President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has described the late Dr. Abdul-Lateef Oladimeji Adegbite as a bridge-builder who reached across ethnic and religious divides to promote peace and unity in the country.
The President said “Dr. Adegbite’s tenure as the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) would forever be remembered for fostering peace and unity among religious groups in the country and for his moderating influence.”
President Jonathan observed that Dr. Adegbite’s wealth of experience in government, private practice and especially in handling inter-religious matters would no doubt be missed.
“He was a devout Muslim leader, distinguished lawyer and academic,” the President further noted, adding that the late Seriki Musulumi and Baba Adinni of Egbaland served meritoriously as Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Public Awareness on Security and Civic Responsibilities.
President Jonathan urges the Adegbite family, the people of Ogun State, the Muslim community and Nigerians to take consolation in the knowledge that the late renowned Muslim leader made indelible contributions to the development of the country. He prays that God Almighty would grant his soul eternal rest.
In a related development,former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said Nigeria has lost a voice of unity and moderation with the death of Alhaji Lateef Adegbite, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
In a condolence message released by his media office on Saturday in Abuja, the former Vice President noted that the late Adegbite would be always remembered for his untiring efforts to bring unity and understanding between Muslims of the North and South, thereby making them speak with one voice on matters of common interest and the country’s larger interest.
According to Atiku, the late Adegbite, in collaboration with former Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki, had significantly removed the seeming distrust between the Muslims of the South and the North.
The Turaki Adamawa also recalled Adegbite’s role in dousing tensions in the country at challenging moments. He particularly recalled Adegbite’s role in nipping crisis in the bud during protests against THISDAY Newspaper following the publication of perceived blasphemous material when Nigeria was about to host Miss World Beauty Pageant in 2002.
According to him, the late Secretary General ended the crisis by advising Muslims to accept THISDAY’s well-meaning apology in good faith and stop further protests that could be hijacked by miscreants and overshadow the validity of the complaints by aggrieved Muslims.
The former Vice President said the late legal luminary and former Attorney General in the defunct Western Region had left a vacuum as a peace maker which would be difficult to fill.
Atiku Abubakar prayed to the Almighty God to forgive the gentle soul of the late Adegbite and give his family the fortitude to bear this heavy loss.
He also urged the Jama’atul Nasril Islam and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to immortalize the late Adegbite in recognition of his outstanding role as a voice of unity and moderation.