Tribute to AGF Abdulrazaq


Professor Ben Nwabueze

I have been confined in bed for a long time by multiple illnesses of a crippling nature – that is the condition of health in which I was when in the morning of 3rd August, 2020 I received from Dr Alimi Abdul Razaq the devastating news about the death of his father, Alhaji Abdul Razaq SAN, a dear old friend of mine.

Abdul and I have been together as students in the secondary school in Onitsha in the 1940s; he was our senior prefect in 1948. He was a very brilliant student as demonstrated by his passing the highly competitive entrance examination for the Higher College, Yaba, the only Tertiary Institution of higher learning in Nigeria at the time, which later metamorphosed into the University College, Ibadan, the progenitor of the University of Ibadan. From the Higher College, Yaba, Abdul went to Trinity College, Dublin to study law returning home to Nigeria later as the first qualified Nigerian lawyer of northern origin. He had a stint in legal practice, in politics and governance. He was a minister in the Tafawa Balewa government at the time of the January 1966 coup.

Abdul and I had kept our relationship alive from our secondary school days in the 40s. I was in Ilorin in 1997 to deliver the first A.G.F. Abdul-Razaq Annual Lecture in Law and Public Policy under the title Decolonising and Democratising the Constitution in Africa.

By his death Nigeria has lost a truly learned gentleman, a polished politician, a completely detribalised Nigerian and an elder statesman. Now Abdul is gone. Those of us who have the temerity to still be alive in Nigeria of today, a country different from the one he loved so much and worked so hard for can do no more than mourn for him and wish his noble soul eternal rest.

May his noble soul rest in perfect peace.

Professor Ben Nwabueze