Soun has appointed Ogbomoso Chief Imam since 1818, says Muslim leaders

By Innocent Raphael

Muslim leaders in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, have issued a stern warning to those criticizing the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, over the controversy surrounding the town’s Chief Imam.

The leaders, under the aegis of the Ogbomoso Committee on Islamic Affairs, emphasized that the appointment and removal of the Chief Imam has historically been at the discretion of the Soun since 1818.

The leaders, led by the Aare Musulumi of Ogbomoso, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Atanda Owodunni, highlighted that the first Chief Imam, Muhammed Nafiu, was appointed by a non-Muslim Soun, establishing a longstanding tradition. They noted that the embattled Chief Imam, Toliat Yunus Olushina, like his predecessors, was appointed by the Soun.

Addressing the press on Saturday, the Aare Musulumi, along with other key Islamic leaders, explained that controversies had arisen over the current Chief Imam’s appointment even before the new Soun’s installation.

The Imam Ayilara family had opposed Olushina’s candidacy, claiming a dubious connection to their family and continuing their protests to the Soun-in-Council.

Upon the installation of Oba Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye in September 2023, the Soun formed a fact-finding committee led by High Chief Alhaji Kasali Oladipo. The committee’s findings confirmed doubts about Olushina’s relationship with the Imam Ayilara family, leading to the Soun’s directive for Olushina to resolve the issue with his family.

However, Olushina defied this order and took the matter to court, causing division among the Muslim community in Ogbomoso.

The Ogbomoso Committee on Islamic Affairs recounted the historical precedence for the Soun’s discretion in appointing Chief Imams, citing various instances from 1818 to the present.

They stressed that the Soun’s authority in these matters is rooted in tradition and urged the public to disregard false accusations against Oba Olaoye.

The Muslim leaders reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining harmony in Ogbomoso, highlighting the town’s history of religious coexistence.

They further condemned efforts to sow discord and emphasized the importance of unity among the town’s diverse religious communities.

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