The death of Baba Adinni of Lagos, Sheikh AbdulHafeez Abou on January 9, has left a big vacuum that requires painstaking efforts to fill.
However, the constitution of the Lagos Central Mosque is unambiguous on the process of selecting a worthy successor.
It will recall that the late Sheikh Abou, who died at age 101, was the 13th Baba Adinni of Lagos. Pa Arunmonikun was first Baba Adinni of Lagos between 1841 and 1891. Others were Pa Shitta-Bey between 1891 and 1895; Pa Yesufu Alufa Shitta (1895-1911); Pa Apatira (1911); Pa Tiamiyu Savage (Bashorun Olowogbowo) 1911-1919; Imam Adam Ali Fayati (1919-1924); Imam Abass Opere (1924-1937); Pa Bombata And Pa Akinyemi (up to 1967); Alhaji Waheed Elias (1967-1976) and Alhaj Wahab Folawiyo (1976-2008).
In selecting the new Baba Adinni, the people saddled with the responsibility should take into cognisance the herculean task awaiting the occupier of that office.
This is to ensure that the progresses made by successive Baba Adinnis are not eroded. For instance, the late Alhaji Waheed Elias was dubbed as the father of modern Lagos Central Mosque. He worked very hard to ensure that the Jamaah had the present ultra-modern Lagos Central Mosque.
It was during his reign that the community acquired expensive land where the new Lagos Central Mosque was built and adjoining land from L.E.D.B (new LSDPC), but he didn’t witness the construction.
However, the late Alhaji Folawiyo built on the foundation laid down by Alhaji Elias by initiating and completing the ultra-modern Lagos Central Mosque which was inaugurated in 1988.
Before Sheikh Abou became the Baba Adinni in 2009, he had worked closely with Alhaji Elias and Alhaji Folawiyo since he returned from Cairo, Egypt in the late fifties. Sheikh Abou was the first to live above 100 years and has been steadfast in his contribution towards development of Islam in Lagos and Nigeria.
According to the registered constitution of the Jamat-ul Muslimeen Council of Lagos (otherwise called Lagos Central Mosque) in 1996, the administration of Lagos Central Mosque administration is left in the hands of the representatives from four districts in Lagos Island namely – Olowogbowo, Isale Eko, Oko Faji and Brazilian Quarters (Popo Aguda). Leaders of those districts who were prominent and economically viable run the affairs of the mosque with the appointed Chief Imam. The leaders amongst themselves appoint a President (Chairman) to lead the group known as the Executive. Later the President was changed to Baba Adinni.
The Traditional Chiefs of the Jamaat otherwise called Executive Council of the Lagos Central Mosque include the following – Baba Adinni; Seriki Musulumi; Balogun Musulumi; Bashorun Musulumi and Are Musulumi.
According to the constitution of the Central Mosque, the appointment of any traditional chief of the Jamaat shall be made by the Executive Council, not only after consultation with the Chief Imam of Lagos, but also in strict compliance with the following:
In the case of the office of Baba Adinni of Lagos, the appointment shall be opened to any adult indigenous regular member of the Jamaat who is honest and sober and who demonstrates a great interest in Islam and in the Jamaat.
The person shall also enjoy the confidence of the Jamaat and be free from mental and physical defects of any kind.
In the case of the office of Bashorun Musulumi of Lagos, the Olowogbowo District of Lagos shall continue to exclusively make recommendation to the Executive Council of the Lagos Central Mosque for appointment to that office whenever it becomes vacant.
In the case of the offices of Seriki Musulumi, Balogun Musulumi, and Are Musulumi, the other three Districts of the Jamaat, the Isale-Eko/Idumota District, the Brazilian Quarters District, and the Oko-Faji District, shall each have the exclusive rights to make recommendation to the Executive Council of the Lagos Central Mosque for appointment to those offices whenever any of them becomes vacant.
In taking the decision on their recommendations, the Districts shall give consideration to any representation that may be made to them by any House which had been holding a traditional chieftaincy in the past.
A person holding or appointed to the office of Baba Adinni of Lagos shall not be regarded as having been recommended for that office by a particular District of the Jamaat within the context of this Constitution.
The Executive Council of the Lagos Central Mosque shall ensure that a person recommended for appointment to the office of any traditional chieftaincy of the Jamaat possesses all the qualities and qualification necessary for the appointment of a person to the office of Baba Adinni of Lagos as stipulated in the constitution.
However, the central mosque constitution also stipulated that the decision of the Executive Council of the Lagos Central Mosque on the appointment of a person to the office of any traditional chieftaincy of the Jamaat shall be final and bindings on all members of the Jamaat.
In the 2010 amended version of the constitution, the Baba Adinni of Lagos shall be the Chairman of the Executive Council of Lagos Central Mosque and shall preside over all its meetings. In his absence, the most senior traditional chief shall be the Chairman of the meeting and in the absence of traditional chiefs; any member present shall be selected (or elected) as the Chairman of the meeting.
The members shall see to the overall welfare of members of the Jamaat; guide other officers in the discharge of their duties; conduct the affairs of all meetings in compliance with the constitution and the approved standing orders and promote the good image of the Jamaat.
Before the late Sheikh Abou was appointed as Baba Adinni of Lagos in 2009, an industrialist, Alhaji Sakariyahu Babalola was announced as the late Alhaji Folawiyo’s successor.
Some chiefs in the central mosque said the announcement was voided by the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.
The nomination of the late Babalola who later became the President-General of Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN) didn’t fly because he was said not to have been a Lagosian.
Many kicked against that action, saying it was unislamic.
The question is: who will succeed Sheikh Abou as the new Baba Adinni of Lagos?
The Nation learnt that the announcement for Sheikh Abou’s successor may be sooner than expected.
Source: The Nation
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