The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa has explained that there are steps and procedures Muslims in Oyo State can take to ensure the government declares a public holiday to mark hijrah.
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.
However, Adisa, the governor’s CPS, in an interview with Tribune, explained that there are due process Muslims in the state should follow.
“I want those who are agitating to take their battle through due process. They can write to the House of Assembly; they can write to the governor and they can write to the people in government who are also Muslims. We have eminent Muslims in government. Incidentally, we have the number two citizen of the state, our leader, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan. So, they could write through all those people to help them insist that the government should put it in proper perspective by declaring holiday and by putting it in the law,” Adisa said.
He also maintained that the religious leaders who issued the statement against the government are playing politics with 2023 adding that there is an agenda by some persons to use religion to distract the present government.
When asked whether he took the statement issued by some religious groups on the issue serious, Adisa said:
“WJihy will one not take a statement like that seriously? Except one is not a serious person, why would someone make a statement above his capacity and it will not be taken seriously?It is not the first time Muslim organisations will accuse the government of Engineer Makinde of unfairness. MURIC once said that Muslims in the state were being marginalised when Governor Makinde announced the composition of Governing Councils of tertiary institutions that belong to the state. They did not fact-check the persons that were announced. We did a simple analysis and my office released a statement to say clearly that the Muslims that were appointed into those governing councils were in the majority and nobody said anything again. When people have nothing to say, they try to sound like a broken record just to seek relevance and that is what is happening here. Religion is a personal thing and we have to be careful when we use it, because we will answer to God for it.
“On the national stage, these two religions happen to be the closest ever. NSCIA and CAN are doing things together, promoting interreligious harmony and tolerance. In this state, Governor Makinde is an epitome of religious tolerance and his personality encompasses that. He built mosques. He has been sending Muslim faithful on pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Let us ask those who signed the statements to put out a list of those they have sent to Jerusalem, if they want to really tell us they are promoting religious harmony. Our government is here to promote religious harmony and we will not tolerate anybody that wants to distract us with religious dichotomy. In Yorubaland, we value our unity. The religions are inter-related and interwoven. There are too much uniformity in the Holy Quran and the Bible.
“We saw that they did not have anything to do or say. So, they thought that we would sit down and be responding to things that have no basis. We have put down the facts and anybody who is reasonable out there would look at the facts. I don’t believe that the statements being issued represent the Muslim community. We are all together in this state. This state is a state of religious harmony, whether you say it or not. This is a state where families are divided into two big religions. We have the traditionalists and they also have numbers in this state and across Yorubaland altogether. So, you cannot tell me that there is a family in Oyo State here that does not have Muslims and Christians, either as husbands and wives, brothers and sisters.
“As for me, I have my uncles as Muslims; they are my direct first cousins, uncles, among others. The governor has explained several times too that his family is like 65 per cent Muslim. So, why would anyone be promoting religious intolerance in the name of politics?”