President Muhammadu Buhari has paid tribute to the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, describing him as a man whose greatest asset in life was his enviable integrity and incorruptibility.
The President disclosed this in a condolence message issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday.
Buhari believed that late Akanbi would be remembered for his enormous contributions in bringing credibility and respectability to the country’s judiciary.
He said: “Being respected by the people for your honesty and patriotism is the best legacy a man can leave behind.’’
He noted that the death of the pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission was a colossal loss not only to the Nigerian judiciary, but the country as a whole.
Buhari said: “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.’’
He affirmed that Akanbi’s greatest achievement was leaving the public service with his integrity intact and untainted.
Buhari noted that throughout his distinguished career in the judiciary and public service, Akambi resisted the defeatist mindset that ‘if you can’t beat them, join them”.
He said: “Great men like Akanbi didn’t believe in joining evil because it was popular or supported by the majority.”
Buhari extended heartfelt condolences to Akanbi’s family, the government and people of Kwara and the entire Ilorin Emirate.
The President prayed that almighty Allah would forgive “the gentle soul of the deceased and reward his remarkable good deeds with Aljanna (paradise)’’.
Akambi, who died at the age of 86, was laid to rest according to Islamic rites on Sunday morning in Ilorin, Kwara.
Born on September 11, 1932, in Accra, Ghana, late Akanbi was appointed the ICPC chairman by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000 and served until 2005.
He obtained a scholarship to study law at the Institute of Administration, now Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He then went for further legal studies in the United Kingdom.
He was called to the English Bar in 1963, and was called to the Nigerian Bar in January 1964. He joined the Ministry of Justice and became a Senior State Counsel in 1968.
In 1969 he set up a private practice in Kano. In 1974 he was appointed a judge of the Federal Revenue Court, and in January 1977 he was elevated to the Court of Appeal Bench.
In 1992 he was made President of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, a position he held until retiring in 1999.