Eminent personalities on Saturday converged in Ibadan for the installation of Ibadan-based businessman, Dawud Akinola, as the new Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland.
The position became vacant following the demise of Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao, who was the last holder, on June 17, 2014.
Prominent among the dignitaries at the occasion were Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, his Osun counterpart, Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, and Michael Adeyemo, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly.
Also present were Alhaja Aminat Abiodun, the Iyalode of Ibadanland, Yekini Adeojo, Sheikh Jamiu Bello, President-General, League of Imams and Alfas of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta States and Adebayo Adelabu, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria.
Others were Seyi Makinde, Sheikh Muyideen Bello as well as politicians and Islamic clerics across the country.
Speaking at the installation, former Governor Bola Tinubu, who was the Chairman of the occasion, praised the late Mr. Arisekola-Alao, saying he was wealthy, humble and very generous in his life time.
Mr. Tinubu, who was represented by Governor Ajimobi, urged the new Aare to emulate the leadership style of Mr. Arisekola-Alao, whom he said devoted all he had to the upliftment of Islam and humanity.
Mr. Ajimobi, in his own remarks, called on Muslims to establish schools where children could learn morals, and vocations to cope with the challenges of life.
He urged Mr. Akinola to prepare for greater challenges as the new Aare, saying Mr. Arisekola-Alao was a rare breed whose leadership acumen and generosity transcended Yorubaland.
“Anytime I look at the man to be turbaned today, I pity him because he would have to devote all he has to justify his new leadership status,’’ he said.
In his speech, Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), urged Mr. Akinola to see his new position as an opportunity to lift Islam to greater heights.
Mr. Abubakar, who was represented by Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, the Secretary-General, NSCIA, said the new position was to rally the Imams for the development of Islam.
He commended the League of Imam and Alfas in the South West for maintaining harmonious relationship and cooperation in the development of the religion at all times.
Mr. Abubakar stressed the need for the teaching of religious studies from the primary school level to secondary school, saying lack of this had bred indiscipline.
In his sermon, Sheikh Habeebullah Adam Al-Ilory, the Rector of Agege, Lagos-based MORCAZ , said that the assignment of the Aare Musulumi was a great one that required devotion and absolute commitment.
He called on Mr. Akinola to be committed to the task and lead by example at all times, urging him to emulate the great leadership style of Mr. Arisekola and late MKO Abiola.
Mr. Akinola, in his acceptance speech, pledged to serve in the new capacity with all he was endowed with by God and would never let the people down.
He said he would work in harmony with all Islamic title holders to improve on the legacy left behind by the late Arisekola-Alao during his life time.
The new Aare Musulumi, however, sought the cooperation of all Islamic organisations as well as the Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria in fostering unity among the faithful.
The turbanning was carried out by the representative of the President-General, of NSCIA in conjunction with the President-General, League of Imams and Alfas, while the certificate was presented by Governor Aregbesola.(NAN)