The remains of the late Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Seriki Egba, Alhaji Lateef Adegbite has been laid to rest at his residence located at Onikolobo area of Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital south west Nigeria.
Dignitaries including, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Head of interim government, Chief Earnest Shonekan, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, governors of Ogun and Lagos state, were present at his funeral to pay their last respect.
Also present were former governors of Ogun state, Chief Segun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the federation, Prince Bola Ajibola, as they eulogies to the man, described as a peace maker.
Reacting to his demise, President Goodluck Jonathan, described the late cleric as a “bridge-builder who reached across ethnic and religious divides to promote peace and unity.”
The president in a statement noted that Mr. Adegbite’s tenure as Secretary-General of the NSCIA would forever be remembered for fostering peace and unity among religious groups in the country, adding that the late cleric would also be remembered for his moderating influence.
He observed that Mr. Adegbite’s “wealth of experience in government, private practice and especially in handling inter-religious matters would no doubt be missed.”
Senate President, Senator David Mark, lamented the death of Dr. Adegbite saying that the elder statesman exited when his services were most needed by the nation.
Describing him as “always forthright and outspoken especially against societal ills” Mr Mark noted that “the immense contributions of the late Islamic scholar which spread across religious and ethnic boundaries and his wealth of experience would have been handy in salvaging the challenges the nation is facing at the moment.”
Also, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu described the death of the Dr. Adegbite as a huge loss to the nation, adding that he would be remembered as being a national agent for religious stability.
The governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, described Dr Adegbite’s death as very sad and shocking.
The Governor regretted that the country has lost a bridge builder between the North and South who worked tirelessly for the unity and progress of the country and his death has created a vacuum among the Muslim Ummah which will be difficult to fill.
Late Adegbite was born on the 20th of March, 1933 in Abeokuta. He attended Methodist School, Abeokuta, from where he proceeded to the University of Southampton to study Law.
He graduated in 1962 with a BA in Law and in 1971, he was appointed Commissioner for Local government and chieftaincy matters in the old western region during the military administration of Brigadier Oluwole Rotimi.
He was later appointed the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General in 1963.
He co-founded and was the first national president of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria.
Dr Adegbite passed away in his Lagos home, on Friday, the 29th of September at the age of 79 years and has been buried according to Islamic rites.