President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, have paid tribute to the former President of the Court of Appeal and pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Mustapha Akanbi, who died and was buried in Ilorin, Kwara State on Sunday. He was 86 years old.
Buhari described him as a man whose greatest asset in life was his enviable integrity and incorruptibility. Saraki said it was a personal loss to him.
The President believes that Justice Akanbi will be long remembered for his enormous contributions in bringing credibility and respectability to the country’s judiciary.
According to the President, in a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, “being respected by the people for your honesty and patriotism is the best legacy a man can leave behind.
“In a country where corruption is perceived as fashionable, Akanbi stood out as a remarkable man who put personal integrity and selflessness before the desire for money outside his legitimate income.”
The President affirms that Justice Akanbi’s greatest achievement was leaving the public service with his integrity intact and untainted, noting that throughout his distinguished career in the judiciary and public service, he resisted the defeatist mindset that ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.”
“Great men like Akanbi didn’t believe in joining evil because it was popular or supported by the majority,” the President said.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described the late Akanbi as an indefatigable, honest and principled jurist who upheld the fine ethics of the judicial process till he breathed his last.
“I am sad that Baba (Akanbi) has left us. He was fearless, courageous and spoke truth to power during his lifetime,” Saraki said. “He was like a father to me. His death is a personal loss. Kwara State will miss him. Nigeria will miss him,” he said.
He stated that the late Justice Akanbi would be remembered for his unquenchable zeal to restore the principles of transparency and accountability in the country through his fight against corruption.
Saraki noted: “He was an anti-corruption czar who fought the malaise both when he was in and out of office. He never gave up. His untiring zeal to stamp out corruption from all facet of our national life never dimmed. He lived what he preached and you could see there was no pretense about him at all.
“He was an incorruptible jurist whose judgements could hardly be faulted while on the bench. During his stint as Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), he fought corruption with uncommon passion and courage.
“After leaving office as the ICPC boss, he again joined the board of the Justice and Law Enforcement Reformation Organization – a non-profit organization – to continue his anti-corruption crusade. Besides, he later established the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation, in furtherance of his quest to strengthen the culture of transparency, accountability and good governance in the country,” Saraki stated.
He described Akanbi as a true son of Kwara State whose many contributions to the development of his immediate community, state in particular, and the country in general, will remain indelible in the hearts of the people.
The Senate President commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the government and people of Kwara State, and urged them to emulate the virtues and values of integrity, selfless service and unparalleled patriotism of the late jurist.
Saraki, like Buhari, prayed Allah to grant the soul of the departed a place among the righteous ones in Aljannah Firdaus.