The Muslim community in Egbaland, Abeokuta, Ogun state capital, is enmeshed in crisis following the suspension of the grand Chief Imam, Sheik Sa’dallah Bamgbola.
Some Egba Muslim leaders, led by the former Military Administrator of Bauchi State, Navy Captain Rasheed Raji (rtd.), had on Monday announced the suspension of the Chief Imam over alleged “high handedness, administrative exclusivity, mishandling of funds and conflicting of interest between his position as the Chief Imam and membership of another association.”
The octogenarian Chief Imam was inaugurated in July, 2020 after the demise of the former Chief Imam of Egbaland, Alhaji Liadi Orunsolu.
At an extra ordinary meeting of the executive committee of the Egba Muslim Community, which took place at Raji’s residence, Abeokuta, the leaders announced his suspension and named the Olori Ratibi of Egbaland, Alhaji Daud Durojaye Afuwape, in acting capacity.
But on Tuesday, the three principal Chief Imams who make up the other three sections of Egbaland, rejected the suspension of the grand Chief Imam and described it as an “embarrassment to the Islamic religion and an act capable of causing religious war in the town”.
While condemning the suspension, the Imam said only the council of Islamic clerics in the town has the power to appoint or suspend the Chief Imam.
The Imams are: the Chief Imam of Oke Ona, Alhaji Mulimudeen Nasirudeen, Chief Imam of Gbagura, Prof. Kamarudeen Balogun, and the Chief Imam of Owu, Alhaji Kehinde Suliamon.
Speaking on behalf of the Muslim community after a meeting at Kobiti Central mosque in Abeokuta on Tuesday, the Chief Imam of Gbagura, Prof. Kamarudeen Balogun, said the suspension of the grand Chief Imam was null and void because it did not follow the stipulated process of appointment and removal of Imams in the land.
Balogun said the suspension was ill conceived and capable causing a religious war in the town.
He insisted that the four sections that make up Egbaland must be carried along in the appointment or suspension of the Chief Imam.
“We, the Chief Imam of Oke Ona, Alhaji Mulimudeen Nasirudeen, Chief Imam of Gbagura, Prof Kamarudeen Balogun and the Chief Imam of Owu, Alhaji Kehinde Suliamon on behalf on behalf of all Egba Muslims hereby pass a vote of confidence on the Chief Imam of Egbaland, Alhaji Alade Bamgbola as the only custodian of Islamic religion in Egbaland.
“We unequivocally condemn the action of the selected Chiefs in Egbaland to suspend the Chief Imam of Egbaland without proper consultations with all the Imams in all the sections of Egbaland.
“The selected Egba chiefs, led by Navy Captain Rasheed Raji has no power to suspend the grand Chief Imam of Egbaland who was unanimously appointed by all custodians of Islamic religion in Egbaland.
“The Chief Imam of Egbaland, Alhaji Bamgbola should be virtue of all the principal Imams in Egbaland and by virtue of the position that you have taken here, the Imams and Alfas to continue carry out all the spiritual functions of the Islamic region without any hindrance”.
The clerics also announced the suspension of the Egba Chiefs who took part in the process.
“We hereby affirm and confirm that those who have suspended the Chief Imam are hereby suspended themselves.”
“They are: Baba Adinni, Navy Captain Rasheed Raji, Chief Abdulquadri Orunsolu, Seriki Egba, Chief Ibrahim Abudulateef Ayoola, Baba Isale Egba, Alhaji Usman Akanbi and Bada Egbaland, Chief Sherifdeen Ogunrinola, the Olori Ratibi, Durojaiye Afuape.
“Because they have done this without taking us along that is why we are dissociating ourselves from their decision and they are hereby suspended until further notice”, the clerics said.