Exploiting women’s emotional vulnerabilities
Extremists’ regard for the dignity of women is virtually nil. Their treatment of women leaves much to be desired, thereby giving Islam a bad name – by damaging Its image as well the reputation of Muslims regarding the status of women. Extremists treat women like rags. like Boko Haram terrorists, they abduct, kidnap and rape women with reckless abandon. Extremists rob women of dowry, trick them into shoddy and shady marriages, marry innocent young ladies without parents’ consent, manipulate family introduction or engagement and armtwist the unsuspecting and unprepared bride’s parents into accepting that they have summarily married out their precious daughters. Extremists get married without a means of sustenance and engage women with no vocation or functional education, only to later maltreat, divorce and dump them at will, leaving them with no vocation or skill to fall back upon. Some extremists claim to have no obligation to treat their wife if she falls sick. Extremists abuse polygamy by getting married to multiple wives without meeting the essential conditions of Islam regarding their welfare – housing, clothing, feeding and other essential needs
Consequently, extremists gift to Islam countless number of unskilled divorcees, who had hitherto been deprived of functional education. Extremists enduring legacies to the Ummah include producing an intimidating population of young divorcees with ‘fatherless’ children who have inadvertently become victims of broken homes, deprived of either the mother’s and compassion or the father’s tutelage and guidance.
Unfortunately, since the extremists remain unorganised under the mantra of #LaJamaa’h, it becomes pretty difficult to muster resources and the wherewithal to cater for the hapless divorcees and the vulnerable widows who are surviving at the mercy of non-Muslims who are better organised with huge resources.
Bastardising Salafi Manhaj
While Salafi means nobility and pride for every Muslim because it represents our golden era, the modern day ‘salafs’ (neo-salafis) erroneously believe that returning to what the salafs were upon, implies becoming their “carbon copy” and adding ‘as-salafiy’ to their names on social media. But in the words of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, “the essence of being a Salafi simply means imbibing and replicating their manhaj and spirit in understanding, as well as replicating their manners and relationships with deen and life”.
Extremists are mannerless
One major attribute of the extremists is lacking in manners of approach to Dawah, bullying the youths and insulting the elderly, even as they commit excesses in practically everything they do, including their approaches to correcting people’s mistakes. Extremists hardly recognise or respect constituted authority, be it an Imam, a scholar, chairman of Muslim communities or the Sultan. They abuse them and call them names, harping on issues of differences of opinion to rubbish the efforts of the illustrious sons of Islam.
Extremists give little regards to intellectualism of notable and noble scholars like Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi, Sheikh Bilal Al Asrau, Sheikh DhikruLlah Shafii’, Sheikh Imran Eleha, Abu Mazeedatulkhayr bn Sa’eed, Ibn Taofeeq AbdulAzeez, Nawawi Sanni amongst others; but regale in cut-and-paste fataawa, irrespective of their relativity, timeliness and geographical relevance. Extremists prefer to follow those with little or no Islamic certification or expertise on technical issues of religion while condemning real and renowned scholars of Islam, pronouncing them as ‘on falsehood’.
Against the teachings of Islam and the warning of Prophet Muhammad, the so-called Dawah of the mannerless extremists focusses mainly on exposing the faults of others, classifying Muslims into Fasiq, Ahlul Bidia’ (innovators),…. while ignoring the nominal Muslims and the non-Muslims to rot in ignorance.
Of course, it goes without saying that extremists are known for using false identities and elusive names to propagate deceptive and divisive messages, particularly on social media.
People must be corrected with decorum and good manners as directed by the Qur’an. The reflection of this came to the fore in the altercations between a section of neo-Salafi group in Lagos and the Markazas this year (2020) as they both took to the social media when the former made frantic efforts to correct the latter concerning the Mudir, Sheikh Habeeb Al Ilory’s consistent attacks of Sahih Bukhari and its author – Imam Bukhari. The two groups practically threw caution to the wind as they satirised and made jest of each other.
But why will any sane daiyah mock, curse, abuse and speak arrogantly in an attempt to correct someone, especially an elderly person? Even in dealing with unbelievers, Allah instructs:
“And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.” (Suratul An Am, 108).
Commenting on the ill-mannered way of correcting the Mudir Markaz, Kunle Gbolahan Al Havardee observed thus: “We the Ahlus Sunnah have always warned these boys, they need to learn manners first. Has any Marakiza or Sufi or Tijaniya done any public walimah, or disgraced anyone on this. Even when a close ally of one of salafi in Ibadan had a scandal of fornication in Ibadan some years ago. Was it a topic for the Sufi or the Tijaniyah to rubbish the people of the Salafi or Sunnah as a whole?
“The reason I brought it up is because, Salafis like to ruthlessly and unmannerly address issues of other people while they portray themselves as the best. No one is saying you should not correct people, but if others correct the Salafis unmannerly the way they do to others, things would have gone bad for the Al Sunnah generally because the self acclaimed Salafis keep disgracing the Sunnah and the Ummah as a whole.
“Salafis themselves have many problems locally and internationally, even among their salafi scholars. They have the highest record of litigation cases. So it is not a surprise we see them act…. unmannerly against other Muslims.
“I do not support public abuse, arrogance, disparaging and uncultured behavior while correcting people like the unmanarred salafis are doing and some other confused people who claim being Al Sunnah and they refer to every Sufi and Tijaniyah as elebo (idol worshipper), raining curses on them.
“Correcting people is not for everybody. The knowledgeable elders should be the one handling this kind of sensitive issue with care not just anybody who has some few books to use as background for facebook live video and…”
Gbolahan maintained that we all need each others as Muslims… “No one is perfect. Allah would have made us all as Al Sunnah or Sufi or Salafi or Tijaniyah or Qodiriyah or Tabligh if He wished. He created us to be diversed for the reasons best to Him. We need to focus on many things that unite us as Muslims. We need each other. We must educate ourselves with manners. We are all sinners. We are all imperfect, no group is bigger than correction and education, he advised.
In the same vein, on a radio program, Shari’atul Islam, Dr Murtada Ibiyemi As-Sunuusi observed that this holier than thou attitude and the sanctimonious attempt to be more Muslim than Muhammad or to be more Sunnatic than the Prophet remains the root cause of frictions among the exuberant Muslims.
“These days, we have seen a clique of young minds who lay claim to be more pure and more superior as Believers. They attempt to personalise Sunnah instead of Islam. They do call themselves Ahlul-Sunnah, As Sunniy, Salafiy, Serious Salafiy etc while they call others Ahlul Bidia. We now have Ahlul Sunnah vs Real Ahlul Sunnah, Salafi vs Serious Salafi, Salafi vs Serious, Serious Salafi, Da’wah Link vs Da’wah Link Refutations. They accuse people of hizbiyya and in the process create greater and closer hizb among themselves, listening only to the “Senior Scholars of Sunnah”, thereby importing the politics in the Arab nations into our midst in their quest to outdo one another in getting more power, more influence or more subvention (money) from the Arab world.
“We must all know that Islam builds, it doesn’t destroy. We must neither substitute Islam with Sunnah nor Salafi with Muslims. Sunnah is a subset of Islam. Prophet Muhammads brought Islam, Sunnah is how he practised Islam. Let’s not create another phenomenon of ‘Sunnah’ over Islam. Hence, you see some people creating divisions in Islam by calling themselves Ahlul Sunnah rather than call themselves Muslims. We must not attrbute the entire Islam to Muhammad but to Allah. Islam is not Muhammadanism just as Muslims are not Muhammadans.. It is not Muhammad that perfected Islam, it is Allah. Hence, Allah declared in the Qur’an chapter 5:2 – “This day, I have perfected for you your religion, and I have perfected My favours on you, and I am pleased with Islam as your religion”
Sheikh As-Sunuusi noted that Prophet Muhammad had existed as a human being for 40 years before he became a Prophet, saying, life comes before the Deen, and it’s the Deen that teaches man about gettimg closer to him and maintaining perfect relationship with Allah, the Creator as well as His creatures: “There is no way we can all think the same way and belong to one association. We are all Muslims, we are all Ahlul Sunnah, we are all Salafis, the difference is that we embrace Islam and follow its ordinances according to our varying capacities and capabilities – a fact recognised by Prophet Muhammad when he said TaquLlaaha mastata’tum – fear Allah according to your capacity”, Sheikh Ibiyemi said.
Mallam Nawawi Sanni equally noted that:
“Those who fail to learn to live peacefully with fellow Muslims eventually find it difficult to live peaceful amongst themselves until they broke into conflicting tendencies with “holier than thou” appellations. The Serious Serious Salafi (3S- also known as Extreme Salafi) criticise the Serious Salafi (2S)as being ‘off the manhaj’ while the Super Salafi (السوبر سلفي) (SS) criticize them all. The novice claims that his new appellation of graduating to a Serious Salafi (2S) is gleaned from its usage by Sh. Bakr Abu Zaid but he is not aware that Sh. Rabiu Madkhali, the doyenne of their divisive Manhaj, considered Sh. Bakr Abu Zaid as Unserious Salafi.”
The Way Out: Let us be Muslims
Extremism is in every clime, religion and ideology. The world has witnessed anti-Semitism of Adolf Hitler and fascism of Benito Mussolini of Italy, Apartheid regime of South Africa and the Israeli racism in Palestine. We have also witnessed the extremism of the Irish Republican Army, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, White supremacists in Europe and America, Boko Haram in Nigeria, ISWAP in West Africa, Al Qaeda in Middle-East and Asia; but the way out of the contemporary extremism in Islam is for the Muslims to reclaim their Islam from the impostors who pose to deport them from their original home.
Azeez Lukman Adebayo wondered why those who proudly call themselves “Salafees will label others hozbi or elegbe. All we are saying is the unity of the Muslims throughout the globe and to face the common enemies. The sincerity of the Da’wah is what Allah needs from us not dubious claims and labelling of other Muslims because of differences in jurisprudence”.
Equally perturbed by this development is Dr Sheriff Aderigbe who asserted that misapplication of subtle differences in the shade of meaning and expression remains the major cause of extremism. “This is when overzealous youths either read dogmatically or refuse to accept the explanation of experts on issues. This is a situation where everybody becomes a “scholar” because he has access to texts or refusal to apply a verdict to time or space differential, or geographical peculiarities.
Equally Maintaining that differences of opinion in jurisprudential issues should not affect cooperation with both Muslims and non-Muslims,Areribigbe said in a post entitled: Un-nuanced proclamations, Amalgamation and other Matters that: “Un-nuanced reading and application of the scriptural, and even non-scriptural texts leads to extremism and fractionalization. When taken out of their proper contexts and usage, texts and maxims become toxic, and are warped to devastating effect.
“An example is the, “do not sit and learn with an innovator” mantra that is being used to bludgeon the ranks of Muslims today. Scarily, one has seen people asking whether Siddeeq Minshaawee, the famous reciter, is a Salafee, to determine whether they can listen to his recitation!
Aderigbe stressed that Muslims, irrespective of affiliations can work in Da’wah with another Muslim to fulfill shared Islaamic goals, and/or defend against a common enemy, just as he can cooperate with Christians and Jews and “sit together” to present a common front against Atheism.
According to him, “Situational differences on particular instances will be a matter of allowable difference of opinion among the scholars of that community. Without this simple, straightforward position of the Sharee’ah, there will be no Islaamic Fiqh Academies and no real Muslim institutions.
“That is why Shaykh Taqee Uthmaanee, a Soofee Deobandee and one of the Ummah’s top scholars, was deputy to Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd in the Fiqh Academy of Muslim World League MWL, and Shaykh Bin Baaz sat in the Majma Fiqh al-Islaamee with Shaykh Gumee, who is no Salafee by the new standards!
“Anything else, you will just have a bunch of sectarians living in their little bubbles destroying the Ummahs few institutions and looking for ways to further divide themselves”, Aderibigbe submitted.
Corroborating Aderigbe’s position, Sheikh Ibn Taofeeq AbdulAzeez noted that: It is obvious that some subsidiary absract aqeedah issues are a tool used nowadays to blackmail fellow Muslims in the name of the aqeedah of the salaf.
“The aqeedah of the salaf is the consensus of the salaf in aqeedah; while the manhaj is equally their consensus.
“It is preposterous to single out an opinion from among the salaf as the “salafi aqeedah or salafi manhaj”; and that is the genesis of the continuous wrangling among those who claim Salafiyyah”.
In the same vein, the foremost liberal scholar, Prof. Yusuf Al Qaradawi who the extremists love to hate with passion, because of his usual progressive stance against blind followership (taqlid) advised thus:
“Religion is Good Advise: Facilitate (glad tiding), don’t Alienate: In an era where trials are so much, and the one who clinches to his religion becomes like someone holding the embers, It becomes our duty to help people to be religious, not to alienate them from religion. We know that stiffening or hardlining alienates, while facilitation simplifies and brings religion closer (to the people).”
Al Qaradawi stressed the need to resist the unIslamic and unnatural insistence on holding on to a single opinion against many other valid opinions. This he said is often at the detriment of Islam:
“It is not the right of anyone irrespective of his attainment (in knowledge) to claim that he is the only one on truth and that others are astray. The one who holds on to this ascribes to himself an ‘infallible prophet’ and takes his words as revelation yet the salaf and khalaf are unanimous on the fact that everyone can have his words either taken or rejected except that of the Noble Messenger – may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him,” he said.
We are all Asha’irah, we are all Ahlul Sunnah
Scholars of Islam have espoused that it is wrong to ‘excommunicate’ anyone from Islam, insisting that the Ummah is Asha’irah. They posited that aside the Shia’ sect, most Muslims living on earth today belong to the Ash’ari School.
“The Asha’irah are the Imams of the distinguished figures of guidance among the scholars of the Muslims, whose knowledge has filled the world from east to west, and whom people have unanimously concurred upon their excellence, scholarship, and religiousness.
“They include the first rank of Sunni scholars and the most brilliant of their luminaries, who stood in the face of the excesses committed by the Mu’tazilites, and who constitute whole sections of the foremost Imams of Hadith, Sacred Law, Qur’anic exegesis.
“The master of Qur’anic exegesis and Kalaam, Imam ar-Razi (d. 606/1210), author of “al-Tafsir al-Kabir, was Ash’ari.
“The master of Qur’anic exegesis and master in Hadith, Imam ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373), author of “al-Tafsir al-Qur’an al-Ad’him’ and al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah’, was Ash’ari.
“Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani (d. 852/1449), the mentor of Hadith scholars and author of the book “Fath al-Bari bi sharh Sahih al-Bukhari”, which not a single Islamic scholar can dispense with, was Ash’ari.
“The Shaykh of the scholars of Sunni Islam, Imam an-Nawawi (d. 676/1277), author of “Sharh Sahih Muslim” and many other famous works, was Ash’ari.
“The master of Qur’anic exegesis, Imam al-Qurtubi (d. 671/1273), author of “al-Jami’ li Ahkan al-Qur’an”, was Ash’ari.
“Shaykh al-Islam ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974/1567), who wrote “al-Zawajir ‘an iqtiraf al-kaba’ir”, was Ash’ari.
“The Shaykh of Sacred Law and Hadith, the conclusive definitive Zakariyya al-Ansari (d. 926/1520), was Ash’ari.
“The Ahlus Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah are the true followers of the Prophet and his Family and Companions followed by those who trod their path for the last 1400 years. It is in summary the followers of Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari and Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi رضي الله عنهما in Aqeedah, and this group is represented by the adherents of one of the four schools – Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali today. This is the group which has had the largest following throughout Islamic history as-Sawad al-Ad’ham) as confirmed by the Qur’anic and Hadith based evidence and it will remain dominant until the Hour is established, In Sha Allah”.
We must all shun extremism and distractions
Hence, it is incumbent on all of us to shun extremism, if what is referred to as “defending the Religion of Allah” involves: causing rifts among the Muslims, casting Muslims who do not commit major sins out of Islam because of disagreements on jurisprudential matters, defending the evils and tyranny of murderous regimes, and working against all efforts at uniting the Ummah upon common purpose; then, no sane Muslim must identify with such unscrupulous da’wah group or methodology.
No doubt, it is quite natural with the path of truth to have distractions that will continue to dot the path of rectitude and try to be the clog in the wheel of progress; it is equally certain that wrong path and those being sponsored to distabilise Islam from within will naturally wither away with time.
The only solution is for those who truly believe in the veracity of their mission and armed with sincerity of purpose, to tenacious commit to it, engage in ceaseless efforts and refuse to be distracted by needless distractions.
Essential advise to Islamic workers
My advise to the Muslim activists and Islamic organisations – MSSN, TMC, AUD, Da’wah Front, Da’wah Academy, NACOMYO, The Companions, The Criterion, Al Mu’minaat, Ta’awun, NASFAT, QAREEB, Tabligh, Izharul Haq, ACADIP etc – is that they must keep working cceaselesly.
Without doubt, the progress of Islamic work had been steady before the emergence of the distractions of the extremists. Islamic organisations had in the past, under serene and harmonious environment, played complementary roles without skirmishes, acrimony and enemity. And with mutual rivalry, NASFAT and Ansar-Ud-Deen have already established universities. Ta’awun has birthed a College of Education and a chain of orphanages just as FOMWAN with many institutions. TMC has founded microfinance bank, Hajj Mabrur, Zakat and Sadaqah Foundation, Vanguards Academy amongst others. Tabligh remains in the forefront of winning souls and breeding obedient servants of Allah into the fold. Izharul Haq, ACADIP and the host of comparative religion experts should persists in liberating the vulnerable minds and the weak souls from the predators who had been luring them away with corrosive evangelism. NASFAT, QAREEB with other Asalatu groups should keep engaging our’ minds and perrmanently halt the exit of the elites and the socialites from the fold. MSSN has been unrelenting in doing what it knows how to do best – producing societal leaders. It should therefore remain focussed at producing more of the Adegbites, Oloyedes, El Rufais, Bugajes, Hadiza Bala Usmans, Sadiya Umar Farouks etc for the Ummah. MURIC should keep defending our rights and let the Companions, the Criterion, NASFAT, QAREEB, TMC, Da’wah Front, Da’watul Haq, Izharul Haq, ACADIP et al keep positioning and making us socially relevant, politically dominant, economically viable and financially solvent amidst the varying sub-cultures and competing interests within the polity.
Wither the Hell hawkers,
In all of the outlined commendable efforts, wither the Hell hawkers? The fault finders and the acclaimed Saved Sect are truly missing in action, except in the realm of name calling, rancour spreading and disunity planting. Has time therefore not come for the serious minded Muslims to remain focussed and recognise as enemies of progress, the divisive elements who have consistently resisted all forms of cooperation and unification among Muslims? Shouldn’t they redouble their energies, refocuss their objectives and rechannel their resources to the more progressive and profitable endeavors before the extremists unwittingly get them drifted?
Let’s remember that Allah (SWT) has united our hearts on a single cord (3:102), just as He has made us (Muslims) as a single community (22:92). We are not only a balanced Ummah (2:143), we have equally been warned against disputations and divisions thus:
وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَا تَنَٰزَعُوا۟ فَتَفْشَلُوا۟ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْۖ وَٱصْبِرُوٓا۟ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ
“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not be disunited (among yourselves) else you lose courage and (then) your strength would depart you; and be patient. Indeed Allah is with the patient”. – Al Anfal 8:46.
As we earnestly hope that the divisionists repent and change their ways for good, it is our prayer that Allah exposes and humiliates those who consciously strive to disunite the Ummah and distabilise it from within. May the Lord of Recompense reward in full measure, those who feed fat on the divisions and the disunity among the Muslims. May He unite the rank of the Muslims on truth and grant us the best in this world and the hereafter.
Elder Yinka Salaam writes from Osogbo, Southwest Nigeria
Osun’s maladministration: When will Dr. Deji Adeleke address that press conference? By Ismail Omipidan
*Osun’s maladministration: When will Dr. Deji Adeleke address that press conference?*
*By Ismail Omipidan*
The popular saying, ‘Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver’ appears apt in situating the promise made in July last year by a business mogul and elder brother of current Osun Governor, Dr. Deji Adeleke, that he would be the first to address the press if his brother, Ademola Adeleke, derails in the administration of the state.
Ordinarily, if this unprovoked, unsolicited and solemn promise was made at any of the political gatherings, I probably would not have bothered to keep tab on it, let alone bring it to the knowledge of the public. But because it was made in an academic environment that does not tolerate frivolous claims, I feel duty bound to take Dr. Deji Adeleke to task on this matter. And if after today, he is unable to provide any credible and verifiable evidence as to why he is yet to address the press, I will never take him seriously again on any serious state matter.
I will also mobilise every right-thinking and discerning Osun citizen, every lover of liberty, democracy and free speech, every well wisher for Osun’s posterity, never to trust and believe Dr. Deji Adeleke again.
But if he decides to justify his criminal silence over the way Osun is currently being run and insist that the governor, his younger brother, is doing well, I would excuse him, since, like me, he is equally entitled to his opinion. I will only remind him that while comments are free, facts are indeed sacred.
To move forward, we must remind ourselves where we are coming from. It is time to think beyond party lines, and think Osun first, if indeed we are desirous of having a changed society.
I believe that it is not too late for Dr. Deji Adeleke to prevail on his brother to reconsider some of his administration’s bad policies and missteps that have become challenges to Osun and its people.
One of the challenges the State appears to be grappling with is the issue of Osun’s share of the Federal Government palliatives, which I addressed in my interview on Monday. After the interview went viral, instead of addressing the issues raised, the governor’s spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, and some of his media handlers resorted to personal attacks. In fact, one of them called me a foreigner, simply because I was born in Benue State and had to work in the north before I was invited by my Principal, Adegboyega Oyetola, to join his team in 2019. Well, I am proud of my birth place, just as I am equally proud of my Ila Orangun origin.
In the interview under reference, I queried why Osun remains the only State in the South West that has not allowed the FG palliatives to impact on the people of the State, including the workers.
Interestingly, it took them several months after pocketing the funds before they admitted that they even received any fund. At the “Ipade Imole” held last month, the governor disclosed that the N2billion palliative fund received from the Federal Government would be spent on three projects, namely the purchase of additional buses to complement the buses in the pool of the state, the rehabilitation of health centres in the state and the purchase of food items for distribution to the people of the state. The government made it emphatically clear that there would not be any addition to workers’ salaries.
But after my Monday interview, I was embarrassingly surprised to wake up to a circular this morning, signed by Sunday Olugbenga Fadele, a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Human Resources and Capacity Building. He revealed that workers in the service of the state would get a N15,000 wage award while pensioners would receive N10,000 and that the wage award will run for six months, beginning from the month of December. This is a welcome development and this is what we have been asking them to do since August this year.
However, I have a push back. Why give approval on November 28 and then set effective date in December? If the money is available, why the delay in disbursement? Again, at what point did the government change its mind? This is what I said about telling lies in public and political communications. For me, this latest summersault appears to vindicate my position on Monday that Osun workers are not smiling. I am sure they’ll wish for a better deal than what it is getting from the dancing and singing Governor, who unfortunately was not around on Monday to show the people of the state what he knows how to do best.
Well, as Osun citizens, whether you are for the PDP or APC, it is in our collective interest for the government to succeed. God forbid, if it fails, we will all pay dearly for it. Our state will pay for it and our children will never forgive Dr. Deji Adeleke and all those who collaborated to unleash an adult who had little or no working experience, on us in Osun to manage our affairs.
Osun must survive beyond APC and PDP, and we all must play our part if we truly want Osun to survive.
Omipidan writes from Abuja.
Osun: Adeleke’s government and reign of unchecked impunity By Waheed Adekunle
Saying impunity has become pervasive in Osun, a state once known as ‘State of the Virtuous’ is to say the least of the reigning illegality, unlawfulness and flagrant disobedience to the rule of law in the last one year of the current administration of Governor Ademola Adeleke.
In what appears ridiculous, appalling, nauseating, embarrassing and repulsive, the appointment, confirmation and installation of the card-carrying member and die-hard loyalist of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Chairman of the state electoral umpire – Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC) by Governor Adeleke led-government in the state had cleared all doubt that the state government is poised to get anything done, regardless of the illegality attached to it.
There’s no doubting the fact that the incumbent government has been glowing and blossoming in the pool of impunity, selfishly engraved in carte blanche since its inception in November last year.
A critical understanding of the happenings within the government circle since the emergence of Governor Adeleke would clear any sense of doubt and give an insight into the manifestation of the unchecked impunity that has become the order-of-the-day
The leadership style of the Governor as manifested in his inward and outward dispositions to governance is a pointer to the reign of impunity, abuse of power and flagrant disobedience to the rule of law overtime.
The inherent era of impunity that has become a ‘norm’ within the political circle and ruling class in the state, is perceived by many as a political maladroitness, repugnant and horrendous – far from logic, rational thinking and basic reasoning.
The menace which is now a ‘cancerous tumour’ to socio-economic growth and development of the state largely draws public attention when the Governor arbitrarily announced the dissolution of the members of the State Statutory Commissions and subsequently inaugurated his own people for same positions.
Starting on a revenge voyage and vengeful mission, the administration had left no one in doubt, the extent of its imminent expedition and total departure from the existing blueprint propounded by the successive governments; the decision, that is not only illogical or irrational but one far from proper reasoning and the propensities have now become a monster difficult to uproot.
Recall that the Adeleke’s government began with the declaration of diabolical Executive Orders targeted at suppressing the system, and permanently silencing the roared voices of the notable individuals perceived to serve as a clog in the wheel of its self-serving motives.
From the purposeless obnoxious Executive Orders to palpable malfeasance and ill-heartedness vis-a-vis its attendant ubiquitous display of impunity, the wheel of the state has been drifting off in retrogressive backwardness in the last twelve months.
It is on record that the Adeleke’s administration, having unlawfully distilled, suspended and ultimately dissolved the University of Ilesa Governing Council constituted by his predecessor, still went ahead to constitute a Review Committee with a view to unraveling what was perceived hidden in the conduct of the disbanded Council.
Though, the Adeleke’s reasons for the dissolution of the existing Governing Council as well as his self-serving conviction for constituting his own is not only untenable but amounts to unlawfulness and flagrant display of impunity going by the way and manner at which the exercise was carried out.
Governor Adeleke had erroneously appointed Professor Ashaolu Taiwo as the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Review Committee on Ilesa University to review the guidelines of the Implementation Committee constituted by his predecessor, the decision which was taken in contrary to the known extant laws governing Nigerian universities.
Sequel to this, precisely on 13th of May, 2023, the governor announced the appointment of the same Professor Ashaolu Taiwo as the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Ivory tower without any official report of the Ad-hoc Review Committee being chaired by the same person to have properly informed the citizens on their findings.
No doubt, the government’s manipulative gimmick was to ease out members of the Project Technical and Implementation Committee and install its stooges as done in the case of the VC.
However, the appointment of the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Review Committee as the Vice Chancellor was not only an aberration but an abuse of power and political summersault in the art of governance going by the extant laws.
Knowing full well that former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola inaugurated the Governing Council for Ilesa University, ably led by the former Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, before the expiration of his tenure, of what benefit was the disbandment of the Council and appointment of another set of people as members of the Council by the Adeleke’s government?
The funniest part of the government’s decision was noticed when the Review Committee failed to make public its report but instead, jostling for the leadership positions of the University as seen in the case of the appointed VC which is in contrary to the extant laws governing the affairs of the universities in Nigeria.
Constitutionally, it is crystal clear from the provisions of the law that the appointment of a Vice Chancellor is the statutory responsibility of the Governing Council of any university.
Section (4) stipulates that: ‘The Council shall select and appoint as the Vice Chancellor one candidate from among the three candidates recommended to it under section (3) of this section and thereafter inform the Visitor i.e (President or Governor as the case may be)’.
Once the appointment has been made, by the Council, it is legally binding and effective without any input from either the President in the case of Federal University or Governor in the case of State University. The latter has no direct role to play in such appointment. The law only requires the Governing Council to inform him (President or Governor) of the appointment after the Council has made the appointment. It is for him to approve. The law doesn’t require him to do anything about the appointment.
From the above constitutional analysis, it can be easily inferred that in whatever way, any appointment of a Vice Chancellor made by the Governor like in the case of Osun, without recourse to the Governing Council is a breach of the extant laws and therefore patently illegal, null and void.
Ditto the execution of some roads that were not budgeted for in the state by the incumbent government, contrary to the dictates of the State Public Procurement Laws, 2015.
It is on record that some of the roads that were embarked on by the Adeleke’s administration were not captured in the 2023 Budget and there was no budgetary allocation for such, infact, there was no any record of supplementary budget as at the time some of those projects were being executed not until recently after works had begun on many of the projects that the state government presented supplementary budget to the State Assembly and even attempted to call for the bidding of a contract that had long been awarded.
Section 23 (1) Governing Rules on Public Procurement of Osun State Public Procurement Laws states that: ” Subject to the exceptions under this Law, all procurements carried out by any procuring entity shall be governed by the following rules: (a) open competitive bidding using clearly defined criteria, and offering to every interested bidder with equal information and opportunities to offer the works, goods and services needed.”
Paragraph (b) states that: “promotion of competition, economy, efficiency and equal opportunities to all parties who are eligible and qualified to participate in public contracts.” Paragraph (c) of the same law stipulates that: “executing in an effective, efficient, transparent, timely, equitable manner to ensure accountability which shall conform with the provisions of this Law and its Regulations with the aim of achieving value for money and fullness of purpose.”
While Paragraph (g) states that: “procurement plans shall be supported by prior budgetary appropriation; no procurement proceeding shall be formalized until the procuring entity has ensured that funds are budgeted and appropriated to meet the obligation.”
Subsection (2) states that: “all regulations, procedures and timelines to be prescribed pursuant to this Law and specified by the Agency from time to time shall always conform to the provisions of paragraphs (a)-(g) of subsection (1).
Evidently, all the aforementioned constitutional provisions were flagrantly flouted as at the time many of the awarded roads were being executed. Even the Commissioner for Information, Kolapo Alimi alluded to this on a radio programme where he admitted due process infractions on the ongoing construction of Akoda-Ede Oke-Gada Ede to Ofatedo-Prime area Osogbo dual carriage road, but argued that the move was based on the urgency.
It is disheartening that many of the roads being constructed in Ede in particular and the state in general were neither taken through Due Process nor part of the existing Budget inherited by the Adeleke’s government.
The ongoing construction of the dual-carriage road from Akoda-Ede/Oke-Gada Ede/Ofatedo/Prime area in Osogbo was glaringly not part of the existing Budget and there was no instance where the government came up with supplementary budget or presented same to the House as at the time the project commenced.
Similarly, both Statutory and Non-statutory members of boards and commissions appointed under the administration of former Governor Oyetola were arbitrarily disbanded as new members were appointed by the Adeleke’s government.
The affected boards are: Osun State Civil Service Commission, Osun State Judicial Service Commission, Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, Osun State House of Assembly Commission, Uniosun, Unilesa, Ospoly, Oscotech, Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun, Ilesa College of Health Technology, Local Government Service Commission, Hospital Management Board, State Universal Basic Education Board, OSBC, Pilgrims Welfare Boards, Tescom, Osun Council for Art and Cultural, Osun Tourism Board, Osun Internal Revenue, Osun Water Corporation and Osun State Local Government Education Authority (LGEAs) respectively.
It is quite unfortunate that the state government could take its impunity too far to the extent of disbanding the Statutory Commissions contrary to Sections 197, 198 and 201 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to section 197 (1) (a-c) “there shall be established for each State of the Federation the following bodies, namely- State Civil Service Commission; State Independent Electoral Commission; and State Judicial Service Commission.”
Section 197 (3) states that: “the Governor shall conform with the provisions of section 14(4) of this Constitution in appointing chairmen and members of boards and governing bodies of statutory corporations and companies in which the government of the state has controlling shares or interests and councils of universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning.”
Also, Section 201 (1) stipulates that: “any person holding any of the offices to which this section applies shall not be removed from that office by the Governor of that State acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of the office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other case) or for misconduct.
Going by the aforementioned constitutional provisions, it is crystal clear that the state government erred in laws establishing the commissions.
Also, another bizarre move that appears irrational, illogical, overbearing and flagrant abuse of power, was the initial approval of the arbitrary suspension of the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adepele Ojo by the Governor over alleged gross misconduct and abuse of office last week before same was stylishly and technically reversed.
The law is clear as to the appointment, discipline and removal of any judge. No Governor under whatever guise has such power to fire any sitting judge let alone a Chief Judge of the State.
For instance, Chapter 7. Part 4. Section 292 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states: (1) a judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances:
a). In the case of
i). Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
ii). Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State, praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;
b). In any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.
Besides, separate Supreme Court verdicts had affirmed the NJC as the only body, constitutionally empowered to investigate and recommend sanctions for judges.
The questions to ask are, under which constitutional provisions did Governor Adeleke gave his consent to the suspension of the Chief Judge on the recommendation of the House of Assembly in the first place before its reversal? Was the Governor and his legal aides not aware of the provisions of sections 4, 5 and 6 that stated clearly the powers limitations of the Arms of Government to prevent undue interferences in whatever form? Is he (Governor) not in the know that the NJC is the only body that could investigate and recommend sanctions for judges as affirmed by the Supreme Court in the recent similar cases?
It is unambiguous that a state government can not discipline, sanction or sack the Chief Judge of a state without recourse to the NJC as erroneously and ignorantly done by the Adeleke led-government. And if Adeleke claimed to have informed the NJC, as he later claimed, why didn’t he wait for the body to investigate the accused before assenting to her removal in the first instance?
This action could be best described as a display of ineptitude, incompetence, ignorance and lack of administrative acumen and governance prowess to administer the affairs of a state like Osun.
Assuming without conceding that there was a dilemma in the case of the CJ, what is the responsibility of the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice who is the Chief Custodian of the Laws in the State? The dispositions afterwards showed that they lack the requisite knowlege as he himself authored an arrant statement justifying the illegal act previously taken by the government.
There is no doubt in the fact that the incumbent government has taken Osun to the map of ridicule in the comity of states due to the way and manner her affairs are being managed under the ‘Dancing Governor’ in the last one year.
The House of Assembly has become a ready-made instrument in the hand of the Executive as it is not only rubber-stamping whatever comes before it but giving illegal backing to whatever that comes from the executive in violation of the principles of separation of powers and doctrine of checks and balances.
One would wonder if the House comprising 26 members did not know the limitations of their constitutional powers to have hidden under oversight functions of interfering in the affairs of an independent arm (Judiciary).
Though the whole scenario is a ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ as it further exposes the government the more and shows clearly the rots in the system, it is impunity of the highest order being perpetrated by the ruling class.
If it were to be in a saner clime, government officials would have taken cognisance of the similar cases in Sokoto, Rivers and Kwara states respectively vis-a-vis the Supreme Court verdicts in that regards.
As much as discerning citizens are passionately disappointed at the current situation in the state, the respite is in the fact that no one can give what he or she doesn’t have let a lone a government that is erected on the pillar of hypocrisy, falsehood and propaganda.
The due process was deliberately jettisoned by the two arms to pave way for their sinister motives and hatchet jobs just for political reasons. Posterity beckons, and the discerning citizens are taking copiously the record of events under the current administration.
Fingers shall continue to be crossed. Truth shall continue to be told. Sanctity and legality shall continue to be defended. Discerning minds shall continue to watch painstakingly and meticulously, and as well study unfolding events as government continues to administer the affairs of the state.
The end would definitely justify the means as our dear state strives to be rescued from the shackles of retrogressive backwardness.
May God heal our land!
Wike, Fubara Imroglio – A Tale of Two Governors?
The recent face-off between ex-Governor Nyelson Wike and his god-son successor of Rivers State South-South Nigeria, Similayi Fubara, belies the Opaque condescending posture of a manipulated democratic governance in the country today, where Rulers exhibit an all is well attitude when everything about them is amiss. Governance as a result, is often reduced to a chess game of money sharing among gladiators in the corridors of power.
The political actors wield powers with least concern for the hapless citizens, trade their collective destiny for their comfort and those of few mindless oligarchs, their families and hangers on.
Rivers is on Keliglights as an oil-producing state, where power mongers deploy political muzzles for political ends. It is a story of “grab Rivers and possess the key to her vault”. This is why elections in Rivers State are acrimoniously contested among major political parties, and fuelled by god-fathers in ferenetic war of attrition and destruction.
The political crisis in the oil-rich state might not have been so worrisome but for the depth of rot exhibited by the two power contenders for control, with dire consequences on peace and well-being of Indigenes and residents of the State.
Ex-Governor Wike and his successor have by their utterances, and demeanors betrayed every sense of decorum, integrity and disposition to good governance.
The Ex-Governor was accused of demanding a monthly return of twenty five (25%) percent of the state internally generated revenue. Wike was accused of extending absolute dictatorship, (a hall-mark of his Administration) to the political governance of his successor. This is believed to have made the Executive, Legislative and Judicial operators to kowtow in subjugation to the Lord Mayor of Abuja.
The inference is that, Similayi Fubara is Governor of Rivers State in name. His, is the first worse case scenario of a Governor de-robed of real power, whose decisions are not his, and who is rail-roaded into appending his signatures on documents approved by Master Wike in Abuja.
Inspite of the proclivity of Nigeria’s democracy for absurdities made of it by its political godfathers, the public exposure of Ex-Governor Nyelson Wike’s Jugular hold on Rivers State for Eight (8) years and his penchant for its continuation in the Fubara Governorship makes nonsense of succession principle in democracy.
Similayi Fubara may go down in history as the worst lame-duck Governor, having condescended to rule under a shadowy god-father, who initiates and approves decisions on where funds appertaining to the state are funneled.
Speculations are rife that Rivers State Government was handed to Fubara after he agreed to sign certain documents which purportedly gave Wike the power to appoint key officers in the Executive arm, nominated virtually all members of the State Legislature, apart from Influencing appointments into ministries, parastatals and agencies of government.
Why did Similayi Fubara sign such documents? Is he not aware of its consequences? The attempt to question his god-father and the melee that ensued can thus be described as Fubara’s last ditch effort to save his job and political career. The same may be applicable to Nyelson Wike who is unwilling to brook any challenge to his authority or allow a mutilation of his political structure and dominance in Rivers State.
Rivers State is in the eyes of the world today unfortunately for wrong reasons. No thanks to the supremacy battle between a Governor who wants to truly govern and a god-father who wants to rule two states.
The control for the soul of Rivers State is a rehash of the 18th Century storming of the Bastilles, by Revolution insurgents, recruited from the ranks of ordinary, lowly-placed French Parisians.
The medieval armory fortress and political prison fell, after four (4hrs) hours of bloody fight that left ninety four (94) soldiers dead. The takeover of Bastille has become an enduring chapter in the history of the French Revolution and a symbol of resistance to absolutism and freedom for the oppressed.
Is Similayi Fubara attempting to replicate the 14th July, 1789 French history of resistance? Can he succeed? Subsequent developments will tell, but not until either of the two gladiators get each down.
A Creative Writer and Media Consultant based in Osogbo
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