Muslims of Igbo are grumbling over the delay in the appointment of an Igbo Imam for the National Mosque Abuja as promised by the Sultan of Sokoto and the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Sa’ad III when the Murshid of the Mosque was appointed. The Sultan made the promise to erase any tribal attachment on the Imamship of the national institution, considering the fact that the three Imams under the Murshid are Hausas and a Yoruba.
Speaking on Wednesday under the umbrella of a non-government organization, Igbo Muslim Forum (IMF), the Southeast Muslim faithful explained that when the promise was made, the Igbo Muslims were happy to be carried along by the Sultan in that regard. But it has been too long when the promise was supposed to have been fulfilled. They said that the matter has become a daily talk amongst the Igbo Muslims who are feeling that it may become a political promise which is often not fulfilled.
In a statement signed by the coordinator-general and secretary of the forum, Suleman A. Afikpo and Dr. Muhammad Amaechi, respectively, they recalled recent convention convened in Abuja by the South East Muslims of Nigeria (SEMON) where some members of the Igbo Muslim Ummah expressed displeasure over the promise described by some as normal lip service. They said that the matter is still being discussed much on the SEMON’s WhatsApp and Igbo Muslim Forum’s Facebook page.
“Was the pronouncement done in duress or an overdue glorious duty that is being neglected or otherwise concealed? The acquiescence of the President General of NSCIA, echoed further by his Secretary General, published in all the major Nigerian dailies after their meeting of the 6th Extended General Purpose Committee on October 9, 2017, was the one pronouncement that placed a smile on the faces of every Igbo Muslim. In readiness, we converged in a general meeting that screened and produced three eligible scholars from amongst us for the duty. A follow-up letter dated 16th April 2018, with Reference no: IMF/NSCIA/18/01 was disseminated”, the statement noted.
“For over a year now, there has not been any response to our letter nor the said imamate position filled. While we wait in anticipation, we grieve and grumble at the neglect being meted on us. We humbly want to use this medium to remind the authorities in charge, lest our case be held under administrative redtopism.”
“Other subtle agitations to replace the vacant position of director of administration allocated to the Southeast in the NSCIA is being taken for granted. The federal government’s inability to refill the executive commissionership position for the Southeastern region since the tenure expiration of Dr. Saleh Okenwa’s tenure in the Hajj Commission is still lingering. All other executive regional positions in the commission have never experienced a vacuity. And more disturbing is the imposition of leaders on the Muslims of the East, while we bear the brunt of state marginalization, social hostilities, and threats to life in the midst of our people.”
“History shows that those who are recruited to represent our Muslim community are mostly Igbo settlers in other parts of Nigeria. They are imposed by godfathers from outside Igboland. And not being in touch with realities in the region, the appointees only dance to the tune of their masters without influencing the life and situation of those they are actually mandated to represent.”