Islamic scholars speak on Fayose’s conduct during the Eid el Kabir

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More than two weeks after the Eid el Kabir celebration in Nigeria, the conduct of the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, during an Eid prayer in Ado-Ekiti, seems to have gathered a sudden storm following a condemnation by the President of the Muslim Rights Concern, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, who described his action as “highly sacrilegious and unduly provocative.” Fayose donned a turban and Muslim tunic and held a prayer bead, an action that he took a step further when he was handed a microphone and gave a speech while surrounded by Imams at the September 1 event. One of the Imams echoed his words in the manner followed by preachers in some mosques. Some prominent Islamic scholars lend their voice to this issue  

Fayose abused turban, violated Islamic wardrobe…but blame religious leaders too

Dr. Saheed Ahmad Rufai

Dr. Saheed Ahmad Rufai, Dean, Faculty of Education, Sokoto State University

The governor’s conduct reflected the politicisation of religion or, better, religionisation of politics in Nigeria. The uproar generated by it is not justified as it has become a custom among vote- or support-seeking politicians to go above and beyond to romance religious houses.

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Politicians with no regard for religion are often given access to the pulpits in mosques and churches, during electioneering to pursue their political interests through religious platforms.

What Fayose did has been done elsewhere too. When Islamic scholars should really speak out, you find out that they keep quiet probably due to what they are benefitting from the politicians. Even outside electioneering, politicians are given front seats and special treatment in places of worship. There have always been special seats for them.

Many Imams and pastors can hardly operate without the patronage of politicians and possessors of ill-gotten wealth. We have read of several instances of the Fayose question, in this regard. Rauf Aregbesola is a Muslim but romances notable pastors like Pastor Enoch Adeboye (of the Redeemed Christian Church of God) probably for political reasons, though he has not been reported to have gone as far as Fayose did. Yet, that does not make him a “sinner” as Fayose was tagged.

Religious leaders like Pastor Adeboye and his Muslim counterparts have large following. The numerical strength of the memberships of their churches or mosques, is actually what the politicians are interested in. I see what Fayose did in the same light. Muslim politicians too cannot be exonerated.

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Religious leaders too are complicit in actions such as the one exhibited by Fayose. For instance, the Imam in the gathering where Fayose made an appearance even complained that the governor sent him just one ram and the governor promised that he would send five more. But Fayose has abused the turban and arrogantly violated Islamic wardrobe etiquette. It is an insult for him to have so boldly dressed himself up like an Imam on eid ground.

Fayose’s action is a mockery of Islam

Dr. AbdulRahman Ahmad, Chief Missioner of the Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria

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