Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has observed that the death of the Nigerian-born Oxford University scholar, Prof. Abdulrauf Mustapha, was a very devastating and sad occurrence.
A statement by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Sola Fasure, noted that Aregbesola received the news of the death of the foremost scholar of African politics at Oxford University, with shock but submission to the will of Allah.
The statement averred that the death of the don came on the heels of the passage of his (governor’s) own mother’s death, an incident he is gradually coming to terms with, thus finding it difficult to live with the fact that a dear comrade is gone again.
Aregbesola stated that Prof Mustapha had a brilliant academic pedigree, beginning with his bachelor’s degree at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and later post graduate degrees, including a doctorate at Oxford University, in England and thereafter taught at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Ado Bayero University, Kano, and had a tenured appointment at Oxford University before his demise.
Cataloguing some of the deceased academic’s achievements, the Governor said Prof Mustapha conducted extensive research into religion and politics in Nigeria, the politics of rural societies, democratisation, and identity politics in Africa; written seminal papers on these subjects which brought understanding and clear insight.
The statement read in part: “But beyond his brilliant academic engagement, he was a dogged fighter of the ideological left. He was a keen student of dialectical materialism. However, ideology, for him, is not for its own sake.
“It consists in how it can be used to lift the human condition. It is on how it can bring emancipation to those in the bondage of neo-colonialism, economic exploitation, religious bigotry, ethnic chauvinism, ignorance, diseases and political subjugation of any form.
“He lived this with passion, his entire being and all his resources. Aregbesola recalled how the struggle for the emancipation of the masses and downtrodden brought him and the late Mustapha together. According to him, “He was a kindred soul and this passion drew us together. AbdulRaufu Mustapha was an ideological acquaintance of mine in the 1980s.
“He was a great humanist and a committed fighter for the oppressed and marginalized classes in the society. He was a believer in the social organization of production for the benefit of all and not the exploitative relations of production for the benefit of a tiny few.
“He believed rightly that there are enough materials on the earth for all humans to live comfortably, with the rich having enough and the not-so-rich not lacking anything, but having the good life as well.
“More importantly, he was of the opinion that every human is endowed with enough intellectual and physical capabilities to contribute meaningfully to the development of the society, if their latent talents are well tapped and developed.
“For the period our relationship lasted, he exhibited the best in human relationship. He was caring and showed deep understanding and sensitivity to human complexity, graces, frailties and challenges. But he was a great believer in human goodness and capacity for greatness.
“He related well with every one that came across his path, such that it became difficult to pin him down to a particular ethnicity, religion and other dividing social identities.
“His death is a huge blow to the leftist movement in Nigeria and the world over; the academic community, particularly in Oxford University where he distinguished himself as an exceptional scholar; the fighters for the cause of the down trodden and underprivileged people; his friends and associates; and all men of goodwill.
“On behalf of my family, the government and the good people of Osun, I offer condolences to his family (near and extended), particularly his wife, Kate, and his children, Asmau and Seyi, his colleagues at Oxford and the Government and the good people of Kwara State. May he find peace in his new station.”