network which has carried out comprehensive research on Islam and society in northern Nigeria and on issues of conflict. He was a member of the editorial advisory groups for the Review of African Political Economy, and the Board of Trustees of the Development Research and Projects Centre (DRPC), Kano, Nigeria. Professor Mustapha held previous academic positions at Bayero University, Kano, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

His areas of research interest are religion and politics in Nigeria, the politics of rural societies, the politics of democratization, and identity politics in Africa. His recent publications include the following edited volumes: Gulliverís Troubles: Nigeriaís Foreign Policy After the Cold War; Turning Points in African Democratization; and Conflicts & Security Governance in West Africa. Nigeria and indeed Africa had lost a patriot, a scholar of repute at a time the continent is in dire need of critical policy ideas for growth and development.

We pray Almighty Allah grant him ALJANNA FIRDAUS. Inna Lillahi wa 'inna ilaihi raji'un.

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