Yoruba Committee on National Conference a coup against Muslims, group says

Senator Femi Okurounmu, Chairman, Presidential Committee on National Conference

A rights group, the Muslims Rights Concern, MURIC, has rejected the composition of the Yoruba Committee on National Conference, describing it as a coup against Muslims.

In a statement on Monday by its Director, Ishaq Akintola, the group said it was curious that there was no single Muslim in the committee raised to select delegates and articulate the position of the Southwest geopolitical zone ahead of the conference scheduled to begin in March.

The committee met for the first time on Friday at the Isara-Remo Ogun state home of Olaniwun Ajayi, a respected Yoruba leader and statesman.

But MURIC said the composition of the committee suggested the group was pursuing a Christian agenda.

The group said, “The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is  perturbed that there is no single Muslim among the prominent Yoruba leaders who attended the meeting. It gives room for suspicion. Such a gathering lacks balance. It is not only parochial but also myopic. They should be able to look ahead. Are they saying there are no Muslims in Yorubaland?

“Governor Mimiko (Ondo) was there. He is a Christian. What of Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Isiaka Ajimobi (Oyo), Iklil Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Raji Fashola (Lagos) who are all Muslims? Why were they not invited? Is it because they are Muslims?

“Why was the attendance heavily tainted with Christian clerics? A prominent pastor was there with a bishop and an archbishop whereas there was no single Imam. Where are the Imams and Sheikhs of Yorubaland?

“The Yoruba Committee on National Conference has started on a wrong footing. They should realize that the world is changing and they should allow that change to reflect. Gone are those days when decisions are taken without consulting Muslims. Muslim docility has become history. Nigerian Muslims have donned the garb of proactiveness.”

Read full statement below.

 10th February, 2014

PRESS RELEASE:

YORUBA COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL CONFERENCE: A CHRISTIAN AGENDA

The Yoruba Committee on National Conference met two days ago at the Isara-Remo, Ogun State-home of an elder statesman, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, to strategise on the selection of delegates for the Southwest geopolitical zone ahead of the National Conference.

Some of the prominent Yoruba leaders at the meeting were Sir Olaniwun Ajayi (host); Chief Olu Falae; Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State; Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd.); Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti; former presidential candidate, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite; Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Pastor Tunde Bakare; Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi (rtd.) and Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) perturbed that there is no single Muslim among the prominent Yoruba leaders who attended the meeting. It gives room for suspicion. Such a gathering lacks balance. It is not only parochial but also myopic. They should be able to look ahead. Are they saying there are no Muslims in Yorubaland?

Governor Mimiko (Ondo) was there. He is a Christian. What of Governors Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Isiaka Ajimobi (Oyo), Iklil Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Raji Fashola (Lagos) who are all Muslims? Why were they not invited? Is it because they are Muslims?

Why was the attendance heavily tainted with Christian clerics? A prominent pastor was there with a bishop and an archbishop whereas there was no single Imam. Where are the Imams and Sheikhs of Yorubaland?

The Yoruba Committee on National Conference has started on a wrong footing. They should realize that the world is changing and they should allow that change to reflect. Gone are those days when decisions are taken without consulting Muslims. Muslim docility has become history. Nigerian Muslims have donned the garb of proactiveness.

It is a coup against Muslims. The Committee is on its own. We reject its deliberations and whatever the outcome may have been. For it to be credible and relevant, it must convene another meeting where Muslims will be well represented. At least the likes of Professor Daud Noibi, Executive Secretary of the Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria (MUSWEN); Shaykh Zughlool, founder and proprietor of Daar ad-Da’wah, Isolo, Lagos and Shaykh Habeebullahi Al-Ilori of Markaz, Agege should be there. These three alone are renowned Islamic clerics and they would have balanced the list and made it acceptable.

Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland and Vice President-General of the whole South West of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs is the undisputable leader of Muslims in Yorubaland. Any meeting of Yoruba leaders without his presence is a charade. Others are former Minister of Works and President of the Ansarud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Femi Okunnu; foremost industrialist, Chief S. O. Babalola and Chief Bola Babalakin. Anyone who claims that he does not know these Muslim leaders is being economical with reality but extravagant in imagination.

The notion of a Christian South is misleading. Islam had been in Yorubaland more than a hundred years before the British bombarded Lagos in 1851. Today, Muslims form a large majority in Yorubaland. Any attempt, therefore, to take a stand among the Yoruba on the proposed National Conference without due recognition for and consultation of prominent Yoruba Muslim leaders and scholars is not only an exercise in futility but also autocratic and therefore unacceptable.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

 


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  • Jumoke Akinola

    Ishaq Akintola, you have made a strong and legitimate point. Your point is unassailable. But it goes beyond the fact that these Yoruba men may be pursuing a religious agenda, which I think they are doing. I think they are pursuing a private, highly personalised agenda. The questions are: what are the criteria for the selection? what is the locus standi of those selected. I will take just one example. For example Gov Mimiko of Ondo state was invited. The issue is not whether he has a basis to be there. Of course he has since he is a Gov of a Yoruba state. Rather the question is : on what ground? That is if Gov Mimiko was invited “as a governor” of a Yoruba state why were Govs Fashola, Amosun, Aregebsola, Ajimobi not invited as Govs of Yoruba states? Where are Yoruba women in all these? With our so-called education, are we going to ignore the gender issue? From all these I think the issue is that these men are pursuing a highly personalised state sponsored agenda, which to me is an issue of concern. I think they are pursuing a faith agenda, a PDP agenda, a Goodluck Jonathan 2015 agenda, a private economic and profit cash and carry agenda and a highly patriarchal agenda. This is disturbing. I cry for the soul of Obafemi Awolowo.

    • Yahuza Sani Sagagi

      You made a point.

    • Awo don mad

      u and ur awo, anything that is wrong with the yorubas now becomes a goodluck jonathan agenda. Una no well.

    • dudu

      Your have hit the nail on the head maam. It will be nice if it is published in a newspaper. Thanks

    • Soulman

      You failed to point out that all other SW governors are APC members who are against the National Conference. Their leader and God father Asiwaju Toronto Tinubu has said the proposed NC is deceptive and should not hold, and you want his anointed boys to be present at the meeting? Even if any of those APC governors was invited, he would surely NOT attend, so why waste precious time and money in inviting them when other reasonable personalities are available.

      • Garden-City Boy

        They are not thinking; their brains are somewhere in their behind. Mullahs are always that way.

      • Ajayi Ifayemi

        First of all I am a Christian although my name may reflect otherwise. By the way are these APC governors also not part of the National Council of States that recently approved the National Conference? By your argument they should not have been invited too. I guess Moslems also do not support the National conference that is why they were not invited. It is obvious these people that met have a personal Agenda that has nothing to do with the Yorubas. So, I don’t need to add anything to that. The only concern I have right now is why people tend to leave ete (leprosy) and go after lapalapa (ring worm rash).

        • Soulman

          Mind you, not all the state govs approved the National Conference. But since Majority of them carried the day, The Conference was approved.

          • Ajayi Ifayemi

            Exactly the point! Democracy in action. So, you do not exclude people because you think they are opposed to the conference. Let them attend the meeting, who knows those for the conference may gain one or two things from their participation. It is not democratic to exclude people from no matter their stand. let them have their say and the majority can then have their way.

          • Soulman

            I just got the information that Asiwaju Toronto Tinubu and the SW govs were invited but they refused to attend. So what the hell are you people saying about Muslims being excluded! Must Muslims always cause problems in this country all the time? Go to the North and see the havoc being done there all in the name of Islam and jihad, and you want to bring such menace to the SW? Surely it will be greatly resisted by every available force, mind you. Aregbesola must be regretting his Islamic agenda actions (that is if he thinks at all) in Osun State (not State of Osun).

          • Ajayi Ifayemi

            I am not sure how much you know about the southwest sir. It is people who cannot accept defeat that are using religion to cause confusion. Moslems and Christians in the SW are so interwoven and inter-related to the extent religion had never been a problem for us. I will say one thing those who are at the vanguard of creating this problem will definitely be consumed by it.

      • Mahmoud Tukur

        So in your shallow thinking All Muslims in South West are members of APC and are therefore not to
        be invited for anything to do with the Conference. It means the essence of the conference is defeated. Always exposing callous Islamphobic reasoning.

      • Jumoke Akinola

        Soulman, I guess you think that what is at stake is some online talk talk. I am not interested in some online chit chat or some jostling for influence. We are dealing with serious issues. And it is shocking that you and the Yoruba elders are not able to see this. A governor has dual identity-his/her party and being governor regardless of his/her party. Until a new election, the Governor is the MOST representative VOICE of the people of a state and therefore the MOST representative VOICE of the Yorubas in the state. How do you deal with this when you exclude Governors from Osun , Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo from a meeting of Yorubas leaders in preparation for a conference! Look Soulman, you are telling me that the best way to go public to get the best for your people is to be divided! While others speak with one and all voices, you are contented and all those old people in that meeting are contented with Yorubas speaking with a divided voice! C’mon Mr. Look at your thinking, You have just betrayed that this is a set up for Goodluck Jonathan’s election in 2015. I am still shocked because I am surprised that the “elders” in that meeting will display a lack of strategic and tactical thinking. This is the first wrong step . We are watching.

      • Jumoke Akinola

        Soulman, I guess you think that what is at stake is some online talk talk. I am not interested in some online chit chat or some jostling for influence. We are dealing with serious issues. And it is shocking that you and the Yoruba elders are not able to see this. A governor has dual identity-his/her party and being governor regardless of his/her party. Until a new election, the Governor is the MOST representative VOICE of the people of a state and therefore the MOST representative VOICE of the Yorubas in the state. How do you deal with this when you exclude Governors from Osun , Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo from a meeting of Yorubas leaders in preparation for a conference! Look Soulman, you are telling me that the best way to go public to get the best for your people is to be divided! While others speak with one and all voices, you are contented and all those old people in that meeting are contented with Yorubas speaking with a divided voice! C’mon Mr. Look at your thinking, You have just betrayed that this is a set up for Goodluck Jonathan’s election in 2015. I am still shocked because I am surprised that the “elders” in that meeting will display a lack of strategic and tactical thinking. This is the first wrong step . We are watching.

  • Lanre

    Ishaq Akintola is a danger and threat to Yoruba Cohesion and unity. This was not a religious gathering. I have a message for him: You are a failure and will fail in Yorubaland. We are too mature, sophisticated and exposed for the likes of you.

    • Alhaji Tijani

      Lanre….can you read between the lines? A question was asked and is left to the FG to respond whether those people were invited or not.
      Prof Akintola is never a threat to Yoruba unity but we should look with both eyes.
      Pls where are the YORUBA MUSLIMS? ARE THEY NIT PART OF THE NIGERIAN PROJECT? answer pls

    • Alexy

      Lanre, you are not on point. A matured tribe will ensure all groups are fairly represented without any bias or favouritism. The representatives are Christian leaders not yoruba leaders. How will you explain choosing 3 pastors without a single Imam?

      My simple advice to you is to learn how to be objective even if you are affected.

    • blush

      Prior to know , your comment are always a delight to read , but I wonder if you are still the same Lanre.
      Rather than castigating akintola,the issues he raised are quite important and they must be addressed.
      Yoruba Muslims will not take a sidddon look approach anymore.
      Since Christian in sw have started the campaign of calumny against governors of swestern states simply because they are Muslims. Forgetting the time when PDP fielded 5governnorss in south west, Muslims never complained back then. Now we will demand and compete for everything. Ministers governors etc.
      In Lagos state since 2010,a christian group began the campaign that they want xtian gov in Lagos…because Muslim have been ruling since 99.
      I think Muslims will also begin the campaign in ondo and ekiti state where Christians have been ruling since 99.

      Its tit for tat now…. You guys started it.

      • Ty

        You see how some Nigerians reason? What has your religious orientation got to do with national leadership? The constitution regards us as humans and citizens even before our religious inclination. Akintola should never again refer to the presence of clergymen as a “taint”!!! I thought he was a cultured individual. I was wrong.

        • yt

          Can you please explain why no muslim was invited? Is it accidental especially given the fact that Goodluck Jonathan is resting his campaign 2015 on christian votes? It is the Yorubas that I pity because these “elders” are playing a script already. So please answer my question. Is it accidental ty?

        • blush

          U take exceptions to my reaction on the basis of religion , yet you took offence at at prof for his depicting clerics as taints! How ironic..seem you can’t divorce your reasoning from your bias as a Christian and islamophobic tendencies.
          Yoruba Muslims through prof ishaq have questioned the composition of this committee, how can a group mainly Christians gather and want to take a position for Yoruba when we have competent Muslims.
          Yet you believe nothing is wrong..if it were to be a gathering of mainly Muslims , you will tag it, boko haram’ attempt to islamize south west’ and all sort of derogatery names.
          The era of siddon look is gone.. Muslims will compete for everything with Christians in the south west henceforth.
          Since you guys haven’t reciprocated our godly and pacifist attitude, we shall make it tough going forward.
          2003-07(11)PDP had 5governors in south west, all were Christians, NEVER did any Muslim either in south west or Nigeria make noise of Christianizing the west, we never said it was marginalisation.. Millions of naira were donated to churches, millions were spent on state Christmas carol etc…never has Muslims in the west raised an eyebrow.. But APC now has 5governors who are partly Muslims/Christians(3 of them with wives as Christians) yet APC had been tagged a boko haram party, they have been accused of wanting to islamize the west, they have created problem for aregbesola in osun because the HATE Muslims and Islam
          A campaign was started in 2010 to champion the candidacy of christain governor for APC in Lagos in 2015, we shall start the one for Muslim governors in ekiti and ondo state too. People like you(Ty) won’t see any thing wrong with the calls for christian gov in Lagos, but will question the reasoning for Muslim governor in ekiti ondo. Hypocritical folks everywhere!!!!!!!!

  • nija pikin

    Why waste your time GEJ can not do any thing rigth he is always divisive and he will fail on both the national pdp conference for re-election and for your information this is already a failure

  • Afam

    Ishaq Akintola stop this religious bigot,Tinubu was invited but he declined the invitation because of what he believes..Do you expect his boys..Fashola,Ajimobi,Rauf and co to come there when their godfather has declined the invitation? Do you want them to commit political suicide ? The seats they are occupying now are very dear to them than National conference..Please direct this religious cry to Tinubu….He has done more harm than good to the south west..Last time was denial of South West the speaker of house reps position that was slated to them..It is time for the south west to take a very good position on what they believe..Which i also believe that is Regional Government..Period.

    • Mahmoud Tukur

      Must it be a Governor? Why not invite any of the senior Yoruba Muslim elders, Sheiks or Imams ?is there no any worthy to be invited or are they all members of APC and therefore islamphobically uninviteable. Any thing that starts on a wrong foundation is doomed to fail. Pessimists of this conference are already being proven right.

    • Bankole Babawale

      afam na deri na BlackieUmukoro na akpos1 na Reno Omokri na Mpitikwelu na Mani_kay could you please stay off. This is a Yoruba affair. You insult me by putting your mouth in my affair. I repeat that this is a Yoruba and nothing count except the voices of Yorubas. By putting your uncouth mouth in my affair you have betrayed a lot. Please note that it “is your oil in your backyard” and I grant you your oil, but this is “my affair” and not about oily oil. So please courtesy and respect demand that you stay off. It is insulting for you to stray into what does not concern you-okay? To be blunt. This is not a south south affair. It is not an Ijaw affair. Yes you speak for Goodluck Jonathan, who is an Ijaw president. Goodluck Jonathan IS NOT YORUBA. Please know your limits and draw the boundaries respectfully. It is an insult for you to put your mouth in this issue. We Yorubas know where we are headed. And it is not your business, not the business of the Ijaw president to rudely interrupt thru you as you just did. Please stay off and face your campaign for Jonathan 2015 election.

      • Afam

        jealousy will kill you,your likes will never reach anything near local government chairmanship…

        • Bankole Babawale

          afam na Reno Omokri na BlackieUmukoro na deri na akpos1 na mani_kay na mgbitimgbitmpitikwelu, you can delude yourself about anything. We are Yorubas. We are different from Ijaw, or south south. We are Yorubas. You do not have a basis to intrude. It is rude and uncultured to put an uncouth mouth in affairs that are not yours. Isnt there a limit to indecency anymore? Anyway, the point and the shock is the coincidence between the points you made and those of some Yorubas commentators on this platform. Since you work for Goodluck Jonathan 2015 and beyond, it means this coincidence (between your posts and the posts of the Yoruba commentators) is about are Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election. This is why you have to stay off. This is Yoruba affair not some oil of Ijaw affair. Okay? Some modicum of decency and civility is required.

  • BlackieUmukoro

    Did we hear this akinola talk about the school uniform war in Osun. He is an APC mullah paid to denigrade yoruba elders. APC on the wrong move again

  • ABUBAKAR SANI KUTAMA

    Did is nt justice….

  • Naziru

    I am calling on all Muslim leaders and Imams to keep struggling until they change the equation on the ground. We Muslims in Nigeria promise to obey them to the end!

  • Tajudeen

    If this is not a Christian agenda what business do the three pastors have to do with the national conference when in Christianity it is give onto Caesar what is Ceasar’s? We Muslims in the southwest although the majority have allowed ourselves to be cheated for too long. Now thanks to people like Prof Ishaq. May Allah continue to bless you and all members of MURIC.

  • igabi

    “The notion of a Christian South is misleading” is a very important statement in this press release. This utterly untrue notion of ‘the christian south’ has always being narrated to support another lie which is ‘nigeria’s population is 50/50 between muslims and christians’! Nigeria’s population is in the most conservative estimate 65% muslim; even the americans attest to this. It is quite annoying when people talk as if no muslims exist in western nigeria, when they are undoubtedly majority in the most populous states of that region.

    • Kahindi Kapasho Festus

      65%muslims. Surely are u preaching a Recite in a mosque to please people or discussing fact? U want to imply out of 180million u have over 120million muslims. Even common sense beats it!!The igbo and Yoruba chrsitians are around 60-65million already before others!!

  • HausaFulani

    It is good it started early this way the Yoruba nation should better realized GEJ want introduce religious sentiment to divide them unlike in the past when merit is the principle determinant factor in choosing leaders.Wake up resist all evil temptation don’t allow few greedy old men divide your house.

  • Folorunsho

    Pls for the sake of naija children, divide this country into three places. LEt the Hausa go with their Islam and let Igbo people have their way and Yoruba stay in Yoruba. Then we will find out who is destroying the country. It is the Yoruba, because the y are taking bribes from Hausa who have no education and control the country with no resources. They are the ones enjoying the wealth because Yoruba were paid to do nothing and watch Hausa be in control. For this sake Hausa believe the Nigeria must be controlled by Muslims.