Saheed Ashafa writes a tribute to Chief Gani Adetola-Kaseem, Principal Partner of Gani Adetola-Kaseem (SAN) Legal Practice who died on Monday, 8th January, 2018. Adetola-Kaseem was the lead counsel in the Lagos hijab case against the Lagos State government till it was won at the Court of Appeal in 2017.
I write with heart-felt lamentation and praise of Almighty Allah for a life well lived. However, with the passing away of this defender of the rule of law and justice, a quintessential personality, brilliant, dogged, indefatigable, relentless, entertaining but uncompromising promoter of human rights, who dedicated his adult life to the cause of humanity and Allah, it is an understatement to say the MSSN and Muslims in general have suffered a back-breaking subtraction that would be difficult to replenish for a very long time.
Apart from the religious sphere, Nigeria and especially the legal profession have indeed lost an illustrious and enigmatic personality. Quite evident is the fact that in spite of all that he had been able to accomplish in his fulfilled life in the course of his practice as a lawyer and other selfless activities, he remained an epitome of modesty and humility, who never looked down on anybody.
He was always ready, even eager to help others in the time of need of moral, social and psychological succour. Adetola-Kaseem’s heart was always driven by empathy and uncommon compassion for his fellowman.
Humbly, I am pleased to name baba, Hero of the People (HOP), for his consistent and persistent fight against all forms of oppression and repression, especially as a core supporter, lead counsel and a motivator of our struggle against the ban of hijab usage by students in Lagos State.
His passage is particularly painful for us in MSSN Lagos, for the roles he played in supporting actively our activities, including being a patron of the MSSN Lagos for more than ten years now . He was the chairman of many of our occasions, the last being our 2016 reportorial conference. He is one of the few whose intellectual support and guidance have greatly impacted on us.
Baba Adetola-Kaseem was an embodiment of morality. He never discussed schism but gives life-changing inspirational talks whenever the youths were opportune to sit around him.
Adetola-Kaseem, who died on Monday – 08/01/2018, was indeed a rare kind and in a class of his own.
I pray that Allah (SWT) forgive his shortcomings, accept his sacrifices and admit him to Al-janat Firdaus.
Inna Liĺlahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajiuun
Dr. Saheed Ashafa is the Amir of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos