Welcome, Sec. Gen. of Muslim World League
The Muslim Ummah of Nigeria has welcomed the Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulmuhsin Al-Turki, to the country for the purpose of preaching peace, brotherhood and unity amongst followers of the Islamic faith. The MWL scribe came to the country on Monday, 14th March 2016, nearly three years after he visited in 2013. This year’s international Islamic conference was held at the Yat’Adua Center, Abuja on Thursday, 17th March 2016.
While the secretary general has come on invitation and may have to restrict himself to schedule, it is advisable that he picks out time to visit a very important place called Anofia, Afikpo in Ebonyi state where the Islamic Center of Eastern Nigeria is situated. It is yet to be ascertained how and why a sojourn to this great center for the propagation of peace and guidance was not possible during his visit in 2013. Besides, the MWL is the sole sponsor of the center and it has spent heavily for that purpose.
We wish the secretary general a very pleasant stay and a successful trip, although we are still wondering about the main reason why the Muslim leader led a delegation to visits a number of educational institutions in Kano including the new headquarters of the University of North-West Nigeria, the University of Holy Qur'an as well as a number of the Qur'an Memorization centers flourishing in the city of Kano, but refused to come to the Eastern part of the country to see its own formation.
We appeal to Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulmuhsin Al-Turki to come to see what progress is made to its efforts in propagating the religion of peace in the heart of Igboland. We earnestly call on this great man of understanding and faith to ensure that the leadership of this citadel is repositioned because it is not well with this formation. The original founder of the Center, Alhaji Ibrahim Nwagui, had laudable aims and objectives. Rabita, in turn, had a very clear and laudable focus in rehabilitating it sometime in 1982. We are appalled that these efforts are being gradually dragged into the dustbin by its managers. This must be stopped by the Muslim World League.
There have been claims and counter claims about the status of the center and its management. There have been issues regarding funding, a very confusing one being from the current managers of the dearth of funds from the Muslim World League. Resultant from all these, a lot of Muslim leaders are not happy with the manner the center is being managed. Islamic scholars and Muslim leaders of eastern Nigeria have argued that the leadership of the center has derailed. Muslim youths of the host community have cried out for change. Old Students’ Association and the Parents Teachers Association of the center are not left behind in the demand for the repositioning of this education and da’wah edifice. They have complained to different national and international Islamic personalities and organizations, including Rabita.
This led to the constitution of a committee by the leadership of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto to look into the claims. However, the committee is yet to complete its assignment. But critical questions that demand for answers are: Why has the Muslim World League remained adamant in effecting the required change for the efficient management of the center, despite so many written and verifiable petitions to the MWL? And why has the managers of the center remained complacent that no amount of complaint can effect change in center’s leadership?
According to Sheikh Dr. Haroun Ajah, the Islamic Centre is on the threshold of history; namely: mismanagement, misinformation, corruption, diversion of funds to Chad and Togo and negligence. “It is noteworthy that in the nearly fifty-eight years of existence, the Islamic Centre has not improved relationship with the goal of the founders, late Sheikh Ibrahim Nwagi and associates. That is the reasons for the crisis and conflicts in the whole establishment.” He recounted how, while a student in Islamic University of Madina, he met the late and former Secretary General of Rabita, Sheikh Muhammad Ali Harkan through Dr. Umar Falata, Dean of King Abdul-Aziz University College of Education, Madina after meeting Dr. Abdul-Fatah Al-Mansour then Rabita’s consultant and adviser at Rabita’s refreshers’ course at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. All these meetings culminated to Rabita’s acceptance to rehabilitate the Islamic Center, Anofia. “Things started to unfold positively and I was told to rush to Makkah in one of the telephone calls with Dr. Mansour who congratulated and told me that my Center has been approved with an initial takeoff grant of about one million US Dollars for renovations, repairs, clinic, farm settlemen, among others”, he averred.
He noted in a statement that the mounting protests and revolt are caused by: the attempts to rewrite the history of Islam in Enohia Itim against the legacies of late Sheikh Ibrahim Nwagui the founder of the Islamic Centre of Eastern Nigeria in 1958, failure of the managers of the Islamic Centre to live up to expectations thus neglecting of the Islamic Centre Rescue Group, hijack of the Islamic Centre management, misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the Muslim World League by Dr. Fadl Khalud and Sheikh Mama Usman and diversion of funds to Chad and Togo respectively, misinformation of the Ummah and the general public with the falsehood that Rabita has stopped budget allocation to the Centre, privatization of the Islamic Centre by Dr. Fadl and Sheikh Mama , misbehaviour and un-Islamic conducts of the Islamic Centre’s staff, employment of non-Muslims in the Centre amidst abundant availability of qualified Muslims and youths, examination malpractices with notorious nomenclature of ‘miracle centre’, neglect of da' wah responsibilities and conversion of many Muslim faithfuls to Christianity, insensitivity to Muslims plights, especially welfare of the less privileged local Muslims and youths, as well as closed administration and very secretive operations.
A group called Confederation of Muslim Organizations of Nigeria (CoMON), in a statement called for the review of the Board of Trustees to reflect people who are alive in line with Nigeria indigenalization policy and with membership from all the six geopolitical zones of the Federation. Stating their own position, the Enohia-Itim Muslim Youth, Afikpo (EIMYA) invites Rabita to send an independent delegation to assess the level of development in the Center which they believe that after over 31years of takeover, has no real equivalent achievements. The group named some well-qualified Islamic scholars of eastern Nigeria who can handle the affairs of the Islamic Center, Anofia, including Sheikh Dr. Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah who brought Rabita to the community.
It will be called that during the African conference which the MWL held in collaboration with the Sokoto State Government in 2013, the conference harped on the fundamentals of peaceful co-existence in Nigeria and attracted many Northern Nigerian Muslim and Christian political leaders, academicians, clerics and social commentators. Veteran journalist, Dr. Bala Muhammad, captured it all in his weekend column of Daily Trust in April 2013. “Peace! – The Message from Sokoto”, was his apt title. He explained that MWL is engaged in propagation of Islam, elucidating Islam’s principles and tenets, refuting suspicious and false allegations made against the religion, added to helping Muslims solve problems facing them anywhere in the world, and carrying out their projects in the sphere of da’wah, education and culture.
Further, the League is a well-known international organization that employs all possible means not at variance with the Islamic law to advance its aims; rejecting all acts of violence and promoting dialogue with the people of other cultures. Among prominent Muslim scholars who also spoke were Professor Shehu Galadanci, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, Sheikh Ishaq Rabi'u and Dr. Aminuddin Abubakar. The conference communiqué mainly dwelt on how to secure and promote peace and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria
Peace and harmony are urgently required in Islamic Center, Anofia. With this visit of the secretary general which is timely, we pray to Allah to use him is solving the great problem facing the Islamic Center, Anofia by appointing effective, efficient, committed, honest and above all a God-fearing leadership for the only Rabita’s center in eastern Nigeria which Rabita should be proud of. Things have gone bad and there is no need of covering the truth. How long will the truth be hidden from the people and from Rabita? Muslim scholars and missioners abound in the eastern Nigeria. Enough of the cat and dog game with Islamic Center Anofia, if it was really rehabilitated by Rabita for the purpose of propagating Islam, nay peace and harmony, in the eastern region.
Comrade Musa Okechukwu lives at No. 14 Waterworks Road, Abakaliki.