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On the 10th year anniversary of MUSWEN – Part 2


Prof. Dawud O. S. Noibi Obe, Executive Secretary, Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN).

You are the best Ummah (nation) produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in the Almighty…(Quran 3: 110)

Such is the story; the story of men who came this path and left.

They left behind men and women whose names are synonymous with integrity and honour.

Professor Fafunwa left them behind- men and women whose sole pleasure lies in treasuring the pleasure of the Almighty.

Or how else might we describe people like Prince Bola Ajibola and Chief S.O.B Babalola? How might we describe them, people like Chief Hafiz Abu and Professor D.O.S Noibi whose task as Secretary General consisted of bringing MUSWEN to the shore of relevance?

How else would you describe them, people like Dr Jibril Oyekan? How might you describe the successors of these predecessors, most of them happen to be my teachers, my leaders and exemplars: in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Edo, Rivers states.

I remember them, mothers of faith on this trail; I remember Alhaja Lateefah Okunnu, OFR, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State and former National Amirah of FOMWAN; I rememberour “Mama”- Alhaja Sekinat Adekola, Iya Adinni of Yorubaland.

These are heroines who represent the best of others in the struggle. They and other sisters of ours too numerous to mention have all put in their best in order that MUSWEN may achieve its goals and objectives.

Yes. This anniversary is for MUSWEN the same way it is for you- Professors, ex this, ex-that; Vice-Chancellors of that and this university, my Imam and yours, Senior Advocates of Truth not lies and falsehood, honourable scribes including Alhaj Y.K Kareem who was honoured to serve as the first scribe, the first minute-taker when discussions went on about how to birth the MUSWEN?

This anniversary is for you too, the administrative staff at MUSWEN headquarters; the drivers, the messengers, the errand boys, the cleaners.

It is utterly difficult and almost impossible to show fidelity to their individual contributions; those men and women who worked tirelessly and silently in order that Muslims in Yorubaland may walk with their heads high?

Yes. Let me wrap this up this way- the story of MUSWEN cannot be told in full without recognition being given to the uncommon goodwill enjoyed by all from the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaj Saad Abubakar III. Yes.

History bears witness that there have been Sultans who have passed history by; but Sultan Saad Abubakar III is one Sultan who has chosen to hold ‘history’ by the ‘horn’.

Here is a Sultan whose belief in the unity of the Ummah has given strength to the Ummah in the Southwest as represented by MUSWEN.

My teacher taught me years ago that whenever it was its time to shine, the stars in the heavens would even take a bow.

Now if such is the ‘biography’ behind the history, exactly what is MUSWEN meant to achieve for Muslims in the Southwest?

As is usually the case in critical practice, I respond by saying answers to this question actually lies in the question. MUSWEN is the umbrella body of and for all Muslims in Southwest Nigeria.

But a disclaimer is urgent and important- reference to umbrella here is strictly not to the profanated one that we see on parade in the realm of politics.

No. Rather, MUSWEN was conceived in the womb of time as a centre of conurbation for Muslims, Muslim Communities and Muslim organisations and institutions that are domiciled in the South West geo-political zone of Nigeria.

This is the area consisting of the present Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States of Nigeria.

Thus MUSWEN is the shade under which Muslims, notwithstanding the contrarieties in their location and station, find succour.

It is like the Ark of Prophet Nuh (a.s) in whose space different segments of the society find solace.

In MUSWEN, you have an organization populated by the crème-de-la-crème of the Yoruba race- a conurbation of Muslim intellectuals and professionals; an assemblage of business women and me and of experts in the civil service.

MUSWEN is an Association to which the entire membership of the League of Imams and Alfas- the League of men who are revered and honoured not simply because of their catholic candour and indefectible demeanour, but more because of the merger of stellar scholarship and uncommon intellectualism in their persona – swear allegiance.

In the era before MUSWEN, Muslims in the Southwest lived like orphans. They lacked a united voice and front to ventilate issues of concern to the mass of the oppressed and dehumanised Muslims.

Such was the era from whose dark horizon the illumination and the torch of integrity borne by MUSWEN emerged.

That was an era when Muslims were existing not living; that was an era when to be Muslim meant to be treated like a scum, a dreg and like a subject who is not fit to walk neither at the centre nor at the periphery of life.

As it was before the emergence of Prophet Musa (a.s) among the Jews, MUSWEN appeared like the ace to counter the menace and the hubris of self-righteousness that had pervaded the Yoruba landscape from neo-colonial quarters which always posture as if this land belongs to them and to them alone.

Thus MUSWEN emerged to provide the platform where the huge potentials of Muslims in the Southwest could be explored for the betterment of the land and the ‘hinterland’.

Its mandate consisted of assisting Muslims in the region form a constructive alliance with their brethren across the Nigeria while contributing to the fortune of the nation- the ‘United’ states of Nigeria.

But how far off or close has MUSWEN been from arriving at the shore?

To what extent has it succeeded in meeting its objectives? Perceptive observers of currents within the larger Muslim community in Nigeria would attest to the fact that the organizations has positively impacted the life patterns of Muslims in the southwest in more ways than one.

MUSWEN has assisted the Yoruba race in preserving its history-that history that is ineluctably tied to Islam; that history that dates as far back as the eleventh century long before the coming of the British colonialists and prior to the advent of Christianity in 1842.

Thus whenever the claim is made that ‘we own this land’, hasten to correct them that it is Islam that could and should indeed make that claim.

The Yoruba aphorism even asserts that-“ile la ba’fa; ile laba imale….”

MUSWEN has also assisted in preventing the story from being forgotten that the earliest record of Yoruba history was documented through the medium of Arabic since the latter happened to be a language of literacy and rich scholarship.

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