For the second consecutive year, the current Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde has sidelined the Muslim faithful in the state, cancelling the yearly Hijrah public holiday which marks the beginning of a new Islamic year.
Muslim News reports that Oyo State, under the immediate past Governor, Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi, was always at the forefront among South-West states in commemorating it by declaring a work free day for Muslims in the State on every Muharram 1.
However, since the swearing-in of Mr Makinde as the executive governor of Oyo state on May 29, 2019, one of his first steps was to cancel the declaration of Hijrah holiday, the move which has been bemoaned by the Muslim community.
Muslim News can confirm that no public holiday was declared in Oyo in respect of the Islamic New Year, just as the Governor is yet to make pronouncement for the 1442 AH Hijrah holiday.
Tomorrow, August 20 might be the first day of Muharram, which heralds the beginning of Hijrah 1442 calendar year, if the moon is sighted this evening anywhere in Nigeria.
Oyo State Muslims are however least surprised by the Governor’s disregard for Islam, having raised an alarm in the 2019 electioneering period that he would water down Islamic legacies led by the late Ajimobi.
They alleged that Mr Makinde’s intolerance for Islam and Muslims would make him cancel the yearly Hijrah holiday, return public schools to the missionaries and stop the use of Hijab once he emerged the State Governor.
Governor Makinde, who campaigned and won under the umbrella of People Democratic Party (PDP) however denied all the allegations.
He regretted the unfounded and despicable lies being spread that he hates Muslims and will stop the use of Hijab, cancel Hijra holiday or return schools to Missionaries when the reverse is the case. #SeyiMakinde2019 #OmiTuntun2019 #OyoState #PDP
— Seyi Makinde (@seyiamakinde) March 4, 2019
In less than six months at the helm of affairs, pundits say that Mr Makinde has carried out his ‘first assignment’ by not recognising the Hijrah holiday, which usually comes with funfair and massive participation of the Muslim community and different schools across the state.
However, while speaking at the 1441 Hijrah Grand Rally organised by National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations, NACOMYO, Oyo State Chapter, the Deputy Governor, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan said that the 2019 Hijrah holiday was not declared because it fell on weekend.
The 1st of Muharram, marking the beginning of this year’s Hijrah1442 will fall on a weekday, Thursday, yet there is no confirmation from the State government.
All efforts by our correspondents to speak with the governor or any of his aides proved abortive. The State’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Adisa Taiwo didn’t pick our calls, nor respond to our SMS, as at the time of filing this report on Wednesday, 6pm.
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