Ansar-Ud-Deen Abuja marks silver jubilee, unveils strategic plan for society
Prominent Nigerians and members of the Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria gathered at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Abuja on Sunday, February 6 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the organisation’s existence in at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with special merit awards.
The anniversary started with a road walk, then a free health service and a Jum’at (Friday) prayer on February 4 before the Sunday special lecture and awards presentation to some distinguishing personalities.
The personalities include Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Hajiya Muinat Bola Shagaya, Sheikh Muhydeen Ajani Bello, Hajiya Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, Alhaji Mohammed Arab Sani-Omolori and Justice Suleiman Bolaji Belgore.
Others are: Senator Bareehu Olugbenga Ashafa, Alhaji Tajudeen Ibrahim Ajibola, Alhaji Lukman Giwa, Dr. Rislanudeen Muhammad, Imam Fuad Adeyemi, Hajiya Kudirat Abdul Hamid, Hon. Shina Abiola Peller, Alhaja Mudirakat Afolake Thompson, Alhaji Isau Alani-Bello, Hajiya AbdulAzeez Bukola Rasheedat, Alhaji Aregbe Muhammed Gias, Dr (Mrs) Wasilat Shittu and Amb. Dr Hajo Sanni (OON).
Welcoming the guests, many of whom were cladded in green and white attires, which symbolise the colour of Ansar-ud-Deen society, the Chairman, FCT Branch, Alhaji Mohammed Olayiwola, said the Abuja branch of the society has in the last 25 years grown to meet up with her peers, becoming a role model and major reference point on Islamic matters in the FCT.
According to him, “Today is an opportunity to count our blessings, thank our benefactors and Allah SWT who gave us the privilege to be alive to witness the 25th anniversary and unveil a sustainable strategic plan for the coming golden jubilee.”
Alhaji Olayiwola said ADS Abuja branch, though very young at 25, in the life of a society that would have spanned 100 years (by 2023), has occupied a very special and unique position in the comity of ADS branches nationwide. This is due to a lot of reasons: It is privileged with its geographic location and the multi-ethnic background of its members, unlike other branches where its members are mainly Yoruba-speaking people, making it easy to conveniently conduct their activities in the Yoruba language.
He said he has been playing a pivotal and a leading role in contributing to government policies, their formulations, and ensuring compliance with such policies. This effort has compelled both the FCT and the Federal Government to recognise ADS’s special role in national development.
“Today, the Branch has grown to become like its peers. It has also become a role model and major reference on Islamic matters in the FCT as it takes the lead in contributing to government policy formulations and compliance…”
Going down the memory lane, the chairman said that although the society was formally inaugurated on August 25, 1996, some gentlemen and women had come together around February 25, 1995, at an inaugural Asalatu (group for remembrance of Allah) organised by the Suleja and Kaduna branches in Asokoro mosque site at the instance of the ADS National Headquarters, founded in 1923.
The chairman announced the commencement of the construction (and equipping) of a 250-seater capacity Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training centre, saying it will improve the level of ICT compliance in the country.
Alhaji Olayiwola explained that the centre would comprise ICT training hall on the ground floor. It will also house five classrooms each on the first and the second floors respectively.
According to the chairman, the ICT centre which will cost about N200 million will also be used as a computer-based test (CBT) centre.
According to him, the complete architectural, structural and design, drawings and bills of quantities had been done.
He expressed optimism that the centre will complement the existing Ansar-Ud-deen school and develop the ICT skills’ acquisition of its members as well as the public.
Olayiwola said the center will further generate income for the society to maintain its mosque in Abuja.
The Chief Missioner of the Abuja Branch, Imam (Dr.) Musa Olaofe said Ansar-ud-deen has gone far in terms of bringing people together.
He said, “If you’re not in that society, you may not know the real meaning of humans. We have been together as one family. Though we cannot say there are no challenges, we have always overcome those challenges. Society has gone far in terms of bringing people together. I am even a witness to this.
“You can see it on Fridays, the large number of people that we always see, including governors, ministers, DGs and many of them like that. They always come to Ansar-ud-Deen. That’s why our Juma’at lectures are rendered in Yoruba (between 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm) and English (2:00 pm to 2:30 pm).
“We discuss current issues going on in Nigeria, we spoke on the local government election. So, you cannot say because you’re a Muslim, you cannot participate in politics. You have to be very active in politics because if you’re not there, there’s nothing you can say. We always discuss this.”
The Chief Missioner who was appointed in 2003 noted that Ansar-ud-Deen has provided him with the rare opportunity to understand how to lead and mentor people.
He said the organisation has increased his exposure as he crisscross the entire country to execute programmes and projects.
“In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to be in the United States of America through the society in 2015 to conduct Ramadan programmes with the people of the US. I have been to New York, Washington DC, Maryland, Chicago, in fact, many other countries too numerous to mention. It has been a very good experience.”
He said Ansar-ud-Deen has been able to sustain the feeding of the needy Muslims during the period of Ramadan.
“During Ramadan, we give people food free of charge. Many privileged people donate to assist the work of Almighty Allah in Ansar-ud-Deen and we can see that with all the achievements so far, the society has really gone far.”
The scholar stressed that Ansar-ud-Deen places a high premium on education, saying even the missionaries are not exempted.
“At the same time, we always discuss education because education is paramount. You cannot say because you’re an Imam, you’re this and that, then you will not be educated. You will be looked down upon in society, people will ignore you. Then, we always emphasise that apart from being educated, you must have an investment, you must have something to do as an Imam. When you do that, the sky is your limit.”