From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
Muslims have been admonished to approach politics from the position of strength as they push for more space in leadership and government.
This was the trust of the summit organised by the Ekiti State chapter of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organizations (NACOMYO)
The summit with the theme “Ekiti Muslim Agenda Beyond a Short Term Basis” attracted Muslim scholars within and from across the country.
The summit encouraged Muslims to take an active part in politics and showcase their God-given talents and potential rather than engaging in seasonal lamentations.
Stakeholders at the summit also charged Muslims to collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) and vote wisely in the 2023 general elections.
The Islamic faithful were also tasked to seize the opportunity of the public holiday declared on the 24th of January 2023 by the All Progressives Congress (APC) controlled states in the South West to collect their PVCs “for diligent observance of their civic responsibilities”.
It underscored the importance of Education, urging Muslims to give more priority to both Islamic and secular education so as to be relevant in the scheme of things
Muslims were also urged to take advantage of interest-free Islamic banking and collaborate with the government at all levels in the area of youth empowerment.
The chairman of the occasion and former non-executive Director of First Bank PLC, Alhaji Lateef Bakare, hinted Muslims have been facing persecution from time immemorial.
Bakare disclosed that it took the grace of God for him not to be forcefully converted to Christianity in his quest for western education.
He urged Muslims to always be ready to be good ambassadors of Islam by promoting excellence, honesty and integrity.
In his address, NACOMYO Coordinator, Bro. Mudasiru Yusuf noted Muslims are not endangered species in the scheme of things in the state.
The Muslim Youth Leader also decried the long years of marginalisation of the adherents of the Islamic faith, calling on progressive elements to rise for the cause of Islam in the state.
The state governor, Biodun Oyebanji, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Investment, Trade and Industry, Mrs Adeola Omotayo, appreciated Muslims’ support for his administration with the assurance and promise to work and deliver electioneering campaign promises.
The keynote speaker and erstwhile National Arm of the Muslims Students Society of Nigeria( MSS), Barr. Nurudeen Asunogie said “for too long, Muslims have felt and acted like a foundling at the doorway of an orphanage, desperately foraging for attention and care”
“Today, indeed, is a most unique day as the Ekiti Muslims a condensed metaphor for the Muslims everywhere, art historic juncture. One that gives an intimation of the consigning of a lugubrious and lachrymose past into desuetude that speaks so eloquently of a readiness to exit the ocean of discomforting discombobulation, lamentations to the wharf of studious progressive engagement with reality. There can be no better time than now for this introspection.
‘It is my belief that this summit tagged Ekiti Muslims Agenda Beyond A Short-Term Basis is an eloquent expression of the determination of the Exits Muslims to change the narrative and bring about a reversal of the elements that had precipitated but an untoward state of affairs
“The narrative has been that we have been mortified, traduced, vitiated, pauperized, maligned and decimated over the ages in Ekiti state, for instance, the Muslims have been treated no better than cyphers Save for the period of Chief Segun Oni when we had a Muslim as his Deputy, the Muslims have never occupied any position of high visibility in the state. With the judgement of the Court which voided the process that brought Mr Oni to power, the office of the Deputy Governor, which a Muslim occupied, was rendered invalid.
“It is certainly loony to think that we can lament and cry our way to social-political relevance. You can never absquatulate from your responsibilities, yet hope to get what comes from the discharge of the undone duties.
“When shall we begin to blaze? Is it not time that every one of us who is not a cripple, not kidnapped by the edacious spirit stands on its feet in defence of our right to dignity and dignified treatment from all and for all? Am swamped with ululations of despondency, helplessness and powerlessness.
” Our nation is in a paroxysm of despondency, which gnaws at the very foundation and soul of our survival as a people. There has been the fiendish entombment of justice, equity and fairness in our affairs. We have been so suffocatingly parsimonious in the practice of justice, equity and fairness in our social and political dealings. Whatever direction we turn what confronts us are the stenches from the scenes of injustice, iniquities and shame. All that we see are men so diminutive in character. stopping at nothing, no matter how egregious, to gratify their flagitious proclivities
“We can no longer count that as making an era of departure from our barren situation, our adversaries, real or imaginary, have gloried over our miseries. But more harrowing than this seemingly impish and mortifying treatment is the fact that victimhood is a farce. We have played not just a catalytic role in the promotion and sustenance of our squalid state of affairs, but have indeed played a participatory role.
“We have found gusto in the dissipation of our lives in the promotion of very centrifugal issues at the expense of those that are centripetal. We have allowed ourselves to be drowned in the raging tides of brazen emotions and sentiments. All that for too long, with the precipitation of the confiscation of the reality of what ought to be done. Where did we hypothecate our self-esteem and honour, as an ummat for mortification?
“In your winter of political irrelevance, we must not get warmth from the blanket of insouciance. We must feel choked by the toxic air of our complacency and doltish resignation, our spirits should be dynamized and impregnated with the irresistible determination to torpedo our unedifying patrimony of the culture of endorsement of subjugation.
“Is our subjugation and barren treatment not self-inflicted? How active have we been in the political landscape? What is our utilitarian value? For many of us religion and politics are diametrically opposed and at variance with each other. This speaks of a warped understanding of what religion is. How do we extract ourselves from the present sea of confusion and anarchical state of affairs? We can not do this when we regale in lamentations and unproductive polemics. We need to interrogate our thought process if we ever would precipitate any change in our untoward state of affairs. Let us get involved in critical thinking if we will get progressive reconstruction of our sordid state
“As Muslims, we are challenged to galvanize all progressive elements for the building of a sane society. We cannot afford to be supercilious and yet expect to be treated with dignity.
“As Muslims, we must see the cosmic relevance of participation in governance. We need to be involved in the definition of true leadership. For we know as of truth that leadership cannot be atomistic. It must be marked by an aptitude to synthesize, rather than disintegrate.”
The Guest Lecturer, Professor Abdul-Afeez Oladodun from the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, urged Muslims to shun complacency.
According to him parts of the Charter of Demands of Muslims in Yorubaland included the institutionalization of equity and justice in the appointment of people into positions by ensuring balancing in the two major religions in Nigeria.
Also ensuring that in the appointment of Muslims into public offices; there is a need to observe due diligence to determine their true identities and religious persuasions.
The summit was attended by Islamic scholars and eminent personalities within and outside the state among whom are the President-General of the League of Imam and Alfas South-West, Edo and Delta States. Fadhilat Sheikh Alh Jamiu Kewulere Bello, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Dr Habibat Omolara Adubiaro, the Deputy Speaker, Ekiti State of House of Assembly, Rt Hon Akim Jamiu and Alhaji Lateef Bakare.