Fondly referred to as the ‘State of Harmony’, Kwara State;
which is located in the North-Central geo-political zone of Nigeria has in
abundance distinguished and reputable families. These families have
distinguished themselves both in the state and the nation, in different fields
of endeavour including, Religion, Sports, Law, Education and Business. One of
such eminent families in the state is the Ali family and a proud son of the
family and unarguably a shining star in the state and the nation is Yusuf
Olaolu Ali, SAN.
Though born in Ifetedo, Osun State about six decades ago to
Alhaji Bisiriyu Olayiwola Ali and Alhaja Taibat Fomosara Ali, Ali’s great
paternal grandmother, a Fulani hailed from Ilorin, Kwara State and he has not
only practiced the Legal profession in Kwara State for over three decades, but
also sired all his children in Ilorin, Kwara State. No wonder, the Emir of
Ilorin conferred indigene status on all his children.
Better known as Yusuf Ali, the successful Lawyer was called
to the Nigerian bar in 1983 and the highest status in the Nigeria’s Legal
profession, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was conferred on him in 1997.
Unarguably, he will cart away any prize instituted for election litigation in
the country and perhaps beyond, because he has handled over 100 election petition
cases and over 150 appeal cases at both the Court of Appeal and Supreme
It was therefore no sheer surprise when the serene city of
Ilorin stood still for the Legal luminary whom many observers call the ‘Daniel
and Joseph’ of our time. Apart from having the rare privilege of hosting the
Ooni of Ife, Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuade, who led a retinue of traditional
rulers as well as the former Governor of the State, Senator Bukola Saraki, the
father of the bride also hosted the who-is-who in the Legal profession, led by
the current Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed G.C.O.N as
well as the former one, Hon. Justice Aloma
They all shared in the splendour and glitz of the wedding of
Ali’s daughter,Nimah Ibilola and Nurudeen Kolawole Yahaya, whose father, Alhaji
Aremu Babs Yahaya is a former Minister for Transportation and Aviation during
the Late Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime and also a former member of the Federal
House of Representatives in the Second Republic. Alhaji Aremu and his wife,
Alhaja Toyeebat Yahaya were very visible at the wedding of their son. While
talking to Ovation a day before the Nikkah ceremony about their love story, the
couple revealed that, though they had schooled in the United Kingdom (UK),
their paths never met. In fact, the groom has lived all his life in the UK.
However, they were introduced by a mutual friend of their families, Mrs.
Adetunji. According to the groom, who is a member of the Muslim Association of
Nigeria in the United Kingdom, he was already looking for a wife at that time
and he had three criteria in mind.
He said, ” I was in Lagos sometime ago and it was pretty
obvious that, I was searching for a wife. Mrs. Adetunji is a very close friend
of my mother and she did the match making. We started talking in February and
we saw each other during the months of March, July and August. We dated for six
‘’What really attracted me was that she met the three
criteria I had set for myself. She is a good Muslim, from a good family and
hails from Kwara State.”
While describing her groom as a ‘Gentle soul’, the bride
said, ”It is quite funny and interesting. I was in London for a few years and
throughout those years, for some reasons, luck never brought us together. We
met a few months after I left England. We were introduced to each other, we got
talking and things kicked off from there.
”It is quite unusual and a lot of people would think that
is not right. But the truth is that, people either meet by accident or through
introduction. I never shy away from being introduced to someone. He saw my
pictures; then he travelled down to Nigeria to see me. I saw his pictures first
too, but when he came to Nigeria primarily to see me, the first thing that
struck me was that, he is a very good Muslim. What a lot of women should look
out for is God -fearing men.
‘’Prior to that time, it was a bit weird talking to someone
and I did not have a clue of what he looked like, because pictures might not
present the real look. When I eventually saw him, I knew I had met my husband,
because he is a good Muslim. By the way, a mutual family friend, Mrs. Adetunji
As soon as the couple met, they followed up on each other
through the social networks and after repeated visits, they concluded that they
were meant for each other and marriage was on the cards. However, they needed
to meet their respective parents. While Nurudeen visited his bride’s father
durin gone of his many visits to Nigeria to see the love of his life, his
wife’s meeting with her father-in-law was quite dramatic!
According to her,” The first time I met his dad, he was
very hospitable. I had a chat with him. My husband was not present. I called
his dad and told him who I was. It was an audacious move (laughs). I drove down
to where he was and we talked for almost an hour. I was in Ilorin for a wedding
at that time, so I seized the opportunity to meet him.
‘’He talked about a lot of things. He talked about
relationships, Nurudeen, his family, his business and the experiences he has
gathered over the years. It was an informal meeting.”
Soon after, they realised that they were meant for each
other, they started shopping for the wedding. The bride said she travelled to
Dubai and Saudi Arabia with her father and sister and shopped for both herself
and her groom. Like it was the practice in 2013 when the successful Lawyer gave
out the hand of his second daughter in marriage, he set up a committee headed
by his close friend, Alhaji Y.K.O. Abdulkareem and also contracted the services
of an events planner, Total Events, which is headed by hardworking, Mrs. Kemi
According to the bride, who is fondly called Mama by her
father, because of her motherly role to her siblings after the death of their
mother Fawziyya Lola Kehinde Ali, 10 years ago. She added, ”Yes, we have an
events planner, Total Events, headed by Mrs. Kemi Oluwole. She handled my
sister’s wedding last year, so we decided it is better to use familiar hands.
It is a bit tricky when you have lost your mum and it is just your father that
is trying to handle everything.
She said, “What he did during my sister’s wedding and what
he is doing now is that, he enlisted his friends and they set up a Committee.
They learnt from my sister’s wedding and they tried to improve on mine. We had
several committees. I really do not know who they are. The beauty of everything
was that, they consulted me and went ahead to carry them out. They went through
my dad or the Committee Chairman, so that, I did not have to interact with everyone.”
Till the day before the Nikkah Ceremony and Reception, the
groom had not proposed formally to the bride. However, as we were having the
interview and I asked the bride how the groom proposed to her, she did the
unusual and told the groom to propose to her. She knelt down and there and
then, he proposed to her!
According to the bride, ”I am quite an unusual person.
Throughout the years, a lot of people think I am a snob because I do not smile
often, but it is the other way round. People try to put me in a box because
they think I am full of pride.
“They think I never listen and interestingly, it is quite
the opposite. I am not domineering. If I have to get things done, I have to do
so. But when it comes to relationships, I do not think there is a need not to
let the guy take the lead.”
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