As Sec-Gen of Supreme Council passes on

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As I was pondering over writing an article on “Sudden death in a belief”, the Muslim Ummah was thrown into mourning by the good and bad news about the death of the Secretary General of Nigerian supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Dr. Abdullateef Adegbite, as the news encircled the atmosphere of the country from his hometown Egba of Igbore in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

So as not to leave my reader wondering about what I mean by the good and bad news about a death, I wish they have patience and read through this poem titled “Sorrow for Myself” from my collection “Man in the Mirror”.

I know when I will sure breathe last; And to the final sleep fall fast; O only a second's event; Upon all the years I'd have spent; So happy my debtors will be; And they alone will pray for me; So sad my creditors will be; And the whole world has debts on me; Precious times wasted on mean chase; Stupid laughs on men of dim base; Ants, birds, praying mantis and flies; Crushed with ease in their fragile size.

My lovers sure will smile and cry; Such crises which very soonest dry; I'll hear them as I'll helpless lie; Speechless, hard, even if I try; They will wash and wrap me in whole; And will dump me in deadened hole; They will turn from me to their goal; And will not learn from my gone soul; One after one they all will leave; And leave me in pitiful heave; No body, nothing will I have; Except that I did when alive.

Only my deeds which are twofold; Neither silk nor sliver nor gold; Deeds outweighing and make me cold; More haunting even though they're old; Restrain ye eyes, from sinful peep!; O ye toe! Curb my futile leap; And ye mouth! Do not keep to sip; Or eat a thing of hellish reap.

O members of this earthly form; Unite and maintain free good norm; Get equipped to withstand the storm; In that long journey, soon, to come; My provision is my good deed; From it alone shall be my feed; Therefore must I to God's words heed; And that alone is the pure creed; O God of Self, guide through my search; To feed at end with Heaven's dish; And take me, Lord, while in my niche; With my pride-trunk well bowed with flesh.

May I be granted my last book; With face as green vegetable look; On my right, not left, as I took; Courage to escape Satan's hook; Allow me not, Lord, be engulfed endowed; Except by soil for on it first I bowed.

Adegbite was a good man at large and a devout Muslim who spent greater part of his life serving Allah and humanity. A former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the defunct Western State, he was the Seriki and the Baba Adinni of Egbaland. He was a constitutional lawyer and an advocate of peace, unity and progress for his people. Among the many challenging positions he held, he was the pioneer National President of the Muslim Students' Society of Nigeria (MSSN).

His death is quite colossal but never a loss, because I believe that it is only the death of criminals or those who did not benefit their societies that can be described as losses. One who has toiled in life, looking towards his Lord and treading the path of faith, love and fulfillment is assured of gains while alive and while dead.

He is described by the Secretary General of Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu as upright, fearless, committed and an accomplished Islamic worker and a lawyer of high pedigree.

With his death, the Muslim Ummah expects that a well-tested, trusted and visionary leader be appointed into the position of the Secretary General of NSCIA. Looking at the structure of the major Islamic organizations in Nigeria, Muslims of the Southeast geopolitical zone has been left behind. I am particular about this zone because it has produced dozens of excellently knowledgeable and devout Muslim scholars, researchers and professionals who are fit to handle any position of trust in the nation's polity.

There can be no gainsaying the fact that His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of NSCIA and JNI, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, has not only been a bridge-builder in this aspect, he has really been on the task of inculcating in the minds of the Muslim minorities the true sense of belonging to Islam as a universal creed. He has done much in bringing peace and unity amongst the Muslims.

Unlike before, the Sultan has assisted many Muslims from the Southern part of the country in different capacities. But as we all know that in the political sphere, the Muslim minorities are still lagging behind, there is need to muster the courage to empower them more politically, economically, educationally and morally.

In as much as it is impossible for now for a member of the minorities in Nigeria to win an elective position or be appointed as a commissioner in their states or be nominated for national assignments most especially in the Southeast and Southsouth, it would not be out of imaginary compassion that the Sultan engages the support of the well-placed Nigerian Muslim faithfuls in the drive to give their downtrodden brethren the boost to excel.

It is on record that the tussle for leadership in the Muslim minority states has caused rancour and misunderstanding amongst diverse groups with the Ummah. The Sultan has resolved some of such lingering cases. The fight over who holds Vice President-General positions of NSCIA and JNI in those states are quite unfortunate. More unfortunate is the fact that some people who fight for the leadership are not knowledgeable of Islam.

We hold the Sultan high and pray that he continues to do his best in uplifting the Muslims of the minorities and also ameliorate their sufferings and psychological trauma.

While we commensurate with the people of Ogun state and the entire Muslim Ummah over this colossal demise but not a loss, we appeal to the leadership of NSCIA and JNI to see reason in appointing a capable Muslim from the Southeast to replace the late Secretary General of NSCIA, a position that demands selflessness, fortitude, dedication, broadmindedness, wisdom, the knowledge of Islam and above all God-fear. The Sultan has the best knowledge of he who can deliver with these qualities, most of which the late secretary-general possessed.

May Allah forgive the shortcomings of Dr. Adegbite and grant him Jannatul-Firdauz. And may Allah continue to strengthen the Ummah. Ameen.

Muhammad Ajah, is a writer, author, advocate of good governance and humanity E-mail: [email protected]

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Articles by Muhammad Ajah