As the Muslim world welcomes the Islamic New Year, also known as Hijrah 1441, the Publisher of Muslim News Nigeria, Rasheed Abubakar; Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola and CEO of She-EO, Hajia Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi have been awarded Persons of the Year, 1440 AH.
The trio were honoured by Alhaji Nojeem Jimoh, the former Amir of The Companion, an organisation for men and women in business and professions who “strive for Islamic, human and societal development”.
In a Facebook post on September 3, 2019, with the title, “My Persons of the Year”, Imam Nojeem, who is the Imam of Light House Mosque, Lekki, Lagos State, said; “As we enter the new Islamic Year (Hijrah 1441), let me give my personal awards to Muslim friends who have made the most impression on me in the past year.
According to him, “These awards are not a measure of their piety – for only Allah knows who’s truly pious – but for their respective contributions to Islamic and human development”.
Describing the Muslim News Publisher, The Companion former Amir said: “My final Person of the Year 1440 is no other than the founder of Muslim News – my little brother with a big pen – motivator-general at Rawshield Media – Abubakar Rasheed.
“To the best of my knowledge, I have only met Abubakar once at the last UNILAG Muslim Alumni (UMA) Annual Pre-Ramadan Lecture. This meeting presented me with a reconciliation problem – that of reconciling the relative frail nature of his physique and the big-hit writings in the Muslim News and The Independent on Friday.
“Surely, this lightweight of a brother is not the same person who does all those writings! Except that he is. For God sake, he even needs a walking stick to support himself. Meeting him brought home for me the real meaning of the saying that you should not judge a book by its cover.
“I am aware that there are other brothers behind the show in running Muslim News, but the brain behind the concept is the one I am celebrating here”, he said.
He further called on all to support the Muslim News Nigeria project of balanced, fair and objective reportage of Muslims and Islam.
In his words, “If ever anyone deserves our support as Muslims, It is Abubakar. If ever any project deserves our collective support for sustainability and longevity as well, then it is Muslim News. I celebrate you, Abubakar Rasheed”.
Leading the trio of Awardees is the Human Rights Activist and Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola.
Buttressing the aim behind his conferment, Alhaji Jimoh described Professor Akintola as a ‘one-man battalion’ who stands for Islam at all cost.
“My first Person of the Year is Professor Ishaq Akintola”, he said, adding that, “If ever anyone qualifies to be called a one-man battalion, it is Professor.
According to him, he was yet to meet a person who stands for Islam as much as the Professor does. “I once asked him who writes all those press releases which he issues whenever our rights are infringed upon, to which he answered that he does himself. How he finds time to issue so many razor-sharp, big impact press releases is beyond me – but to describe him only in terms of his press releases would be to do a big injustice to him.
“That he would have been the Monarch of his home town if he hadn’t consciously passed it on to his junior brother – for no other reason than Islam – tells you the measure of this man”.
The only female on the list, Hajiah Ganiyah Fajingbesi Balogun followed in tow behind Professor Akintola.
Hajiah Ganiyah who is the CEO of She-EO, got the feat for her giant stride in societal development.
She got the accolades from Alhaji Jimoh being called a ‘one-person multinational’ and ‘a true Amazon’.
“My second Person of the Year is my sister, Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi Balogun. In Tope, have I met a true amazon. If professor was a one-man battalion, Tope is quite literally a one-person multinational.
“From She-EO which has legitimately assumed the reputation of an international programme, to United for Kids Foundation, front row appearance at Hilary Clinton Campaign and now, back in the classroom, I see here (Allah willing) a name which will be known along the length and breadth of Nigeria. Minister of Women Affairs? Youth Development? And why not Finance? One forgets very easily that Tope is a qualified accountant. Join me in watching this lady fly”, he concluded.
Hajiah Ganiyah who was surprised by the honour thanked Imam Nojeem for finding her worthy of mention alongside other nominees.
“Subhannallah!”, she exclaimed after seeing her name in the list, saying, “I am in awe of Allah, the only one who makes me look much better than I am.”
According to her, “I am also grateful to you Sir. When the one worthy of admiration finds you be worthy of this sort of mention, then you must emulate the humility in him. Thank you so much Sir. May Allah answer your prayers and wishes for me, yourself and your family. Well except for the Minister part sha…I will pass on that one Sir!”
The publisher of Muslim Muslim News, Rasheed Abubakar’s also expressed appreciation to Imam Nojeem for finding him worthy of being among the recipients.
He said, “Frankly speaking, I am elated. Though, I received the notification since morning, I haven’t been able to acknowledge it until now, due to the quantum of work I had on my desk all day. Jazakumllahu khayran Yaa Imam. May Allah for whose sake you have done this bless you abundantly.”
Joking about when he would be receiving person of the year plaque, the author of “Media Narrative of Muslims in Nigeria: Facts and Fallacies” dedicated the award to the Muslim News Team, who have been at the forefront of projecting Islam and Muslims in the media.
According to him, “this honour means a lot to the entire team at Muslim News. For us, it is an indication that our efforts in reporting Islam correctly and challenging the mainstream media bias is being felt by the Nigerian Muslim community.
“We shall publish this honour as a news item because it’s a form of encouragement for me and the entire Muslim News Team for their steadfastness. Like we do say “we are where we are because of where we ought to be”. We are going places in shaa Allah”, he added.
Muslim News Nigeria, a publication of Rawshield PR Media, is a mouthpiece for underreported Muslim achievers and events in Nigeria and across the world, which are never given prominence in the mainstream media.