Profile: Abdul Ganiyu Folorunsho Abdul-Razaq

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AGF ABDUL -RAZAQ SAN, OFR, First Northern Lawyer And Father Of Legal Practice In Nigeria

Submitted by James Uzondu on Mon, 02/17/2014 – 13:56
The setting was Onitsha. The month was November and it was the year 1927. – By Dapo Olaosebikan

he setting was Onitsha. The month was November and it was the year 1927. Abdul Ganiyu Folorunsho was born to Munirat and Abdul Razaq both indigenes of Ilorin  from Onokatapo and Yerinsa Quarters respectively in  the present of Adewole ward of Ilorin west Local Government.

As was the tradition in those days the young Abdul Ganiyu attended Koranic and elementary school in Ilorin, Onitsha and Lagos between 1932 and 1942.

He commenced western education in 1935 at the United African School, Ilorin and stayed there till 1936.
It was to Onitsha again he returned in 1938 to attend the CMS central school, which he left in 1943. His secondary school education began at Kalahari National College, Buguma between 1944 and 1945. The alluring call of Onitsha was to beckon again between 1945 and 1947 when he attended the African College.

His good college training prepared the solid foundation for his subsequent university training, first as a foundation student in 1948 at the then University College, Ibadan  and later at the Trinity college, Dublin University, the Republic of Ireland’s (Eire) answer to Oxford and Cambridge. He was at TCD as Trinity College; Dublin  was fondly called  from 1945- 1954  and simultaneously was registered at the inner Temple London from 1951 to 1954.  He was called to the Bar as a Barrister-at -law, on February 8, 1955 as the prestigious inner Temple became more or less a matter of due compliment because it was a pioneering start.

The first lawyer of Northern Nigerian origin to be so called, Ilorin being in the then Northern Region of Nigeria in 1956; His pioneering roles was not limited to the Northern Region, indeed, in his family he blazed a trail to be followed by seven other members into the legal profession some of whom are Doctorate degree holders, master Degree holders and one who combines the profession of chartered Accountancy with that of legal profession, as well as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Abdul Ganiyu  Folorunsho Abdul Rasaq obtained for himself the Bachelor of Arts (BA Honours) Degree in 1953, Bachelor of laws (LL.B) AND Higher Diploma in Education  (H. Dip- Education) in 1954, master of Arts  (MA) Degree in 1956, and crowned it all  with the prestigious title  of Senior Advocate of Nigeria  in 1985. The young lawyer that he was, on his return to Nigeria, founded the law firm of Abdul Rasaq & Co in 1955. In the service of his profession he was variously:

1. Nigerian delegate to International Commission of Jurist.
2. Member, National Executive Committee of the Northern Bar Association (NBA) Nigeria 1958- 1962
3. Member, Law Reporting Committee of Northern Nigerian 1959- 1962
4 . Life Benchers since 1971
5. Chairman of the body of benchers -1984

His legacy of public service is commendable as it is outstanding. From 1957 to date he has held at various times the following:

1. Legal adviser to the NPC Delegation to the Nigerian Constitution Conference, London. 1957
2. Member, of the Nigeria Delegation to International Conference on Problems of Federal constitution, Lagos, 1959.
3. Legal Adviser to NPC Delegation to the Nigeria constitutional conference-London and Lagos- 1960
4. Member of Drafting Committee of Nigeria Independence Constitution -1960
5. Legal advisers to members of Northern Delegation and Ad Hoc Constitutional Conference, 1967
6. Member Constitution Committee (CDC-49 “WISEMEN”)- 1977
7. Chairman of Committee on Executive and Legislature of Constitution Drafting Committee -1977
8. Member of Constituent Assembly -1978
9. member of the Governing Council of Nigeria College of Arts science and Technology, Zaria, Ibadan and Enugu that were later elevated to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), UNIVERSITIES OF Nigeria, Nsukka  and Ile-Ife( 1957- 1962)
10. Member, Kano Land Commision-1959
11. Member, Small Business Commission of Northern Nigeria-1960
12. Member, Nigerian Delegation to International Commission of Jurists, Lagos-1960
13. Chairman, Daily Mail, a Nigerian national newspaper published in Kano-1960-1962
14. Member, (Representing Nigeria) of the OAU reconciliation Committee of Algeria/Morocco-1963
15. On special mission to USA for Federal Government of Nigeria of 1966
16. National Legal adviser to Northern Region Government party (NPC) 1956-1966
17. Member of parliament (Northern Region House of Assembly) 1959-1962 (Federal parliament) 1964-1962
18. Nigerian Ambassador to Ivory Coast (1962-1964)
19. Federal cabinet Minister Of State for Railways (1965-1966)
20. Member of the leaders of thought of Northern Nigeria (1966-1967)
21. Nigerian Delegate to 23rd UNO General Assembly New York, USA -1968
22. Kwara State Commissioners for Finance, Health And Social Welfare (1967-1972)
23. First Northern to be given gazette a substantive Appointment as a Judge of High Court but politely decline the appointment (see Decree NO.69 OF 1969)
24. Member of Capital Issues Commission 1973-1977
25. Member   of the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange Since 1967
26. Member of the panel on Nigeria National Productivity Merit Award-1991
27. Member of Bauchi Disturbances Judicial Commission of Inquiry-1991
28. Member of Privileges Committee of the Nigeria Bar (Supreme Court of Nigeria) SINE- 1991
29. Vice President, Nigerian stock Exchange (1983-2000)
30. Member of Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar since 1955
31. President Nigerian stock Exchange (2000-2003)

His service was not limited to public sector alone. In his career, he is a progressive combination of public and private sector services, dutifulness, diligence and distinction? In the private sector he was the founder, first principal and proprietor of Ilorin College, Ilorin now Government High School that was founded in 1967. He has also being involved as chairman and Director of many private companies. Nothing succeeds as success itself, especially when it is based on solid and credible foundations. This is clearly evident from the array of well deserved honours that have been bestowed on him, time and time again. Some of these, for example include:

1. The Tafida of Zaria June-1962
2. The Mutawali of Ilorin-August 1962
3. Grande officer De La Orde Nationale De Cote D’ voire ( GOONCI)-1965
4. First Recipient Kwara State Merit Award-1989
5. Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR)- 2001

Alhaji Abdul Gniyu Folorunsho Rasaq is a devout Muslim and in fulfilment of the five pillars of Islam he was variously on pilgrimage to Mecca between 1961 and 1963.

As a senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) his contribution to legal knowledge and profession is manifested in several ways some of which have already been enumerated to various legal publications over a period of forty two years. His treatise on LAW IN Hausa Language titled “Dan Adam Da Sharia” published in 1957/58 remains to date a major work.

As an individual, indeed as a family man, Alhaji Ganiyu Folorunsho Abdul Razaq remains simply a humble, deeply religious, God- fearing and humanitarian person. To coincide with his 70th Birthday Anniversary in November 1977, the family presented the endowment of the A.G.F.  Abdul Razaq Chair in Public Law at the University of Ilorin.

The event also marked the first in the series of A.G.F.Rasaq annual lectures on law and public policy.

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