Elections 2015: MUSWEN prays for Nigeria on March 22
AS part of its contributions to ensure violence-free polls as well as free, fair and credible elections, the Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN) has declared Sunday, March 22, 2015 as special prayer day urging Muslims to offer congregational supplication at the Eid praying grounds or local Mosque in every town within the Southwest region of the country.
The apex body of all Muslim organizations in the region made the declaration last weekend at the end of a three-day retreat that was held between March 13 and 15, 2015 at the Wale Babalakin Estate in Gbongan, Osun State. With MUSWEN: Sustaining the Momentum as theme, the retreat was second to be organized by the group in recent time. Its executive secretary, Prof. Dawud Noibi signed the communiqué issued at the end of the retreat.
The organisation said since prayers is the weapon of the Muslims, they should not relent in offering prayers especially at this precarious time of the nation’s history. MUSWEN also decried the luke-warm attitude of the Southwest Muslims to the institution of Zakah while the consequences of that attitude are very detrimental to the propagation and progress in the region.
Leaders of prominent Muslim organisations from Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun states that participated in the retreat said that the necessity for prayers by Muslims was most apt now given the prevailing cloudy political atmosphere in the horizon. The apex Islamic body in the South West also stressed the need for unity of Muslims in line with the mission and vision of the organisation stressing that without unity there could be no progress. Moreover, the organisation frowned at the lopsidedness in the federal appointments to political offices from the Zone, saying such appointments clearly put the Southwest Muslims at a disadvantage.
It called for equity, fairness and justice by the Federal government for the people of the zone irrespective of their religious inclinations. Prominent among the Muslim personalities who attended the retreat were Alhaji Najeem Awodele, a former Minister of Agriculture; Justice AbdulFatai Adeyinka (retd); and Dr. Jubril Oyekan. Others were Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, Secretary General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA); Alhaja Lateefat Okunnu, former deputy governor of Lagos State; Alhaja Sekinah Adekola among other dignitaries. Delegates at the retreat also paid a courtesy call on Justice Bola Babalakin (retd), the former acting President of MUSWEN in his Gbongan, country home.
Members also prayed for the repose of some of its late founders such as Prof. Aliu Fafunwa (pioneer President); Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao; Dr. AbduLateef Adegbite; and Sheikh Sadrudeen Biobaku. MEANWHILE, the group has distanced itself from the purported endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by the Afenifere group for re-election as president in the forthcoming general elections. In a statement also signed by Prof. Dawud Noibi and titled Our Stand on Afenifere’s Endorsement of President Jonathan!, MUSWEN insists that “the Afenifere does not have the mandate to speak for the Yoruba people as a whole.
” According to the organisation, the Afenifere’s endorsement “was a political ploy which ignored the fact that some sections of the Yoruba people belong to political parties other than the PDP, and that the views of such people cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. “Conversely, MUSWEN is realistic and honest enough not to assume that the whole of the Muslim community belongs to one and the same political camp. We respect the constitutional right of the average Yoruba man or woman to vote for the candidates of their choice; we would not pretend that we have the right to endorse a candidate in their name.” The group decried what it termed “disdain of Afenifere chieftains for the Muslims of Yoruba land.
” It justified this assertion saying, “Back in 2009, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, leader of the group, deliberately offended the sensibilities of Muslims among his fellow Yoruba men and women when he declared that Nigeria had no business being concerned about Israel’s protracted massacre of defenceless Palestinians despite condemnation from various groups across the world. “Furthermore, the group constituted itself into a committee that prepared what they claimed to be the ‘Yoruba Agenda’ for presentation to the National Conference that was to be convened.
While the committee included prominent Christian religious leaders and clerics, neither were the millions of Muslims of Yoruba land represented nor were their religious leaders consulted. “Worse still, the Presidential consultation committee headed by Chief Okurounmu, one of the chieftains of the Afenifere, deliberately fixed its two meetings in the South West on Fridays despite objection by MUSWEN. The meetings, which were held in Akure and Lagos respectively, took place during the period of the obligatory Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer on both occasions, though they were two weeks apart. “In furtherance of Afenifere’s policy of the marginalization of Yoruba Muslims, the group made sure that not a single Muslim was on the original list of 15 names of conference delegates that it sent to the Presidency to represent the South West zone. MUSWEN received no response whatsoever from the Presidency to its petition against that brazen act of insensitivity.
“Similarly, the Presidency failed to fulfil its promise to act on the protest of the delegation of Muslim leaders under the leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan Abubakar Sa’ad of Sokoto against the fact that Muslims accounted for only 38 per cent of the total number of delegates to the conference nationwide. “It is pertinent to recall that the Presidency had turned down the advice of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs that the conference was unnecessary and that, in the alternative, it should be postponed until after the elections if government insisted on holding it. The recent disclosure that the idea of the National Conference itself emanated from the Afenifere group, and the group’s subsequent endorsement of Mr. President seems to shed light on the apparently coordinated marginalization of Muslims at both the zonal and national levels.” In a related development, the leadership of South West Muslims on Wednesday in Ibadan dissociated themselves from the Akure meeting purported to have held with them by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
In a swift reaction, the Executive Secretary of Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Prof Dawud Noibi; Chief Imam of Ibadan-land who is also President-General, League of Imams and Alfas in South West, Edo and Delta States, Sheikh Baosari Suara Haruna; and Chairman, Muslim Community of Oyo State (MUSCOYS), Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sanni disowned the Akure meeting, describing it as Ondo affair.
The trio said the meeting has nothing to do with the leadership of the Muslim Ummah in South West, Edo and Delta States. Noibi who spoke through MUSWEN Media Consultant, Alhaji Femi Abbas, said MUSWEN leadership has decided not to meet any politician or political party because it’s aware of desperate move by some unscrupulous politicians to break the rank and file of the Muslims in Southwest as they did with the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN).
“The six billion naira CAN scandal is still fresh in our memory,” he said. According to him, there is no prominent Imam from Southwest at the meeting “because we all agreed not to be part of such clandestine move; no single Chief Imam from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun attended the meeting except for Chief Imam of Owo who doubles as the Ondo State Muslim Community chairman and equally Secretary General, League of Imams and Alfas in the South West, Edo and Delta States, Alhaji Sheikh Ahmad Aladesawe.
“Aladesawe is only playing Mimiko’s card; he did that for his own interest.” The Chief Imam of Ibadan-land, who is the President-General, League of Imams and Alfas South West, Edo and Delta States, Sheikh Suara Haruna described the meeting as politically motivated.
He denied ever sending a representative to the meeting. “I am in Ibadan as we speak; I never ask anybody to represent me. Whoever said he represented me at the meeting is an impostor; he should be arrested and be prosecuted. Whatever benefits such person received either in cash or kind will not be useful to him,” he said. It was reported that one Dr. Kamiu Olosho claimed to have represented Sheikh Haruna at the meeting on Wednesday in Akure. Alhaji Sanni, however, dared any Imam at the meeting to campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan on the Minbar if he will not be stoned.
“Those who went there are dollars-hunger clerics; they dare not come out and tell the public their mission at the meeting, else they will be stoned. We understand Sheikh Aladesawe was under pressure from Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko to support President Jonathan.”
“President Jonathan has forgotten so soon how he treated the Muslims during the composition of the National Confab, now he is running from post to pillar, seeking our supports; he has shown that he is not for us and it’s high time we also denied him,” Sanni said.
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