An Ibadan high Court sitting in Ibadan yesterday delivered judgment in a 23 year old case over who assumes the position of Chief Imam of Igboho Central Mosque in Orelope local government area of Oyo State. The case started in 1995.
Justice Yemi Ajayi while delivering judgment which lasted over two hours, declared that from all available facts before the court, Alhaji Mudasiru Lawal is the bona fide Chief Imam of the mosque.
The court therefore restrained Alhaji Tijani Ismail Koudi from parading himself as the Chief Imam of Igboho central mosque and also cautioned him to display maturity by cooperating with Alhaji Mudasiru Lawal in performing in that office.
Justice Ajayi who said that he personally visited Igboho central mosque during the hearing of the case to assess aspects of the matter further awarded the cost of N100,000 against the defendant Alhaji Koudi.
The trial judge declared that he had read through the case and all the relevant authorities and discovered that turbanning ceremony of an Imam including the Chief Imam can only be done by a respected moslem and that during the ceremony, the reading and fundamental prayer are to be said in Arabic because Holy Quran was written in Arabic and must be read by the person to do the turbanning.
Justice Ajayi further ruled that according to Islamic laws, league of Imam and Ulamas in Yoruba land whose authority is recognized to resolve dispute concerning appointment of Islamic chieftaincy in its area of jurisdiction had intervened.
He added that the court upheld the claimant’s position that the “League considered the validity of the appointment of both the claimant’s and defendant as chief imamship at its meeting on 27th of January 1994 on the ground that tracing from inception, the claimant’s chief imamship was supported for it was first appointed in Igboho.”
It would be recalled that the claimant, Alhaji Mudasiru Lawal is the fifth chief Imam of the Igboho central mosque Muslim community. He was installed on August 29, 1990 when the oath and staff of office passed down through the line from the first Chief Imam were presented to Alhaji Lawal as the authentic Chief imam of Igboho central mosque.
It was in 1971 following the dispute within the moslem community in Igboho that a faction broke away and established the central mosque Igboho with the defendant now parading himself as chief imam.
Also, it was stated that Oba Solomon Oyediran, the Alepata of Igboho and a Christian who was later purportedly to turban the defendant, Alhaji Tijani Ismail Koudi as Chief imam of the central mosque of Igboho against the Islamic law and tradition among others.