30th September, 2012
A Tribute To Dr. Lateef Adegbite, the late Secretary General of the National Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs
By Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria
“I was shocked Friday night to learn the death of our brother and uncle, Dr Lateef Adegbite, the long serving secretary of the Nigerian Supreme Council for
Islamic Affairs, a lawyer, teacher and former Attorney General of the old Western state.
“His passing away was not just a personal loss to me, it was a great loss to our country, for Adegbite passed on at a time Nigeria needed
men and women of moral conviction and national and international stature to pilot it out of its present cloudy political and economic crisis.
“Adegbite was one of such few men and with his demise Nigeria has lost once again a soldier in the fight to put our country back on track”.
“As secretary of NSCIA, he was a powerful and peerless voice for change and reconciliation. He was a religious mentor and peace seeker who
brought both his religious fervor and intellectual training to bear in advancing the course of humanity.
“His death therefore provoked some personal concerns : who will now speak for our religion of Islam in Nigeria, with as much candor
that he did? Who will now offer our religiously divided country a voice of moderation?
“For Adegbite as secretary of NSCIA for more than two decades pronounced on critical issues and tried to reach accommodation with other religions, especially
“He will surely be sorely missed here at a crucial time in our country when the Islamic faithful are confronted by the public image of violence and intolerance
being painted on them by some misguided elements waging a war against fellow Muslims and their compatriots.
“We take comfort and solace in the fact that he never sowed such seeds of disharmony in the larger Nigerian society, all his life.
“Instead, he chose to defend our faith with as much vigor as he defended other faiths.
“I vividly remember his timely intervention when in 2002 some cities in Muslim North erupted in violence over the planned Miss World Beauty Pageant in Nigeria
and a Nigerian newspaper story tended to ridicule Prophet Muhammed . After a top political figure issued a fatwa as it were on
the writer of the article, saying killing the writer may be lawful, Alhaji Adegbite weighed in on the matter. He denounced the
politician’s statement, on grounds that the newspaper had issued an apology and that the writer of the article was not Muslim.
“Even though he engaged our Nobel Laureate in a public spat on who to blame on this religious violence, there was no doubt where the sentiments of
Adegbite lay: it was that Muslims should have a right to practice their religion as dictated by the injunctions of the Quran and Hadith.
“As secretary general of the NSCIA since 1988, Adegbite, along with the succeeding Sultans tried to make the organization very active and truly the supremo in
Islamic affairs in our country.
“Beyond his involvement in religious matters, Adegbite also distinguished himself in other roles that he performed for our country, starting from his days as a law
teacher at the University of Lagos, his commissionership spells in western Nigeria, his membership of the Nigeria Olympic Committee and pro-chancellorship
of the University of Maiduguri.
“He gave his best in all these assignments, earning for himself the respect of his countrymen and women.
“Bowing out at the ripe age of 79, he indeed had lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation by all and my prayer is that the children and his grandchildren members of the Muslim Umaa will continue to follow the simple and religiously devoted lifestyle that he trod while here with us.
“I pray that God will keep his soul in Aljana and I pray that God will grant the children and family, including members of the Muslim Umaa the strength to bear his irreplaceable loss.I pray that his legacy of seeking and working for peace , that of promoting religious harmony and commitment to the ideals that uphold humanity will not be allowed to die now that he is gone. ”
“Lateef Adegbite will forever remain in our memories and Nigeria will never forget him as one of the religious and political titans who charted a clear course for our
—Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu