For the Wali (the traditional Chief Law Officer) of Ilorin, Alhaji Shehu Usman Mustapha, we need not wait for our heroes to pass on before celebrating their greatness.
The man, who was named after the famous founder of Sokoto caliphate, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio is still an active participant in community development, a service that he championed from his youthful days.
The former outstanding footballer, administrator and pioneer Chairman of the Kwara State Football Association was last month, honoured, as the Kwara Football House was named after him as a reward for his sacrifice; for ensuring a solid foundation was laid for the development of the game in the state.
He played the game of soccer along with the late Justice Saka Yusuf among others, as members of the soccer team of the defunct Ilorin Province. He was also the Chairman of the Kwara State Football Association between 1973 and 1975 in the course of which he was a member of the Nigeria’s official delegation to the 1974 World Cup hosted by Germany.
Kwara Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had described the naming of the edifice after the accomplished statesman as befitting. He also acknowledged the transformation of the game in the state, owing to the solid foundation laid by Alhaji Mustapha, while speaking during the commissioning of the Football House.
‘We are glad that we are benefitting in Kwara and continue with the legacy being laid down especially with the Football House.’
‘For me, our gathering here is about two major things. The first is to commission a facility for public use. The second is about rewarding good legacies. I have been briefed that this facility is to be renamed after the Wali of Ilorin, Alhaji Usman Mustapha. I believe this is befitting.’
The Football House was the first to be commissioned, among the six grassroots football development projects, which is in connection with the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) Connect Programme, and burned out of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the NFF and Aiteo.
The commissioning dictates the commitment of the state to football development. It also indicates that the state was always in the forefront in sports, especially football, since its inception.
The project was completed with the financial support of the AbdulRazaq’s administration and the son of Alhaji Mustapha, Barrister AbdulHakeem Usman Mustapha SAN, an Ilorin-born football enthusiast who is a member of the NFF and the Confederation of African Football (CAF). He incidentally, facilitated the bringing of the project to the state, and also furnished the project, with the father benefiting his commitment and sacrifice.
Alhaji Usman Mustapha was happy, to have witnessed the commissioning of the Football House named after him. He commended the Kwara state government, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aiteo, Kwara FA and others for their support and recognition.
In a speech read on his behalf by the scion, Mallam AbdulGaniyu Mustapha, a retired Permanent Secretary, he expressed joy and satisfaction in witnessing the ceremony.
‘Having been actively involved in the genesis of this association as its first Chairman from 1973 to 1975, and a living witness and participant of its several years of metamorphoses, I can only express joy and satisfaction, witnessing this ceremony’
‘We began the journey in the early 70s, amidst abysmal funding and uncertainties. Meetings were held in my living room. Sacrifices were made by members of the board for the attainment of a larger goal. So many personal ambitions were subsumed to enable our corporate dreams to be actualized. We, as members, had to personally fund most of the programmes and projects of the association’.
‘We also witnessed remarkable triumphs. I remembered with thrills and excitement that I was privileged to be part of the delegation that traveled to Western Germany to watch FIFA World Cup competition in 1974’.
‘I must not forget the many sacrifices of the likes of Alhaji Shehu Gafar, who was a member in the early days, and Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Jaiyeola, who was the Secretary’.
Kwara Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Idris Abdullahi Musa appreciated the NFF for facilitating the building from Aiteo, and also thanked the state government for continuous support to the sports sector.
He said that naming the facility after Alhaji Mustapha was a well thought of idea, and in recognition of his role in laying a strong foundation for the development and uplift of football, which is happening in and with the state today.
He said that many notable administrators and footballers who contributed to the development of the game will also be identified and recognized.
Alhaji Shehu Usman Mustapha a distinguished statesman, foremost technocrat and outstanding politician, and the third National President of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union has no doubt touched many lives with his selflessness, commitment and sacrifice.
He served as the IEDPU National President between 1976 and 1978, during which he led the Union in a repeatedly serious, active but constructive engagements.
He is today, not only the most senior former National President of the Union but also the oldest of all the surviving past Presidents of the body and the Chairman of the Committee of Ex-National Presidents of the umbrella socio-cultural organisation of all the people of Ilorin Emirate.
In appreciation of his all-round efforts, especially as it has to do with the development of Ilorin Emirate, Alhaji Shehu Usman Mustapha was deservedly appointed and turbanned as the Wali by the Emir of Ilorin and the Chairman of the Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari (CFR).
Alhaji Mustapha came, plays, acts and is still contributing his utmost to the advancement of his community, especially now, through his children, all of whom are great figures in the society.
Among the children of this highly accomplished statesman is his eldest son, a retired Permanent Secretary in the Kwara State Civil Service, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Usman Mustapha. Others are a wife to a reknown international business magnate and the Sardaurna of Ilorin, Alhaji Umar Aminu Saro MON,CON- Alhaja Afusat Saro; a frontline Politician, former Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Kwara State and Ex-Honourable Member, who represented Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency at the Nigeria’s House of Representatives between 2011 and 2015, Alhaji Moshood Mustapha; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and President of Rules and Ethics Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Alhaji AbdulHakeem Usman Mustspha; an international business tycoon, Alhaji Kazeem Mustapha and a consumate Banker, the Executive Director, Abuja and North Region, First City Monument Bank, and the Founder/Chief Executive of the popular Sobi 101.9 F.M, Ilorin, Mallam Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha.
Other children of this examplary nonagarian include Alhaji Mudashiru Mustapha, an Ilorin-based Businessman; Alhaji Mubaraq Mustapha, who is based in the United States of America; Hajiya Shukurat Mustapha, a Lagos-based Businesswoman and Hajiya Rodiat Mustapha who is also a Lagos-based Businesswoman, among others.