+ Relates Ulama’u’s role in sensitising pilgrims
• Speaks on insecurity, formation of NACOMYO
Pioneer National Amir (President) of the National Council of Muslim Youths Organisation (NACOMYO), Sheikh Adamu Abdullahi has commended the Chief Executive Officer of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan for the successful 2022 Hajj exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Abdullahi, while speaking exclusively with Muslim News in Makkah, described the exercise as a crash programme, noting that despite the limited time for planning, NAHCON was still able to organise an impressive Hajj operation.
Muslim News gathered that over 41,000 Nigerians made up the total figure of 899,353 pilgrims worldwide that performed this year’s pilgrimage after two years of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with great impacts on global economy and religious practices.
Sheikh Abdullahi being a member of the NAHCON Ulama’u team at the just concluded Hajj, acknowledged the performance of the Commission under the leadership of Alhaji Hassan, saying he deserves commendation for managing the emergency.
He said, “Normally, Hajj is planned over a period of one year; right from the beginning of the year, the planning continues up to the period of the Hajj. But this one, the signal that the Hajj would be conducted was given about three months to Hajj. So, all that happened in the planning and organisation of this Hajj was what we may call a crash programme.
“It was actually a very wonderful performance by NAHCON to have been able to organise something that takes a year to plan within a period of three months. Alhamdulilah, the successes recorded are commendable. One has to commend NAHCON, seeing the circumstances they found themselves.
“I am personally not surprised because the Chairman is someone I have known for about 30 years on Islamic activitism. He was Amirul Hajj in Lagos. He was Chairman of Osun State Pilgrims Board. He served as one of the officers of the NASFAT Hajj Organisation and so on.
“He also has a competent team. Most of the Commissioners at NAHCON were former secretaries of Hajj Boards in their states. He met a team of experienced officers who have been working on Hajj exercise for years. From the day he was appointed, he came with a lot of zeal to work for the Commission.
“Unfortunately, the first challenge was that Hajj was not conducted for two years and when it was conducted, it came as a crash programme. So, in all, one has to commend NAHCON and pray to Allah to increase them in wisdom so that next year’s Hajj would be better.”
Narrating the efforts of the Ulamah Team at the 2022 Hajj exercise, the scholar, who is also a staff of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), explained that they took charge of sensitisation and enlightenment of the pilgrims right from the airport in Nigeria down to Saudi Arabia.
“Whoever happened to follow the platform of the National Ulamah Team will find that they did a lot in sensitising the pilgrims, right from the airport in Nigeria. And then in Madinah. They went from house to house of the pilgrims in many states to sensitise them on the issue of Hajj, and even accompanied them to the various visits conducted in Madinah. Coming back here to Makkah, the Ulamah sensitised the pilgrims at various tents and led the prayers at various tents. They enlightened the Hujjaj on what they were supposed to do.
“In Makkah also, they did a programme on What Next After Hajj, as they strove to inform the pilgrims on the lessons to derive from Hajj and make part of their lives so that when they return home, the effect of their performance of Hajj will be apparent in their day to day activities,” he added.
While weighing in on the challenge of insecurity back home in Nigeria, Sheikh Abdullahi said the situation is very complex and becoming more difficult for people to understand.
He traced the problem of insecurity to excessive materialism bedevilling the people, in addition to the effect of foreign collaborations with the connivance of local saboteurs.
The scholar called for prayers and continued caution against blind materialism that is becoming a way of life among the people.
“The general problem of Nigeria is materialism. Whatever happens, people try to commercialise it. So, many people have turned this (insecurity) into a money-making venture. When people make money through certain means, it becomes difficult for them to be checked. These are the problems militating against the resolution of this insecurity problem. That’s why the only thing we urge Muslims to do is to intensify prayers. The problem seems to be beyond the capacity of the government and the security agencies that are trying to combat it. But in shaa Allah, if we intensify prayers, there’s nothing that is beyond the capacity of Allah.
“Apart from prayers, we need to continue to sensitise the people and reminding them of the Day of Judgement. They should remember that whatever one does would be accounted for. We also need to keep cautioning people about blind materialism that has become a way of life. We should not be looking at materials always. We should endeavour to ask about the negative impacts of our actions on fellow citizens. We should also try to instill the fear of Allah in the minds of people. That is the best check.”
How NACOMYO emerged from MSSN
Sheikh Abdullahi detailed how NACOMYO emerged from the ban on the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) by a Second Republic Governor in his state.
Ustaz Abdullahi was the first National President of NACOMYO.
According to him, all efforts to bring the Governor to rescind his ban on MSSN proved abortive, leading to the formation of the Council of Muslim Youths Organisation (COMYO) in the Southwest, which later transformed to the National Council of Muslim Youths Organisation (NACOMYO) in order to include other regions.
Hear him: “NACOMYO has a similar history with MSSN. The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) was formed by our brothers from the Southwest at a time when Muslims were being victimised in secondary schools. So, they decided to form the organisation in order to protect the interests of Muslims. Later on, it became a national organisation that has branches in all institutions.
“There was a time in the history of this country, precisely in the Second Republic, when a certain Governor decided to ban MSSN in his state. This was the platform Muslim youths were using to propagate Islam. All efforts to make him rescind the decision fell on deaf ears. As a result, our brothers there like Ishaq Kunle Sanni and some others formed at that time what they called COMYO, Council of Muslim Youths Organisation. They brought different organisations together to form that Council in order for them to use it to fill the gap of the then outlawed MSSN. So, they continued it for a while. When they saw the success that they achieved, they contacted we in the Northern part of Nigeria, telling us what they have done. They said we should come together to make COMYO a national organisation.
“So, there was a camp organised by the Assembly of Muslim Youths (WAMY) in 1987 if I remember correctly at Pilgrims Camp in Ilorin. That was when people who came from different parts of Nigeria were assembled and NACOMYO was formed from COMYO, and was no longer for a section of the country. I was made the first national president. Our first Secretary was a brother called Abdulfatah Odebisi, now in the US. After him, another brother Yunus Akintunde took over, he is from Oyo town. That was how NACOMYO grew, had branches in almost all states of the federation.”
He explained that the activities of MSSN target mostly students, while NACOMYO is interested in all categories of youths. He noted further that there has always been collaboration between the two Islamic groups in the areas of propagation and activism.
“Actually, MSSN has to do more with students. Even though it has what they call Central Branches. All of us are brothers by MSSN. I was an IVC organiser from 1982 to 1984. MSSN’s main area of focus is students, but NACOMYO widens the scope to other categories of youths. There is, however, collaboration between the two groups till now. Like I said, it was MSSN products that formed NACOMYO. So, there are areas of collaborations. For example, in my state, Sokoto, the MSSN Area Unit and the NACOMYO meet, but they divide their activities. Activities that have to do with students are carried out by MSSN. If they, however, need manpower, they call on NACOMYO members. When it is for activities that have to do with people outside the school, NACOMYO carries it. And I believe same thing happens everywhere”, he concluded.
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