By AbdulQudus Abiola Ojomo and Lateef Sanni
• Nasir El-Rufai, Hamzat, Pantami, Sheikh Abou Nollah, Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo, Oluwo of Iwo, Seriki of Agege, present at book launch
• Prof Akintola has excelled in all capacities, MURIC a necessary voice – El-Rufai
Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola has declared that the struggle for the emancipation and liberation of Muslims in Nigeria continues despite his retirement.
He made this statement on Sunday at the unveiling of his 429-page book, titled: “My Jihad: The Autobiography of an Eschatology cum human rights Activist”.
Scores of personalities from different parts of Nigeria attended the event in Lagos, Southwest, Nigeria, to celebrate his retirement from Lagos State University, LASU after 39 illustrious years.
Muslim News gathered that Akintola, who is a Professor of Islamic Eschatology, clocked 70 on Monday, July 10, when he formally retired from the state university as an accomplished academic.
Speaking with Muslim News at the well-attended event, Prof. Lakin said, “The struggle for the liberation of Muslims continues until every single Muslim in Nigeria is free to practice the religion as they desire.
“Our women should be free to use the Hijab at all times in all places, at places of work, in public offices, etc.”
“Until every qualified Muslim gets employment without discrimination! I will not retire until there is no discrimination against Muslims in all facets of life, we will continue the struggle.
“So long Muslims are not free to go to the mosque on Fridays, when some of their bosses, HODs refuse to allow them go to the mosque for solat and insist that they must continue working, we will continue the struggle.”
When asked what inspires or informs his bravery, fearlessness and boldness, the human rights advocate said, “Whether the articles I write or that MURIC writes, they don’t actually come from me directly. I think they are inspired, that is what I have discovered. Because a lot of times, I may even be sleeping or about to sleep or drifting into sleep and somehow, something tells me to stand up and write this or do this, something is happening somewhere, you have not taken action. Honestly, if I don’t rise from bed and start working on it, no matter how much I try to lie down, I will not be able to sleep, even after hours. There will be no sleep until I obey that inspiration and take action on it.”
He continued, “Again, I must say that whether the writings are good, fair or very good, I don’t know. But, all I know is that I am not the one writing them and the credit should not be given to me, but to Almighty Allah.
“Because I know, there is no knowledge that any human being possesses except that it is granted by Allah. No matter how much you endeavour to do things right, the settings, the outline, the plan. You know when you write, you are building a house; you need a foundation, a solid one, you need a plan of the house that you have to follow (as you write), so, you jot some things down. If Allah does not guide you, you will miss so many points and make many mistakes. So, what I always discover is that, after putting my write-ups together, when I now try to read them over in case I have made any errors, personally, I marvel and start asking myself if I wrote them”
…Mode of dressing inspired by Yasser Arafat
The retiring don noted that his mode of dressing was inspired by the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
He said “My mode of dressing is an expression of the liberation struggle. You remember that the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat used to dress similarly with his suit and of course, he was fighting for the oppressed Palestinian people. And struggling for freedom of Muslims in Nigeria is akin to the liberation struggle of the Palestinians.”
He added, “Because left, right and centre, the oppressors are bashing Muslims, even when they (Muslims) are on the right side and they are not targeting anybody, they are deprived of their freedom.
…living with fear of being sacked over activism
The professor said he lived with the fear of being sacked or arrested everyday due to his activism.
He mentioned “Everyday, I was in LASU, I felt like I was going to be sacked the next day, but I didn’t care.
“This boldness, this bravery is not mine, I am not bold, I am a coward because I believe my actions are spontaneous. And when I react to issues, I react without even thinking of the repercussions; whether they are going to kill me, arrest me or sack me from work, ” he added.
“You know, so many enemies of Islam have voiced the opinion that LASU should sack Akintola. There has been pressure from several quarters in this regard, but LASU didn’t take such action, because LASU knew I was doing a legitimate exercise. Human rights, Allah given and fundamental human rights is the legitimate right of every Nigerian under the constitution”
Prof. Akintola continued, “So long you do not break any other law. I am not a violent person. You cannot tell anybody that I lead people to burn or destroy. Thus, to that extent, I know there was no need for anyone to ask for my sack. I know that Allah has seen me through, not by my wisdom but by the wisdom of Almighty Allah.”
Tinubu will be kind to Nigerians
Professor Akintola believes the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration is the kind of government Nigeria needs.
According to him, “And of course, we believe that the Tinubu administration is the kind of government we want in this country. It has started on a good course. We will only ask the administration to continue to treat the fears of people and to continue to consider the agonies and the pains of minorities, majorities, religious and ethnic groups that have certain grievances. Once we have a government that is kind to the people, that doesn’t make laws that make life difficult for the citizenry, Nigeria will continue to make progress”.
He further advised the new government to continue to serve the people.
“It’s a long process and I know governance is not so easy. I will advise the government to continue to be fair and equitable.” He added.
…urges Nigerians to demand their rights
Lastly, Professor Akintola advised Nigerians to always demand their rights, using the popular Yoruba word “soro soke”, which reverberated in the country during the #ENDSARS movement.
He said, “Well Nigerians should ‘soro soke’, Nigerians should speak up. The worst community is the community that keeps mum when they are angry, then it builds up in them, it piles in them and it becomes anger and then they become children of multiple angers.
“So, they should speak up at all times. ‘Soro soke’ among the youth, among the elders and even among the common people. If we keep talking to the government, the government will one day listen to us.”.
Prof. Akintola has excelled in all capacities, MURIC a necessary voice – El-Rufai
Earlier in his keynote address, the immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai showered encomium on the retiring don, saying he has excelled in all capacities.
He said, “Sometimes, you are the lone voice for the Muslims in Nigeria. The voice that needs to be heard. Although you are retiring today, I will encourage you to continue with what you are known for.”
Don makes Islam appeal to old, younger generation: Hamzat
The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat ably represented at the event, sent his greetings and well wishes.
He stated that the retiring don has made Islam appeal not only to the present generation but to the younger generation.
He said, “The issue of biography did not start today, even our revered Prophet Muhammad also has his biography written by Muhammad bn Ishaq as early as the 8th century.”
“Therefore, what Prof. Akintola is doing today is apt and welcomed.” He added.
He continued, “Because it is very important that if a nation wants to move forward it should learn from the past, thus leaders should learn how to write their biographies.”
For example, let us look at Singapore, a country that was once led by Lee Kuan Yew. He wrote about three books and also determined his biography and I know a lot of countries have learnt from this. He led Singapore, from a third world to a first world country. And I know Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has read some of his books, which is why he did good things in Kaduna state.”
He concluded with a congratulatory note ” I am going to congratulate you, sir, Prof. Akintola. I sometimes listened to you. You have introduced legalism. You have made Islam appeal not only to the present generation but to younger generations and I want to congratulate you on that note”
Later during the book launch, the Deputy Governor procured copies of the autobiography of Prof. Akintola for an undisclosed amount.
Prof. Akintola means courage is enough as wealth: VC APU
In his review of the book, Vice Chancellor of Ahman Pategi University, APU, Prof. Mahfouz Adedimeji noted that the Executive Director of MURIC, Prof. Lakin Akintola lives up to his name, adding that “Akintola means courage is enough as wealth.”
“Lakin” means have courage and truly the retiring don is an epitome of courage and voice for the voiceless in Nigeria,” he added.
Presentation of Awards
The event also featured the presentation of awards to some dignitaries, including Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who received an award as an “Icon of Arewa Integrity”, while the Oluwo of Iwo, HRH, Oba Dr. AbdulRasheed Adewale Akanbi was awarded as the “Defender of the faithful”. The immediate former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami (ably represented) was awarded as “The Pride of Islamic Scholars” while Dr. Muiz Banire was awarded as the “Hero of Badr” among other awardees.
The event which was chaired by Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali (SAN) was attended by the who-is-who in the Nigerian Muslim and LASU communities.
Among them were the President of Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Alhaji Rasaki Oladejo; Deputy Secretary-General NSCIA, Professor Salisu Shehu; the Chief Imam of Lagos, Engr. Sulaimon Oluwatoyin Abou-Noulla; Chairman Oyo State Muslim Council, Alhaji Kunle Sanni and Sarkin Hausa of Agege, Alhaji Muhammad Musa Dogon Kadai, who adorned the celebrator with a traditional Islamic robe.
The hostess, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, the Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University, LASU, was represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof. Salisu Taiwo Moshood, who is also one of the Ph.D. mentees of Prof Akintola.
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