Muslim leaders in Oyo State on Thursday commended Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, declaring that he has shown brightly as a promoter of religious tolerance.
The notable Muslim leaders in the state including the Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Alhaji AbuBakr Agbotomokekere; former president of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Bayo Oyero and the Babasale Musulumi of Ibadaland, Alhaji Lateef Oyelade, gave the commendation at the commissioning of the renovated and improved Ibadan Central Eid Ground, Agodi, Ibadan.
The leaders, who delivered separate addresses at the brief event on Thursday, commended Governor Makinde and the Ibadan North-East Local Government chairman, Hon. Ibrahim Akintayo, for completing the project in record time.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the duo of Oyero and Oyelade declared that the renovation of the Eid ground by the governor demonstrated his respect for Islam and also showed that he would always give all religions what is due to them
They equally warned Muslims to always find amicable means of informing the governor whenever they feel there is something that the government needs to do for the Muslim Ummah, rather than raising religious sentiments and opposing the government in the media.
The event was attended by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka, who came in the company of the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Bayo Lawal; the Deputy Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Abdulmojeed Mogbonjubola, and the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Kunle Yusuff (MON), among others.
Others, who attended the event included notable leaders of the Muslim Ummah in Ibadanland as well as the chairmen of local governments and LCDAs in Ibadanland.
In his speech, the chairman of Ibadan North-East Local Government, Hon. Akintayo praised the Makinde government for approving the renovation and facelift of the Eid ground, which he said, last received the attention of the government during the tenure of Senator Rashidi Ladoja as governor of the state.
He maintained that the Muslim community had been responsible for the maintenance of the ground for years using contributions from well-meaning individuals, adding that the decision of the Makinde administration to give the Eid ground a facelift demonstrated the administration’s commitment to the wellbeing of adherents of all religions.
He listed some of the renovations executed at the ground as including the reconstruction of the dilapidated fence, plastering, and painting of the fence, construction of carport at the pulpit to provide shed for the Imam, provision of potable water, construction of solar streetlights, among others.
In his speech, Chief Oyero said: “Today is historical for good reasons. I grew to know this Eid. I am sure it is over 80-years-old. We thank Allah for how far Islam has come in Ibadanland.
“We appreciate the governor whom God put this in his heart and he delivered. Our fathers say that whatever a man does in God’s house, he will reap the reward in Aljannah. I also appreciate the chairman of Ibadan North-East.
“The relationship between Muslims and the governor will not be soured. The relationship with the government will not be soured. Whatever is not enough, we should not go on the radio or newspapers to fight the government. Please, inform Baba Imam and they will find a way of letting the governor hear your yearnings.
“This governor is a Christian but I know he built a mosque and he put an Imam there, a descendant of Lanase and he has been doing other things. For someone doing these kinds of things, we need not be forceful against him in any area where things are not sufficient. We should inform him. I have known the governor for years; he is a level-headed person.
“We all should know that if a Muslim is governor today, a Christian can be there tomorrow. If we agree that this is the case, then we should not be opposing each other. In my larger family, we are five families and two are Christians while three are Muslims. We always celebrated Christmas together and they also observed Ramadan with us. That’s how we grew up. But the youths of today prefer to do things with agitation. We must learn to tolerate each other.
“On behalf of religious leaders, I urge everyone to live in harmony. I want to inform the governor that there are more things that he will give to the Muslim Ummah. Whatever we got from the immediate past government, we do not want them to reduce. We want additions.
“We appreciate Governor Makinde and Akintayo but we are asking for more. Everything we put before him, he should consider and do for us. Our prayers either we are Christians or Muslims is that this government will succeed.”
Similarly, Alhaji Oyelade urged Muslim faithful not to be confrontational with the Makinde government, but to find ways of channeling grievances to the government and seeking amicable resolutions.
He said: “Please, we should not raise religious sentiments. Whatever anyone does, people will talk about it. Continue to do good and you will find comfort. The governor, who is our leader today, is a good son. We must accept what Allah has said.
“For years, this area was not well-lit. People are always waylaid on this road at night but see what the governor has done here, putting street lights. Everyone who is agitating, we are not asking you not to talk, but do not criticize without reasons. Let us join hands with this government. Whatever we ask for, with good representation, the government will do it and whatever is not enough, we will continue to ask.”