SACKED: Community’s Chief Imam removed
The Chief Imam of Ikare Akoko, Ondo state, Sheikh Abubakar Muhammed, has been removed.
Justifying the removal, according tribuneonline.com, the Olukare of Ikare Akoko, Oba Akadiri Momoh IV, hinged his decision to approve the removal of the Chief Imam of Ikare Akoko, Sheikh Abubakar Muhammed, on the need to maintain peace and tranquillity in the ancient town.
The Olukare made this disclosure during a press parley with newsmen in his palace at Ikare Akoko and said the call for the removal of the spiritual head was not unconnected with the decision of the Ondo State Government to implement the Justice Ajana Chieftaincy Report which split Ikare into two distinct towns.
According to the monarch, the Ikare Muslim Council, the Ikare Council of Chiefs and the entire Ikare people concluded that the best step is to abstain from any act and action that can distript the peace enjoyed by the people of the town by avoiding any communal clash.
”I approved and support the sack of the former Chief Imam not because of hatred of personal gains. He is my in-law and has nothing against him.
“But I did what I have done to ensure we have peace in Ikare land and Allah has assisted us to make sure we have peace in Ikare. I am solidly behind the decision taken by the Muslim Council and the entire Ikare people”.
But the Chief Imam, Sheikh Muhammed who maintained that he remained the Chief Imam of the town, said the development is a creation of some elements within the town who are against the policies of the state government, following the upgrade of Owa-Ale as grade A monarch.
He said ” I was turbanned some 27 years ago and we have been living in peace, but I was surprised with the turn of events following the recognition of Owa-Ale as first class monarch. This should not cause division between the two sides as the town still remains one.
“We have some towns with two or three traditional rulers but with one chief Imam, and this should not be an issue to divide us and religion and religious leaders should not be dragged into this.
“This is purely against government policies and at the appropriate time, the issue will be resolved as the mosque had been closed by the state government to avoid breakdown of law and order”
However, a member of the Ikare Muslim Council, Chief Ekunnusi Muhammed Liadi, maintained that the removal of Abbas as the Chief Imam of Ikare was taken as a result of pressures from the people of Ikare Akoko who felt since the town has been split into two distinct communities, people, irrespective of religion or political affiliations should be manning the affairs of their own communities.
Liadi said “Kabiyesi Olukare is a peace-loving man and easy going person and would not want his community to be set on fire.
“So, when the people were troubling him, pressurising him, the chiefs, women, youths and chiefs that since the community has been divided into two and the Chief Imam happen to be from Iyometa, he should go to Iyometa to be their Chief Imam.
“If he continues to be the Chief Imam of Ikare, anything can happen, so the best thing for him is to go to his town to be the Chief Imam there.
“We told him this, he refused, we wrote a letter to him, he will not agree with us, so the entire Ikare, with the backing of the Olukare had to sack him.
This is not a religious issue. It is a community affair because when the government divided the town into two, it did not say it divided Muslims or Christians, it was the town that was divided “.
Similarly, the Elemeje of Okela, Ikado Quarters, Chief Abu Mustapha Adeboye while corroborating the position of the Olukare said since Abbas is from Iyometa, he should be the Chief Imam there and not the Chief Imam in Ikare.
“This is not a crisis but a celebration galore for the people of Ikare because Iyometa has been giving us sleepless nights but this time around, having been carved out, the remaining four quarters in Ikare decided to celebrate because we have agreed that the peace that eluded us for many years has returned.
“The former Chief Imam is from another jurisdiction, so we cannot allow him to continue here, Ikare now like Owo where we have the Olowo of Owo and the Ojomoluda of Ijebu Owo, where we also have the Chief Imam of Owo and the Chief Imam of Ijebu Owo.
“In Ikare too we have the Olukare of Ikare Akoko and we should also have the Chief Imam of Ikare while there is the Owa Ale of Iyometa Ikare, it is also most appropriate to have the Chief Imam of Iyometa Ikare Akoko.”