Soun of Ogbomoso, Chief Imam, spoil for war over trip to Mecca

By Innocent Raphael

The Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, has issued a formal query to the Chief Imam of Ogbomoso, Shiek Taliat Ayilara, for traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage without prior notification to the traditional ruler, in what has appeared as tension rising between the two leaders.

The query, dated June 10, 2024, highlights that Chief Imam Ayilara’s actions violated an agreement he signed upon assuming his position.

The letter, signed by palace secretary Toyin Ajamu on behalf of the Soun, states that the Chief Imam’s conduct contradicts the terms of his appointment.

The letter reads, “I refer to the earlier query issued to you regarding your unbecoming and reprehensible conduct as Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland and the need to desist from such behavior.

“You will recall that on your appointment as Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland, you signed an undertaking and agreement which you agreed would be binding on you. In the said undertaking, you unequivocally undertook to inform the Soun of Ogbomoso before traveling outside Ogbomoso.”

The letter continues, “However, we have been informed that you are currently in Mecca on a Holy pilgrimage without notifying the Soun. This is a clear violation of your undertaking. Secondly, you agreed not to appoint any surrogate during your tenure without the approval of His Royal Majesty, the Soun of Ogbomoso.

“Nevertheless, we have received information that you have appointed a surrogate, namely Sheik Abdulrahman Alim Areo, as the acting Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland, who led the Jumat Prayer on Friday, June 7, 2024, at the Central Mosque.

“This action is a direct breach of your undertakings. As the Soun of Ogbomosoland, I hereby demand that you immediately return to Ogbomoso, rectify these violations, and desist from any further actions that violate the undertakings you signed upon your appointment as Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland.”

When contacted, Chief Imam Ayilara confirmed the situation, acknowledging that this is not the first query he has received from the Soun.

“Yes, that is what I am confirming for you. He has issued some queries to me in the past. I will send you the documents. This time, he issued the query to me that I didn’t inform him before going to Saudi Arabia,” he stated.

Chief Imam Ayilara added, “Kabiyesi, it is on record that I filed a case in court to challenge the interference of your majesty in the appointment and removal of the Grand Chief Imam of OgbomosoLand. My case is that the office of the Grand Chief Imam of OgbomosoLand is not a traditional title and as such, it is not under the control of the Soun.

“However, as a Muslim and Spiritual Head of the Muslim Community in OgbomosoLand, I am not subjugating the rules regulating the practice of Islam to Yoruba tradition and culture. It is a collective right of all Muslims.”

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