In the Northern Region, he is a household name. He has also earned the respect of other zones as a major player in the nation’s socio-economic and political development. He had served the country in a saner period. Now at the twilight of life, he is bothered at the turn of events, especially the lack of patriotism, the growing corruption, persistent executive rascality, and the entire malevolent social order.
Thus, while Alhaji Adbul Ganiyu Folorunsho Abdulrasaq reflects on the state of the nation at 89, he is full of nostalgia. When will the good old days return? When will naira stabilise? When will politicians play by the rules? When will poverty be abolised? What future awaits Nigeria? These are the questions that agitate the frontline nationalist. The foundation of his credibility is that the first Northerner to have attained the highest bar title of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has been devoted to the cause of truth and decency in public life. He is credited with a track record of public service. He has not contributed to the social, economic and political adversity of the beleaguered country.
At independence, he had a vision. Working with his leaders; Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, his focus was the development of the Northern Region in an atmosphere of true federalism that permitted a healthy competition among the struggling zones. He was a major participant in the nationalist struggles. The Northern delegation to the constitutional conferences was never complete without him. He was the only lawyer held I awe by both leaders and commoners. But, he was not tutored to used his privileged position to trample on the less privileged, but to guide the government and people of Northern Nigeria in their relations with other zones.
However, the military truncated the First Republic and foisted a unitary system on the country. Although the military promised to outlaw corruption, it has continued to grow I leaps and bounds. Today, after 16 years of stable civil rule, the country is still retarded by the cankerworm. This is worrisome to the old political warhorse. He has an aversion for the social ill, which he observed, was minimal in their glorious days. His position on the menace is simple. Abdulrasaq believe that its growth is underscored by the lack of conscience among those who have adopted theft and graft as ideology in high places. In his view, conscience must be revived, adding that it is the judge of independent judge and the internal version of guilt which pronounces an emotional trauma. “Everyone, irrespective of religion, ethnicity and political cleavages has conscience. Let every man obey his conscience, which in any case, cannot advise anyone to do wrong,” he said.
Alhaji Abdul Ganiyu Folorunsho Rasaqwas born on November 13, 1927 at Onitsha to Munirat and Abdul Razaq. His parents were indigenes of Ilorin from Onikatapo and Yerinsa Quarters. He attended Koranic Schools in Ilorin, Onitsha and Lagos between 1932 and 1942. In 1935, he entered the United African School, Ilorin. He spent a year in the school. In 1938, he returned to the CMS Central School, Onitsha, leaving in 1943. For his secondary education, he attended the Kalabari National College, Buguma between 1944 and 1945. Between 1945 and 1947,he attended the African College.
In 1948, Abdulrasaq gained admission into the University College, Ibadan and later, the Trinity Collage, Dublin University. He was at TCD as Trinity College. Later, he was registered at the Inner Temple, London. On February 8, 1955, he was called to the bar at the Inner temple, United Kingdom. He made name as the first lawyer from the Northern region. He enrolled in the Nigeria Bar in 1956. Not only has he continued to play a pioneering role in this regard, he has moulded seven lawyers who are from his family. Abdul Razaq obtained the Bachelor of Arts (B.A. Honours) degree in 1953, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Higher Diploma in Education (H. Dip-Educ) in 1954, Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in 1956, and SAN in 1985. In 1955, he founded the law firm of Abdul Razaq & Co. In 1955.
The eminent Nigerian has endowed his seat at the bar with visibility, honour and dignity. This is evident in his service to the learned profession. He was a Delegate to International Commission of jurists’ in Lagos & Brazil (1959 – 1962),member, National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)1958 – 1962, and the Law Reporting Committee of the Northern Nigeria (1959 – 1962). He has been a Life Bencher since 1971 and in 1984, he was the Chairman of the Body of Benchers.
From 1957 to date he has held at various times the following positions: Legal Adviser to the NPC Delegation to the Nigerian 1957 Constitution Conference, London; member of the Nigerian delegation to International Conference on Problems of Federal Constitution, Lagos in 1959;Legal Adviser to NPC Delegation to the Nigeria Constitutional Conference in London and Lagos, 1960; member of Drafting Committee of Nigeria Independence Constitution (1960), Legal Adviser to Members of Northern Delegation and Ad Hoc Constitutional Conference, Lagos in 1967; member Constitution Drafting Committee (1977); Chairman of Committee on Executive and Legislature of Constitution Drafting Committee ( 1977), member of Constituent Assembly (1978); member of the Governing Council of Nigeria College Of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria, Ibadan and Enugu, which were later elevated to the Ahmadu Bello University (A.B.U.), Universities of Nigeria, Nsukka and Ile-Ife. (1957– 1962) and a member of the Kano Land Commission (1959).
The legal luminary has also served as a member of the Small Business Commission of Northern Nigeria (1960)and the Nigerian Delegation to International Commission of Jurists, Lagos (1960). He was the Chairman of “Daily Mail” – Nigerian National Newspaper Published in Kano 1960 – 1962. He was the member (Representing Nigeria) at the OAUReconciliation Committee of Algeria/Morocco (1963); On Special Mission to USA for Federal Government Of Nigeria (1966). He was the National Legal Adviser to Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) 1956 – 1966; member of Northern House of Assembly (1959 – 1962); member of House of Representatives (1964 – 1966); Nigerian Ambassador toe Cote’ D-Ivoire (1962 – 1964); and Federal Minister of State for Railways (1965 – 1966). Abdulrasaq was a member of the Leaders of Thought of Northern Nigeria (1966– 1967); Nigerian, Delegate to 23rd UNO General Assembly,New York, USA (1968) and Kwara State Commissioner for Finance, Health and Social Welfare (1967-1972).
He was the first Northerner to be given and gazetted a substantive appointment as a Judge of High Court. But, he politely declined the appointment in 1969. He was a founding member of Capital Issues Commission (Now SEC) 1973-1977; Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1967; member of the Panel on Nigeria National Productivity Merit Award (1991); Bauchi Disturbances Judicial Commission of Inquiry (1991); member of Privileges Committee of the Nigeria Bar (Supreme Court of Nigeria) since 1991; Vice President Nigeria Stock Exchange (1983-2000); member of disciplinary Committee of the Nigeria Bar since 1995; and President Nigeria Stock Exchange (2000-2003).
Abdulrasaq was the proprietor first principal of the Ilorin College, now Government High Schoo,l which was founded in 1967. The chieftaincy titles and awards conferred on him include the Tafida of Zaria (1962), Mutawali of Ilorin (1962) and Grande Officer De La OrdreNationale DeCote D’ Ivoire (GOONCI) 1965. He was the first recipient of Kwara State Merit Award (1989). He is also an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR). A committed Muslim, he has performed the pilgrimage to Mecca between 1961 to 1963.