The controversy trailing the failure of Governor Seyi Makinde to declare a public holiday to mark the commencement of a new Islamic calendar in Oyo State has taken another dimension as Islamic groups in the state have began to trade words in support and defence of the governor’s decision.
OYOINSIGHT.COM had earlier reported that Makinde has failed to declare a public holiday to mark the beginning the hijrah calendar since he was sworn-in in May last year.
Muslims leaders and organizations in the state had also accused Makinde of reneging on his campaign promise that he would protect the rights of Muslims if he became the governor and that he would not cancel the Hijrah holiday declared by the immediate past administration.
Reacting to the publication by this newspaper and the accusations, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Taiwo Adisa counselled some Islamic leaders and elders, who he accused of mixing politics with religion, to stop trying to derail the government with unfounded allegations.
According to Adisa, the claim that Governor Makinde has reneged on a campaign promise is false, noting that the position that Engr. Makinde as a governorship candidate promised not to cancel Hijrah holiday is not a statement of fact and that there is a difference between words from the candidate and those from his campaign handlers.
In a statement to clear the air on the disagreements that greeted the decision of the governor, the Young Muslim Brothers And Sisters Of Nigeria (YOUMBAS), a prominent Muslim organisation in the country, maintained that though the Muslim Ummah desire to have the state government continue to declare the Holiday Hijrah, dialogue and engagement, rather than confrontations and disagreements remain the more desirable option in order to engender religious tolerance and harmony in the state.
“Oyo Muslims are charged to be partakers of good governance by exploring the option of constructive criticism and efficient dialogue rather than confrontation and issuance of fatwa that are inimical to peaceful coexistence.
“This is believed to be good steps towards achieving well-designed developmental goals for the benefits of all citizens and creating environment where Islam could better be propagated and opportunities will be given to vast majority of Ummah rather than a few selfish individuals,” the statement issued by YOUMBAS read in part.
However, in a reaction to the statement by the Islamic organization, another group, the Concern Group for Justice (CGJ) in a statement titled ‘Oyo Fruitless Effort To Fight Community Of Faith’, described the commendation of the governor’s decision from YOUMBAS as “most laughable” noting that “the attempt to use the name of YOUMBAS to score a political point is most unfortunate”
“It shows how tactless, careless and unguarded the current regime in Oyo state. The divide and rule tactics is dead on arrival, ” the group wrote.
The group also accused the Governor’s CPS, who they described as the “worst ever” in the history of the state of employing ghost writers to blackmail the Muslim community in the state.