Friday, February 7, 2020
Lagos, Nigeria
Hon. JUSTICE THOMAS SHAIBU YAKUBU, J C A (06 24 1953-12 24 2019)

rom Mechanic workshop to the Bench of the Federal Court of Appeal. Quiet Exit on his knees praying. Good night.

Hon. Justice Shaibu Thomas Yakubu.( J. C. A) was a member of the Federal Court of Appeal until the early morning of December 24 when he exited the world quietly.

He was at a Christian retreat at Ayangba in Kogi state. I was a guest speaker at the similar retreat in December 1981. The first of its kind was held in the April of 1974 at Ilorin, which I was present and a speaker. The chief facilitator or Convener is Professor Adamu Idama (late).

In 1976, the towns at the other side of the Confluence town, Lokoja were made a state with the capital at Makurdi, so Bro. Idama and Tom Yakubu (as we called them then) plus a host of our Christian brothers and sisters relocated to the newly created state of Benue. But we never lost contact for a moment.

After Prof. Ademu Idama was called home in April 2017, the mantle of the ministry naturally fell on the Hon. Justice Thomas Yakubu and he had been nicknamed 'Festival Pastor'

I have listened to the report of those who stayed in the same room with him at the Christmas Fasting festival. He lit the touch light for a roommate who wanted to go out to ease himself at about 300am. At about 400am, another person in the room exited the room to go and pray in the car, he noticed His Lordship on his knees praying by his bed side. In a matter of minutes, his breathing became worrisome and that was how he exited the world. What a quiet exit!

Hon. Justice Thomas Yakubu: from Mechanic Workshop to the Bench of the Federal Court of Appeal.

We met when he was studying to become a motor mechanic at the Government Technical Training School (GTTS) Ilorin in the early 70's. I was finishing the sixth form at the Government Secondary School (GSS) in the same town.

His home country man, the late Prof. Ademu Idama had been disillusioned with technical career. This was before General Obasanjo made Technical men proud.

Bro. Idama had graduated from the same GTTS some years back and also had graduated at the P & T. School, Oshodi. He also had the final City & Guild Certificate, but he envisaged no tangible future in Technical career and he would not see his younger relation go through same path. So he asked young Tom, to start to read for Ordinary (O') level and Advanced (A") level examinations. This was about 1973/1974.

Bro. Ademu Idama was a great motivator; one of the most eloquent smooth talker and orator I ever came across in life. He was a great and effective Christian leader. He once threatened to ban anyone who was not ready to improve himself/herself from coming to the fellowship and within a short time we started to witness ordinary clerks, messengers with primary six certificates and ward attendants graduating from the University. He himself went to the UK in 1977 to read Electrical Engineering and returned with a Ph.D.

In between the time when his Lordship Tom Yakubu was reading for the O' & A' level examinations, our big brother, Engineer Duro Agboola, who was the head of the Water Corporation in the State, facilitated his recruitment into the Kwara Civil Service as a Motor Mechanic and was located at Agba Dam. The workshop at the period in time was in a jungle at the outskirt of Ilorin behind the Government house. It is now in the centre of the town.

What now became of the workshop at Agba Dam, Ilorin where he studied for O' & A' Level Study between 1974 &1976.

Bro. Tom would resume duty on Monday morning at the workshop, remained in the jungle till it was time for midweek fellowship on Wednesday evening. He would return to the workshop on Thursday morning and remained till Saturday afternoon.

One Sunday afternoon in September 1976, Bro. Tom pleasantly knocked the door of our home in Bariga, Lagos. He had just matriculated to read law at the University of Lagos (UniLag).

The Blessing of having Bro. Tom at UniLag.

Jesus for the World Revival Mission had just taken off a year earlier and we were having long list of enquiries every week as a result of our outreaches. Bro. Tom would attend an early Sunday service and come to my house afterwards to join hands with me in giving reply to all the enquiries that came during the week and assign relevant tracts and other literatures to each enquiry. The picture of how he would sit quietly for hours replying enquiries remains indelible in my memory. Sister Ebun Akinsete nee Sobanjo typed all the enquiries. She was working at a Federal Ministry and she would call in, many evenings on her way home from work to complete the typing.

Bro. Tom played a crucial role to the success of our outreach "Miracle Rally" held at the Baptist Academy, Obanikoro, Lagos State at Easter of 1977. He was instrumental to the participation of the famous and admired Musical band "The Light Bearer" which leadership and many other members were product of UniLag.

Uncompleted Assignment

The wedding of a daughter of Pastor & Mrs Israel Nihi took place on Sat. Aug 02 2018 at Ilorin and his Lordship with Dr. Dan Itodo put up with me that weekend of Aug 2-4. We took time to trace his path in the town, being where he started his life journey as an adult and the foundation of what he became later.

The uppermost place to visit was Agba Dam workshop where he prepared for the necessary requirements to get him enrolled for Law study at UniLag.

About August 2019 (last year) he asked me if we took photos at the premises of the workshop. He was writing the documentary of his life. Unfortunately, the handset that contained the pictures had gotten problem and I could not recover the pictures. He planned to come back but will not be able to do before September when I was to leave for base in the United States. I told him I would be back before Christmas (2019).

We spoke days before he left for the retreat on December 20 (2019). It was understood between both of us that he was to return to Ilorin (Jan. 2020) after the retreat to complete that side of the documentary of his life. But God has said 'no'

His Lordship Hon. Justice Thomas Yakubu (centre), Dr. Dan. Itodo (rt) & Pastor S. Aweda (lt).

A man of Determination.

Hon. Justice Thomas Yakubu always knew what he wanted and did not go with popular trend of the day. And whatever he said he would do, so long as it is Godly he did.

A man of Humility per excellence.

Hon. Justice Thomas Yakubu was unbelievably respectful. His humility is unparalleled. Just very recently as we spoke, he refused me answering 'yes sir' to him, perhaps because I am just a little older than him. I want to meet anyone who wants to dispute my submission to the claim of his humility.


Did his Lordship have a premonition that his time was up?

i. I understand that in the past he paid "Invited Speakers" their honorarium at the end of the retreat. For the first time, he paid the honorariums on the first day of the festival.

ii. I understand that in the past at the end of each session, he went straight to his room to relax but this time he sat under a tree so that anyone who wanted to speak to him were opportune to do. I understood that children surrounded him under the tree and he played with them all through.

iii. No healthy person is expected to die within 21 days of fasting, so long as he is well aerated or ventilated and drink plenty water as much as his body can accommodate. True hunger can return any time upwards of 21 days. It then becomes compulsory to break the fast.

At the end of the last session for the day on Dec. 23, he addressed the conference, I am told, pleading with them to drink plenty water as much as their bodies could tolerate. Before day broke, God called our Hon. Justice Thomas Yakubu to Himself. Blessed be His verdict.

I already have a copy of the funeral arrangement. It will be a state funeral lasting from Thursday February 13 through Sat 15 February at Lokoja and Ankpa, Kogi state. He deserves it. Unfortunately, I will not be there but my spirit will.

With the exit of Hon. Justice Thomas Yakubu, the company of those of us, who God used in Nigeria to return the days of Pentecost experience in the early 70's had reduced by one again and the fellowship of those who have preceded us home is soaring very fast.

My brother and friend, Tom, good night. You are now a spirit being but with a body made by God Himself; a body that can never be sick and can never die. I join the angels of God welcoming you to your eternal home, saying to you, well done, faithful servant. You have now entered into your rest, now in Abraham's bosom. You are now a member of the assemblies of God's firstborn children, now a member of the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have been made perfect, watching us from the gallery. Good night. I can see in the spirit, the brothers and sisters who had preceded you hosting you to a welcome reception. Give our greetings to them all and in particular Prof. Idama, Bro. Femi Agboola, Bro. David Amedari, Dr. Denis Nwobi, Prof. Dunni Kehinde and my wife of course.

May the Lord comfort your wife and Children who you left behind too suddenly.