Muslim Community in Osun State has threatened to order its members to vote against any candidate who threatens the right of Muslims to education and the usage of hijab in public schools and institutions.
The President, Osun State Muslim Community, Alhaji Mustapha Olawuyi, issued the threat in Osogbo at a press conference to mark the commencement of one-week activities of the Hijrah (Islamic New Year) celebration.
Olawuyi was apparently responding to one of the governorship candidates who has promised to return the public schools to the missionaries if elected governor in the Sept. 22 poll.
“One of them has been using ‘return of schools to missionaries as one of his campaign promises. We are aware that this is a gimmick to swindle the public.
“You can’t return the property that belongs to all of us to a mission just because such schools bear mission names.
“We are all aware of massive investments of public fund in these schools after it had been taken over soon after independence with full compensation.
“We have told him to forget it. Even if he has a pact with any group, it won’t fly. Any politician that tries it will regret it.
“Again, this is a backdoor approach to banish hijab from public schools. We have seen hate and lack of religious tolerance displayed in the Adeleke University Ede and the Bowen University in Iwo.
“As the majority group in Osun, we will not fold our hands and allow that happen in our schools. It will be resisted with full force.
“We just fought for hijab for three years, so anyone who intends to mitigate our rights or oppress us should forget his ambition to become a governor in this state.
“In Osun State, we are aware of our rights and we have an enlightened populace,” Olawuyi said.
The president commended Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration for being fair to all religions and urged whoever wanted to establish mission or private schools to do so since there was no restriction from the government.
“We commend Governor Aregbesola’s thoughtfulness for declaring Hijrah Holiday to mark the event. This is equity and fair play in action.
“If our Christian Brothers could get 52 Sundays in a year as holiday and the Seventh Day Adventist has 52 Saturdays in a year, it will not be out of place for Muslims who are in the majority to have just a day to mark such an important event.”
The president stressed that Hijrah holiday has come to stay and urged the Federal Government and other states to emulate Osun by declaring the Hijrah day a free day.
Speaking on the theme for the Hijrah 1440 A.H. Good Governance, Procedure and Processes: Islamic Perspective, Olawuyi called for a free, fair, transparent and credible election that is devoid of violence and malpractices.
While calling on the electorates to visit any INEC offices for the collection of their Permanent Voter Cards, Olawuyi urged citizens to shun vote buying and vote for the best as well as God-fearing candidates, even as he urged security agencies to ensure the coming election is free, fair, credible, and peaceful.
The president who spoke on the significance of Hijrah said the topic for the Hijrah Colloquium would be: Election Malpractices: Causes, Effects and Islamic Solutions.
“Hijrah celebration is to move people from what is bad to what is good and to also obey the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet.
“Islamic calendar begins with one of the most iconic events in history – Prophet Muhammad’s Hijrah – (emigration) from Makkah to Madina to set up a new social order some 1435 years ago.
“Islam is the only religion with Allah. It is the religion of Truth and in line with His promise, it shall overcome all other religions.
“So the Prophet had to migrate to establish the everlasting religion of Islam. Today, the presence of Prophet Muhammad is still much felt and his legacies continue to live on.”
Olawuyi said Hijirah event has a lot to do with the coming election and that the Muslim Community had been able to enlighten the faithful on the needs for a free, fair and credible poll.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo