More troubles, more twists as plot to kick out Chief Imam Ogbomoso gets messier
The matter of the continued stay in office of the Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland Imam Teliat Yunus Olushina Ayilara II is getting messier by the day.
The issue of his belonging to the Ayilara family of Oke-Agbede, which produced him, is unresolved. ogbomosoinsightonline.com reported earlier that a section of the family has disowned him claiming he is not of the family and so ineligible to hold the position with some people however asking “How did he scale the screening process then in the first place?”
But reacting to the allegation of usurping the position, the Chief Imam said through his personal assistant, RK Teliat, that the matter was being resolved following which a family tree affirming his root in the Ayilara family was released by him.
A meeting of Islamic leaders including the Parakoyi of Ogbomosoland, Sheikh Alimi Sirajudeen, who is next in hierarchy to the Chief Imam in the absence of Mufasir, has been convened several times to resolve the matter but is yet unresolved.
The last meeting held on November 1 according to findings asked the feuding parties i.e. the section claiming he is not of the family and the other claiming he is a bonafide son of the family, to come up with their resolution next Tuesday.
Amid this the forces of opposition seem to be growing as some of his latest moves are being brazenly challenged.
The next opportunity to oppose him arose with the issue of the planned conferment of honorary titles on certain Islamic leaders by him.
In a letter obtained by ogbomosoinsightonline.com dated October 21, 2022, Sheikh Ayilara II disclosed his intent to confer titles on some individuals including the title of Grand Mufti of Ogbomosoland.
“I am pleased to announce the conferment of the following titles on some prominent Islamic Scholars in Ogbomosoland,” the letter says.
The titles according to the letter included Grand Mufti of Ogbomosoland to be conferred on Shaykh Dr Muhyiddeen Ibraheem Salahudden; Wakil – I – Muslimeen of Ogbomosoland (Shaykh Abdul-Mumin Usman (Amir Rere) and Haijatu – I – Islam (Shaykh Abdulahi Akorede (Federal)).
However, while the euphoria of this was yet to abate the League of Imams and Alfas Ogbomosoland (LIAO), swiftly, in a letter dated October 22, addressed to the Grand Chief Imam, and titled, “Re-Conferment of Grand Mufti of Ogbomosoland and other Honourary Titles: League of Imams and Alfas Ogbomosoland’s stand,” signed by the group’s secretary, Alh. (Imam) Bello Hasimyu, dissociated themselves from the move.
The letter reads, “Our Attention has been drawn to purported letter on intent with above heading to confer Islamic tittles to selected Islamic clergy men in Ogbomosoland by Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland, Imam Teliat Yunus Oluhsina Ayilara II.
“League of Imams and Alfas Ogbomosoland, the registered Islamic scholars association with federal government of Nigeria disassociate themselves from the purported action of the conferment of mufti and other Islamic tittles.
“The chairman League of Imams and Alfas Oyo state branch and Grand Chief Imam of Ibadanland Sheikh Abdulganiy Agbotomokekere has ordained one of Ogbomoso sons as Grand Mufti of Oyo state. Therefore, we see it from peaceful perspective that it’s of no need for us to ordain another Mufti for Ogbomosoland.
“Also, the purported conferment of Islamic title holders is not in conformity with our movement and we are not duly informed as Islamic scholars.
“Therefore, we appeal to the Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland to halt from the conferment of mufti and other Islamic tittles for peace to reign in our community and we call your attention to appeal to Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland to stay away from the actions. Thanks.”
To add salt to this particular injury, one of the proposed awardees, Imam Abdul Mumeen Shehu Usman Al-Ameer (Chief Imam Kere), barefacedly declined the award.
Communicating his disapproval in a letter titled, “Re: Conferment of Grand Mufti of Ogbomosoland and other Honourary Titles letter from The Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland,” the Chief Imam Kere, Abdul Mumeen Shehu Usman Al-Ameer, who is to be conferred Wakil-l-Muslimeen of Ogbomosoland, stated, “This is to notify that the circulated letter wherein my name is slated and captioned for the conferment of Wakil-l-Muslimeen of Ogbomosoland is released via the internet without my consent.
“I thank the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland for counting me fit for the position, but the title has been allocated for a living Muslim’s soul in person of Alhaji Zakariyah Bello (Aremole). It shall be duplication of title holders. Jazakumullah Khaeran.”
Upon investigations, someone, Alhaji Zakariyah Bello Aremole, is already holding the title therefore fueling suspicious as to the real intent of proposing another person for the position.
As the matter got complicated, information has it that Chief Imam of Ibadanland and who is chairman of League of Imams and Alfas in the state, Sheikh Abdulganiy Agbotomokekere, also took exception to the planned bestowal of the title of Grand Mufti of Ogbomosoland.
The thinking is that he (Chief Imam of Ogbomoso) cannot unilaterally appoint a (sectional) Grand Mufti “the only reason he would want to do that,” a Muslim faithful who however spoke on conditions of anonymity posited, “is to antagonize the one appointed by the chairman of LIAO.
“If a Grand Mufti is to be appointed in any town, it has to be through the Grand Mufti of the state, who is a son of the late Mufasir of Ogbomosoland, Alhaji Okumebo, the first Grand Mufti in the state, who passed on recently.”
Because of this, he claimed Sheikh Ayilara has been suspended from attending the meetings of LIAO at the state level. But this ogbomosoinsightonline.com cannot independently verify as at the time of filing this report.
The quandary has not subsided meanwhile, “this week, meetings are being held on daily basis to resolve the quagmire with a far reaching one slated for November 8. We even heard that a top Islamic leader in the town has brought in security agents to frustrate the effort but on whose side he is or which effort they are to frustrate is yet unclear,” another Muslim leader informed.
But amid the hullabaloo, a group, which styled itself Ogbomoso Muslim Youths – Ogbomoso Central Mosque, Oja-gbo, Ogbomoso, has weighed in, in defence of the Chief Imam, warning of dire consequences should the plot to remove him sail through.
In a letter dated November 2, addressed to “Special Committee on Islamic Affairs, Ogbomoso Zone” and titled, “The Grand Imam must not go,” the group wrote, “Sequel to the behind-the-scene sinister and counter-productive moves being made by few Muslim Leaders within Ogbomoso to depose our Grand Imam-Shaykh Alh Teliat Yunus Olushina Ayilara – we use this medium to stiffly warm those concerned figures to desist from conceiving such again, let alone putting to action.”
It added, “That Imam Teliat isn’t from the Ayilaras has long been proved untrue and lacking in substance of reasoning: a categorical question was asked regarding the Imam-ship aspirants legitimacy to the office during the Imam-ship screening leading to his emergence late 2021. To this, all family representatives consented and responded in affirmation of their legitimacy. Attempts to capitalise unto this by some retrogressives could spell doom for the peaceful atmosphere we’ve been enjoying. We understand their shots at fighting pristine goodness. No one does that and go unscathed.
“The Grand Imam enjoys the support of the overwhelmingly majority of Ogbomoso Muslims, young and old. The Grand Imam has came with a midas touch and Allaah has used his presence to change the face of things for the good, doing us proud. This is glaring for all good minds to see.
“All should bear in mind, the peace we’ve been enjoying is a product of our (the youths) perseverance, and not the swom enemies of progress. All people of evil and backwardness should be severely warned not to throw us in chaos, draw the wrath of men and of course, the Supreme Being. Allaah.
“We beseech Allaah to sanitize our land, guard and guide our affairs.”
In the meantime, RS Teliat, the personal assistant to the Chief Imam clarified in respect of the conferment of Islamic titles that everyone was carried along before the decision was made insisting that all matters are being resolved.
The question now is, “Who has the authority to remove the Chief Imam?” Believably, it is Soun who ratified his appointment and turbaned him but there is no reigning Soun of Ogbomosoland at present. Perhaps a situation like this is unprecedented and whether it is captured or not in the law book is uncertain.
For now however, the brawl persists.