Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola has been asked to intervene in the looming religious crisis over the appointment of the chief imam of Iwo Central Mosque.
The mosque’s board had appointed a chief imam, but the move infuriated some Muslims in the community who staged a protest against it on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters, a community leader, Grand Chief Abiola Ogundokun, accused the traditional ruler of
Iwo land, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi for orchestrating the protest and called on Governor Oyetola to enter urgently.
Ogundokun, chairman of the Iwo Central Mosque board, said the board has the right to appoint the chief imam, saying the Oluwo-appointed chief imam of Iwo does not have the requirements for leading Islamic prayer due to his poor health.
He said Iwo was in trouble and the state government’s silence was not helping matters. Ogundokun said Oba Akanbi does not have the power to appoint the chief imam for the mosque, adding that “he (Oba Akanbi) is not the Oba of Islam but the Oba of city”.
Ogundokun further stated, “We were legally appointed to the board and have been leading it for years. The only problem we have is the Oba (Akanbi) who has been imposed on the community who don’t want to see anyone they don’t like. Because he doesn’t want to see my face, he used everything to create trouble.
“The protest was sponsored by Oluwo and his brother from the same complex who is the leader of the Ta’awun Muslim Society.
“I was appointed chairman of the board of directors when the former chairman, the late Oluwo, passed away. We held meetings and no one challenged us. Oluwo took the law into its own hands, doing everything to destroy the central mosque, removing people from their rightful positions.
“Because we don’t want violence, we went to court and won about five cases against him.
“Oluwo has no right to name anyone because the mosque does not belong to him. He has no right to appoint anyone to an Islamic post. We challenged that in law and we won. He keeps doing the same thing. They made efforts to register another board, but the law does not allow it. Having failed to do so, what they want to do now is create trouble.
“We have acted in accordance with the rule of law since the court handed down the judgement. The constitution gave us power, the court validated the constitution. They should go to court and challenge our nomination like we challenged them in court. They don’t have to create unnecessary problems in the community. God has always won them. We won all the cases in court.
“According to the rules of the Holy Quran, the person he appointed without consultation to be the Imam does not have the required qualification according to Islamic law. We don’t want to cause violence and that’s why we kept silent. What we are saying is that Oluwo should take care of his palate. He is not the Oba of Islam; he is Oba of the city.
“The government should stand up. Iwo is in trouble. I can’t believe the government is even happy with the experience of Oluwo fighting against everyone. The state government should try to wake up and do something.
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, has declared that he has the right to appoint the Chief Imam of Iwo Central Mosque in Osun State.
Speaking through his press secretary, Alli Ibraheem, Oluwo argued that it was a mistake for the mosque’s BOT to appoint a new imam when there was no Oluwo.
He said, “For about ten years before the incumbent Oluwo of Iwo was enthroned, the stool was vacant. When the last chief imam died, there was no Oluwo. So they shouldn’t have appointed another Chief Imaam because it was Oluwo’s right to appoint the Chief Imaam. If there is no Oluwo and the position of Chief Imaam is vacant, there can never be a Chief Imaam appointment even if it takes 100 years. It is only until a new Oluwo is enthroned before the new Oluwo can appoint another Chief Imaam. It is Oluwo’s duty to appoint the Chief Imam and he appointed Sheikh Abdulfatahi Olododo.
But a copy of the judgment rendered by Judge JO Ogunleye on November 4, 2020, ruled that “the defendant (incorporated trustees of Iwo Central Mosque) is the holder in trust, the manager of all the properties and affairs of the mosque , and any selection and appointment of the Chief Imam and/or any other chieftaincy hierarchy leading up to the Chief Imam without the consent and approval of the accused in accordance with his constitution is null and void ab initiation.
Ogundokun said until another court overturns the decision, he remains the chairman of the board and the board has the power to appoint any member to Iwo Central Mosque.
However, the press secretary, Ibraheem denied knowing about the court order that would have retained Oluwo saying, “We are not aware of any court judgment preventing Oluwo from appointing the Chief Imam.”