Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU)


Kale Yusuf : The Retirement of A Super Patriot.

Date: 27th November, 2021

By Abubakar Imam

Whoever is thoughtful is always grateful
---Yoruba saying

On December 25, 2020 at the opening ceremony of the 55th annual national conference of Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU), which, was, as usual, held at the forecourt of the palace of the Emir of Ilorin, the National President of the Union, Alhaji Aliyu Otta Uthman, fsi, did the unexpected. He asked the then Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Special Duties, Alhaji Bolakale Abdullahi Yusuf, who was seated among his colleagues from Ilorin Emirate, to rise for special recognition and formal introduction to the Executive Governor of Kwara State,Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR; and other dignitaries from all walks of life who graced the event.

From among his colleagues, Alhaji Uthman specifically singled the Ikokoro-born town planner out and described him as a long time, tested and trusted member of the Union as well as a patriot par excellence.The retired intelligence technocrat opined that the Union graciously released Alhaji Yusuf to the government and people of Kwara State for use. He added that the Governor and his government were at liberty to have him for as long as it pleased them.

The Governor obviously took note of the testimony of the IEDPU President; as, a few weeks after the solemn event, Alhaji Yusuf, was, in addition to his job as a Permanent Secretary, directed to supervise the Kwara State Bureau of Lands as its Director-General. He combined the two offices effectively. And when he retired following his attainment of 35 years of age in service in April,2021, Alhaji Yusuf continued offering services as the Head of the Bureau until two weeks ago when the Kwara State Government thanked him for a job well done and formally brought the Bureau under the newly created Kwara State Geographical Information Service.

Yes, anyone who joined either the civil or public service and even a private organisation knows that he has a terminal date. But the retirement of increasing number of Ilorin patriots from the services of Federal, State and Local Governments has been a cause for concern for the succeeding leaderships of the IEDPU. In recent times and in the next few months, many of our compatriots had left and would be leaving services in their numbers after either clocking 35 years in service or attaining the age of 60.

Without prejudice to very distinguished senior compatriots in service, I must ask that do we have quality replacements for the retired and retiring ones? Do we have enough number of indigenes of Ilorin Emirate who are good, competent and qualified enough to attain the pinnacles of the various services? Do those likely replacements have the agility, foresightedness,perseverance and patriotism as the retired and retiring ones? Can the present crops of civil servants from Ilorin Emirate defend the cause of the community as done by the Gobirs, the Saka Saadus, the Rasheed Salmans,the Kamaldeens, the Shehu AbdulGafars and the L A. K.Jimohs, among other patriots, during their times?

Without an iota of adulation but premised on the little I know I can say that the subject of this piece, to a great extent, is a replica of those mentioned distinguished public servants. While in service, he was always ready, courageous and daring once he was convinced of a cause, particularly when it had to do with the general interest of Ilorin Emirate. He was seen as the cross-bearer of decency and "ilorinism" everywhere he served in the last eventful 35 years.So well that he was consistently accused of being too "Ilorincentric".

Yours sincerely is, therefore, of the firm conviction that Alhaji Yusuf has done too well for himself and Ilorin Emirate community to leave service "anonymously". To this author, it is essential to throw spotlight on him and his career for the benefit of those who are still in service and future generations of civil servants from Ilorin Emirate and beyond to emulate.

Alhaji Yusuf is a respected professional town planner, foremost environmental technocrat and seasoned community leader who came, saw and conquered as far as his schedules of duties were concerned. This "relatively short man with tall accomplishments" was born in Ilorin on January 26,1964. His father was Alhaji Ayinla Yusuf Irewami (d.2011) ,while his mother, who hailed from Bayero Compound, Baboko, Ilorin; was Alhaja Bilikisu Yusuf.

This outstanding technocrat is a Member of the famous Alikali Ikokoro family of Oke-Aluko, Ilorin. His family is, no doubt, one of the highly respected courtesy of its consistent production of highly valued members who contributed hugely to the projection, polishing and preservation of the veritable image of Ilorin Emirate over the last two centuries. Alikali Ikokoro Compound was the home of the author of the first treatise on the history of Ilorin, Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Abubakar, aka Alfa Omo Ikokoro(1870-1936).Shaykh Ikokoro's most remarkable gift to humanity is his celebrated, extensively and perennially consulted work,which he authored over a century ago. It must be understood that as accomplished as this outstanding scholar,jurist,soldier and public servant was he only "emulated the greatness" of his forebears as he also succeeded in creating an imperishable footprints for himself. The unassuming pioneer Chief Judge of Kwara State, Honorouble Justice Saidu Kawu, CON,(1928-2013), who incidentally made history as the first Kwara-born Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and one of the few who were elevated from the State bench to the apex court and the immediate past Madawaki of Ilorin was also a member of the family. His son, Justice Suleiman Durosinlorun Kawu (b.1958), whose career also opened a new page for the famliy and Ilorin Emirate in the history of judiciary in Nigeria as the first son of a Chief Judge of a State who would serve as the Chief Judge of the same State, is also a proud member of the family. The current Head of the family, Alhaji Saadu Aluko, is not only a member of the first generation of degree-holding Pharmacists from Ilorin Emirate but also a retired Chief Pharmacist of Kwara State . Other prominent members of the family are the Imam of Alikali Ikokoro Mosque, Alhaji Eyitayo Aluko, who is a Member of the 1950 set of Ilorin Middle School (now Government Secondary School), Ilorin, and retired public servant of note; a retired Head of Civil Service, Kwara State,Alhaji Yusuf Kawu Daibu (b. 1957); as well as my benefactor and leader, Alhaji Sikiru Saidu,who once served as the Chairman of the old Ilorin Branch of the IEDPU and President, Balogun Fulani Ward Development Association .The immediate past Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission and a first class patriot, Mallam Ishaq Moddibo Kawu (b. 1960);Mallam Issa Oladimeji Saad, the Director-General,Kwara State Hospital Management Bureau; and Honourable Ahmed Yinka Aluko, the Special Adviser on Special Duties to the Governor of Kwara State,are also distinguished members of the family, among several others who are too numerous to mention.

Before I am summoned by gender activists,I must say that the great Alikali Ikokoro family has also produced phenomenal women. The late Hajiya Adama Bola Saadu,who died in active service as Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on June 6,1996,was a daughter to the family. Mrs Titi Kawu-Gbadebo,a distinguished lawyer of over four decades,and Hajiya Hassanat Taiye Yusuf Lawal,wife to my brother and mentor, Dr Yusuf Bolakale Lawal of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB),also hail from the scholarly Ikokoro family. By marriage, Honourable Justice Safiyat Titi Daibu(b. 1959),the next in rank to the Honourable Chief Judge of Kwara State;and Hajiya Saadat Modibbo Kawu,the Honourable Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Kwara State,are also respected members of the illustrious family.

Considering his family background, it would have, therefore, been most surprising and incongruous if Alhaji Yusuf behaved otherwise. He could not have been anything but a patriot going by his fantastic pedigrees. He , indeed, lived up to the reputation built by his illustrious forebears who fought for and defended the sanctity,integrity and dignity of Ilorin with their sweat, brain and even lives.

Young Kale attended Oke Aluko Native Authority Primary School, Ilorin, from 1971 to 1976. He was also trained at Ilorin Grammar School, Ilorin, between 1977 and 1981. Upon completion of his West African School Certificate, Alhaji Yusuf was admitted into Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, where he earned the Ordinary National Diploma(OND) and the Higher National Diploma(HND) in Town Planning in 1985 and 1990, respectively.

Despite being a busy top technocrat, Alhaji Yusuf was determined not to limit his intellectual and professional wherewithal. He consequently bagged a Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Public Administration from the same Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, in 1998.

Alhaji Yusuf was also a student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, between 2002 and 2003 from where he received a Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Urban and Regional Planning. He also attended the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti from 2001 to 2003 and between 2013 and 2015 at the end of which he earned Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Environmental Management (MEM), respectively.

He had, following his graduation with the minimum professional qualification of the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) from Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin; joined the services of Kwara State Town Planning and Development Authority in 1986 as a Site Reporter. He rose through the ranks to become the Head, Patrol Services of the Authority in 2011. After about two and half decades of tremendous services as a direct regulator of buildings and physical development, he was deployed out of the Town Planning and Development Authority. From April, 2017 to May,2020, he was the Director, Urban and Regional Planning at the Kwara State Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

In May, 2020, Alhaji Yusuf was deservedly appointed as a Permanent Secretary in the Kwara State civil service by the administration of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq. He served as the Permanent Secretary in the Kwara State Ministry of Special Duties from May ,2020 to April, 2021 during the course of which he was the Accounting Officer of the Ministry as his schedule also included attending to emergency disasters across the State.

As a Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Yusuf was simultaneously appointed as the Director-General of the Kwara State Bureau of Lands in January 2021. He, however, retired from the regular services of the State in April, 2021 following his attainment of 35 years service age.

My interactions with some of the staff members of the Bureau revealed that his 11 months sojourn in the pinnacle of land administration in the "State of Harmony" marked a new dawn in the agency as members of the public got their perceptions completely and positively changed due to the high level of professionalism he brought to bear on its activities. He simply gave a good account himself by confirming the fact that "bibire kose fi owo ra" and the fact that "ofisi ni ri eyin akowe".

As a versatile professional, Alhaji Yusuf is a Member of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planning(NITP). He is also a Member of the Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria. He has participated in many professional enhancing programmes of the two organisations, which sharpened his technical wherewithal.

Being a committed patriot, this great son of Ilorin is an active Member of Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union. He has been a member of the Union for more than three decades. He joined IEDPU in Jos.

For his membership of the Union, Alhaji Yusuf has gained and suffered a lot. I sincerely believe that he had gained tremendous divine rewards for his selfless services to his community as I am convinced that the number of hours and days and the magnitude and quality of energy, intellect and financial resources he deployed to serving the cause of Ilorin Emirate and humanity cannot and would not be in vain going by the provisions of the Glorious Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). On the other hand, Alhaji Yusuf also tasted and swallowed bitter pills through punitive transfers, deployments, denials and denigration for being too bold to say his mind as far as matters pertaining to Ilorin Emirate were concerned. He suffered the same fate with his alter ego and "twin brother", Alhaji AbdulRauf Babatunde Issa (Hajj Young) on so many occasions one of which drew the attention of a former Chief Executive of Kwara State. I know most of these because I have known the duo for close to three decades as I have also worked with them closely in IEDPU for two decades.

Alhaji Yusuf served as the Secretary of the old Ilorin Branch of the Union in the early 2000s. He was also the National Financial Secretary of the Union between 2002 and 2004.He was the National Publicity Secretary of the Union under the leadership of the man who took pleasure in addressing him as his in-law, Honourable Justice Saka Yusuf, OFR (d. 2018), from 2011 to 2013, among several other key offices and ad hoc assignments he held in and offered the umbrella sociocultural organisation of the people of Ilorin Emirate.

This newest member of the "Senior Citizens of Nigeria" and the Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries in Kwara State, who enjoys football and traveling as hobbies, is married to Hajiya Suliyat Yusuf, a Nurse by profession and priceless daughter of Lanwa community in Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State.The marriage is blessed with children including Barrister Fatima Yusuf.

Though Alhaji Yusuf is untired despite his retirement,he and his family and associates have every cause to be grateful to Almighty Allah for seeing him through his career. This is because of so many reasons. He attained the enviable pinnacle as it is not every civil servant who gets to the exalted rank of Permanent Secretary. He also retired meritoriously,gloriously and peacefully. Several did not enjoy the privilege as some died along the way while many were unceremoniously shown the way out for reason(s) they know nothing about but were just unfortunate victims. He also left the service with his sanity intact and in sound health. Many lost theirs in the cause of their careers. He also exited with an unsoiled integrity. Most importantly, he is alive to tell his stories.

As Alhaji Yusuf settles down to a life in retirement, I wish him sound health, peace of mind and all the good things of life that would make him to live long enough to earn his pensions longer than he earned salaries. Aamiin.

Imam is National Publicity Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union