Last Sunday, (November 22, 2020) was a unique day of glory and unprecedented equanimity, for the Muslim Ummah of South west Nigeria (MUSWEN. That was the day that a new President emerged for that Umbrella body of the entire Muslims in that region. The name of the new President, whose nomination was unanimously ratified by MUSWEN’s General Assembly, is Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo, an economist of international repute and a former President of Nawairud-Deen Society of Nigeria who was also the Chairman of Finance Committee of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
By his emergence, as President of MUSWEN and the formal ratification of his nomination as Deputy President General of NSCIA, Alhaji Oladejo has become a succecssor to Dr. Sakariyau Olayiwola Babalola, OON, who demised in October 2019. Thus, he now is the third substantive President of MUSWEN and the third Deputy President General (South) of NSCIA.
MUSWEN’s General Assembly also ratified the nomination of Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti, a Fellow of Charetered Accountant (FCA) and Chairman of MUSWEN’s Finance Committee, as the First Deputy President of MUSWEN.
The ratification of Alhaji Oladejo’s nomination as Deputy President General of NSCIA was in response to NSCIA’s, official request for such nomination from MUSWEN, earlier this year.
Who is Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo?
Since this man’s emergence as President of MUSWEN and the unanimous ratification of his nomination as Deputy President General of NSCIA just last Sunday, many people have been calling yours sincerely to unveil his identity/profile for public assessment. But the space here is not enough to display such profile as requested. Many occasions are still lying ahead to warrant that, in the near future, in sha’Allah.
However, if a prominent Muslim of that status has been qualified enough to represent Nigeria at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), as Deputy Director General of Nigeria’s Stock Exchange, and, he has successfully served as a two terms President of Nawair-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria as well as Chairman of Finance Committee of NSCIA, what further qualification can be needed for his public assessment? After all, he is the current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni Association.
Instead of displaying Alhaji Oldejo’s paper qualification here, why don’t we assess him (for now) through the contents of his acceptance Speech, at MUSWEN’s General Assembly, where his nomination was ratified? That acceptance speech does not only speak volumes about his personality and focus, it also confirms who he really is intellectually and administratively. In other words, paper qualification is just like the hood which does not necessarily make the Monk. If you want to know some details about this man, please, read an excerpt from his acceptance speech of last Sunday, as presented below.
His Acceptance Speech
‘’….In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful!
After protocols were duly observed, the speech went thus:
‘‘…….Please, let me start with expression of a profound gratitude to the Almighty Allah, the Omnipresent the Omnipotent who bears no child and was not born. Whenever He (Allah) wants something done, He only commands it to be and it automatically becomes. It is only by His inimitable grace that we are all gathered here today, to witness this great occasion. Without His grace, nothing can be possible in the life of man.
Until a couple of weeks ago, when I received an invitation from MUSWEN to come and serve Islam in a particular capacity, it was far beyond my dream or imagination, to stand before this unique Assembly of Muslim Who’s Who in the South West of Nigeria, in response to the ‘summon’ that brought me here today. My plan, after retirement and attainment of septuagenarian age, some years ago, was
to sit back, at home, with subtle relaxation, and take a private retrospective view of my life’s odyssey, in the past 60 or 65 years, with a view to transforming the experience garnered during that period into a special school where today’s younger Muslims could learn the art of mounting the pyramid of life as a fortress for the Muslim generations of tomorrow.
It was through a window on that pyramid, during my youthful days, in the 1950s/60s, that I was able to see the spiritual life style of our own generation, partly as a warning on the vanity of human wishes and partly as an encouragement for paving a thorough way for others in life. That was my planed agenda in retirement. But, as we all know, man only proposes while Allah disposes.
Today’s Annual General Assembly is both a practical reminiscence and a vivid reminder of similar assemblies of highly foresighted and rightly guided Muslim elites at the beginning of the 20th century.
Although those elites were very few in number and they grossly lacked the required facilities for building a befitting modern Muslim Community of their desire, the strong will and determination that propelled their excellent intention, at that time, was the impetus that gingered them to create a worthy legacy which eventually became a worthy heritage for us today.
It was the strong foundation laid by those elites that made it possible for most of us here today, to be educated in the Western way without forcefully becoming Christians.
Today, we can talk of ubiquitous Muslim schools and Muslim teachers with delight. We can attend Muslim Hospitals and consult Muslim Doctors/Nurses confidently without suspicion. Our children can attend Muslim Universities and be taught by Muslim Professors with trust. Young Muslim job seekers can apply and be employed in Muslim companies and be trained by Muslim Professionals. Male and female Muslim parents can be members of viable Muslim Organizations in which competent Muslim administrators can serve as their models. All these are now easily achieved with pride. Alhamdu liLlah!
However, without the above mentioned solid foundation laid by those highly dedicated earlier Muslim elites, which now serves as a template for our generation, how could we have attained the rightly guided prowess that makes us the qualitative Muslims that we are today, individually and collectively?
The above narrated episode has come to form an indelible archive in the contemporary history of Islam in Nigeria with indelible impact on the present adherents of that divine religion. Alhamdu liLllah.
That we are practicing Islam in Nigeria, today, without any fear of intimidation and any recourse to the mercy of non-Muslims is a clear evidence that our spiritual edifice is based on a formidable foundation. Alhamdu liLlah!
Our Own Era
Now, this is our own era in history. We met a solid foundation on ground and we built a befitting edifice on it. That is how to turn a worthy legacy into a worthy heritage. But, then, in our own life time, that same edifice, of which we are very proud, is fast becoming ramshackle while we keep basking vaingloriously in the euphoria of the past. At any time of human life, change is a major precursor of progress. Without change, any dream of progress may end up in a nightmare. Even the Almighty Allah emphasizes this in Chaper 13 Verse 11 of the Qur’an thus: “Allah does not change the situation of a community unless the people of such a Community change their abnormal attitude to life….”
Formation of MUSWEN
Just over a decade ago, some thoughtful Muslim Elites, in this same South West of Nigeria, came together as brothers and sisters, to further advance the vibrancy of the edifice built on the existing solid foundation, by firming together, the various flanks of that edifice, in the name of MUSWEN, for the purpose of unity of the Ummah. Thus, today, we have an unprecedented unification umbrella that gives the South West Muslims a national identity not only in name but also in action. Today, the role of MUSWEN in Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) is appreciably exemplary. Alhamdu liLllah!
With the current Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Dr. Muhammad Sa‘ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, as President General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), no genuine Muslim of worth in Nigeria or even abroad, today, can doubt the fact that we, indeed, have a great leader. At least, we, in the South West of Nigeria, could not have forgotten, so soon, the role which His Eminence played in planting the seed of a formidable Muslim unity in this region, at the inauguration of MUSWEN, here in Ibadan, in August, 2008. And ever since, His Eminence has not relented a bit, in encouraging the germination and nourishment of that seed into a gargantuan tree that MUSWEN has become today.
Today, going by the trend of unity and its attendant growth of MUSWEN, it is doubtful that the Muslims in the South West of Nigeria would have achieved the formidable mutual cooperation with other regions, which we proudly enjoy today, by the grace of Allah, to the chagrin envy of those who are now evidently uncomfortable. It is, therefore, the duty and responsibility of MUSWEN, to work assiduously, towards the solidification of the factors which brought that national Muslim unity about and may become a comfortable heritage for our children and other future generations. As a regional body, we have a major stake in the progressive greatness of the NSCIA as the common rope that binds us together and strengthens us to jointly hold the flag of Islam aloft in Nigeria, in spite of the sour song of ‘Islamization’ often chorused frivolously in certain quarters to distract the Muslims through the waves of Higerian media.
As Muslims in Nigeria, in Africa or even in the entire world, we have a single body with a single mission which we cannot afford to betray at any moment, for any reason.
Let us always pray for our leaders’ divine guidance without any iota of tribal or denominational instinct in mind. We should not forget that in Islam, actions are judged by intention. God bless our leaders with long lives and sound health that they may be able to resist any forceful distraction while forging ahead with their divinely guided intention.
As a Muslim and an appreciative beneficiary of wisdom, courage, endurance and sacrifices of the leaders who laid foundation for us, upon which to build further growth and development for Islam, in this region, I hereby salute the doggedness of the indefatigable leaders of the past and those of the present who remain relentless in their dedicated service to the course of Islam without minding any visible or invisible odds surreptitiously erected on their ways. I, particularly, salute the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of NSCIA for piloting the affairs of Nigerian Muslim Ummah nationally and methodically despite the occasional missiles of insults hauled at his highly venerable position, from certain uncultured quarters.
I salute the late Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa, a onetime Nigerian Minister of Education, who as the pioneer President of MUSWEN, laid a formidable foundation for that unprecedented edifice.
I salute our highly principled father, Justice Tijani Bolarinwa Babalakin, who took the mantle of leadership from Professor Fafunwa, as acting President, but decided to step aside, along the line, in self honour and self dignity, due to health challenge.
I salute the late Alhaji (Chief) S. O. Babalola, who worked vigorously to ensure that MUSWEN stands vertically as a reliable pillar for the stability of Islam in Nigeria.
I salute the impeccable intention of our amiable father, Prince Abdul Jabar Bola Ajibola, who champions the custody of MUSWEN as a registered body that requires formidable pillars to uphold it.
I salute, the late Aare Musulumi of Yoruba Land, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao, the first Deputy President General (South) of NSCIA, whose stupendous pecuniary contribution to MUSWEN, as a nonesuch edifice, was a priority in the latter part of his life.
I salute our inexhaustible father and erudite scholar, Professor D. O. S. Noibi, the Pioneer Executive Secretary of MUSWEN, who established the administrative prowess of the body’s secretariat and stabilized it firmly.
I salute all other stake holders and touch bearers of this great umbrella body and pray the Almighty Allah to reward them as well as all of you here and those at homes abundantly in this world and the Hereafter. Amin!
Our Women and Youths
From the little experience I have been able to gather through intellectual and physical interactions with some successful movers and shakers of the society, I have come to realize that wealth is not as much about money as it is about people.
Even recently, the United Nations emphasized that the future of Nigeria lies in the numerical strength of its youths and not oil wells.
If, with their brains, people could invent money, own it and direct its movements in terms of income and expenditure, then, people, and not money, should be given priority in running the affairs of a body like MUSWEN. Our talents and potentials are diverse. And, we need the harmonization of these talents in propelling Islam and in adequately equipping those who will serve as agents of that propel-lance. It is for this reason that I want, with your express permission, to call on the management of MUSWEN to design a variety of programs that can entice our women and our youths to active participation in the activities of MUSWEN, especially at the State levels. That may serve as a way of utilizing the potentialities of our youths and the grooming of their potentials into experiences. I believe that mass participation of our women and youths can open the door for us to build our future leaders in advance.
Today, November 22, 2020, on your commanding ‘summon’, I am here, to declare, in the name of Allah, that I accept to serve Islam by the grace of Allah, as you have requested of me. But I must confess on this occasion that the duty and responsibility which are about to be entrusted to me and my deputies, through this service, cannot be fully carried out by us alone. They should be taken as a major venture which all of us must jointly handle with strong determination in spirit and in action without any room for doubt or regret. Naturally, I am a student. And, as a student, I am always eager to learn according to the counseling of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who said that “learning is from cradle to grave”. Our population, as Muslims, is our wealth. And, it is by pulling our resources together that we can successfully forge ahead today and pave a smooth way for a pleasant tomorrow.
Finally, please, permit me to round off this speech with an excerpt from a poem of a famous American intellectual and Statesman,William Webster as follows:
“If we work marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds, and instill in them just principles; we are then engraving that upon tablets which no time can efface, but will brighten to all eternity”.
Assalam alaykum wa rahmatu-Llah wa barakatuhu!
SUPPORT MUSLIM NEWS NIGERIA
With your generous financial contributions to MUSLIM NEWS, you are helping to sustain a culture of journalistic integrity that promotes tranquil Islamic values and ensures it remains free and available to all.