A non-governmental organisation, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has warned the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, not to interfere in the activities of the Itun-Mefa Muslim community.
The Awujale has been accused by the muslim community of trying to impose someone on it as against their choice of Shaykh Abdul Rasheed Mayaleeke as the Eketa Adinni of Itun-Mefa Quarters.
MURIC, in a statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said the interference was a violation of the constitution which gave the community the power to appoint the Eketa Adinni.
The statement by MURIC reads in part: “This is unacceptable. The Awujale is a royal father who deserves the respect of the adherents of all faiths. It is not advisable for him to interfere in the affairs of any group, talk less of imposing a candidate after one has been picked. It is ultra vires. No king in Yorubaland or anywhere in Nigeria has the authority to overturn the decision of the Muslim community. It is undue interference.
“The king may be invited to the turbanning of the holder of an Islamic title as a matter of protocol, but it is absolutely unacceptable for him to impose any candidate.
“MURIC frowns on the alleged attempt by the Awujale to rob Shaykh Mayaleeke of his Allah-given fundamental right. Shaykh Mayaleeke is a renowned Islamic scholar. He is deeply knowledgeable. Mayaleeke is not an armchair Islamic scholar. He has travelled far and wide and he is well known in the circle of Islamic scholars not only in Yorubaland but throughout Nigeria. He is therefore highly qualified for the position.
“We can guess why the Awujale is allergic to the appointment of Mayaleeke. The Islamic scholar is fearless and he has defended the cause of Islam in Ijebuland on several occasions. The Awujale probably prefers a crony and a dummy who can easily be twisted round his fingers and who will easily compromise Islamic principles. His royal highness probably craves someone who will tremble and crumble at the mere mention of his name.
“MURIC implores the Awujale to let the Muslims go. We stand to be corrected, but the last time we checked, the Awujale had converted from Islam to Christianity. That is not necessarily important because the king’s religion does not really matter. He is still the king over all religious, cultural and political groups. But he is expected to remain neutral in order to continue to enjoy the respect of all.
“This is an area where MURIC must send a very strong message to all Yoruba kings. The appointment of Imams and Islamic title holders is solely the prerogative of Muslim communities. No king, whether Muslim, Christian or traditionalist, has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Muslims. By the way, can any king appoint or reject a bishop in his domain? Have kings ever been allowed to control affairs of churches around them? Then why do they pick on Muslim communities? Why do they use policemen to harass Muslims inside the mosque?
“This is not about the Awujale alone. We are addressing a common phenomenon in Yorubaland where the kings assume a priori that they are the final authority in Muslim communities.”