*Joins Kano, Osun states in recognizing Muslims’ rights on New Year
*Ajimobi has done the right thing – Sultan’s Deputy, S.O. Babalola
*We give kudos to Governor Ajimobi, his cabinet, Oyo people – MURIC
The Oyo State, South West Nigeria, has declared Tuesday September 11, 2018 equivalent of Muharram 1, 1440 AH as work-free day in commemoration of the Islamic New Year in the country.
By this singular decision, Oyo becomes the first Nigeria’s State to officially recognize the rights of Muslims in any state of Nigeria to mark Islamic calendar as recognized by their religion of Islam and as stated in the Qur’an.
Allah declares in the Qur’an that the number of months with Him is 12 and by the establishment of best practices of scholars of the faith from history, Muharram is first month of the Islamic calendar followed by Sofar, Rabiul Awwal, Rabiul Thani, Jumadal Awwal, Jumadal Thani, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadan, Sha’wal, Dhul-Qada and Dhul-Hijah.
The Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Mr. Ishmael Olalekan Alli, made this known on behalf of the Governor Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi through a letter referenced Ref: SA/CR/002/T2/7 and dated 10th September 2018 which he copied to all top government functionaries in the state, urging them to “Kindly give His Excellency’s approval, hereby conveyed, the widest circulation it deserves.”
The letter, titled, “Declaration of work-free day to mark Hijirah 1440 AH”, read in part, “The Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has declared Tuesday, 11th September, 2017 a work-free day in the State, to commemorate and celebrate the new Islamic Calendar year 1st Muharram (Hijirah) 1440 AH.
“His Excellency has also enjoined all and sundry to use the occasion to pray for the peace, unity and sustainability of the State in particular, and the Country in general.
“Kindly give His Excellency’s approval, hereby conveyed, the widest circulation it deserves. Thank you,” Ishmael Olalekan Alli, the Secretary to the Oyo State Government, said.
In the meantime, the Deputy President-General (South) of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sakariya Olayiwola Babalola, OON, has commended the Oyo State Government for taking the bold step to recognize the rights of Muslims to mark the beginning of their religiously recognized new calendar year.
In his submission, Babalola, who is also the President of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), noted that, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the State of Osun started declaring holiday for New Islamic Year in his state and that Kano has always done the same.
“We really thank Governor Ajimobi for this great thing he has started which will now give the Muslims in Oyo State the sense of belonging. And I wish everybody well at the new year,” he said.
It will be recalled that the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) had made the need for government to declare Muharram 1st as work-free day a centre-point in its calls lately.
When asked by The DEFENDER to react to the action by Oyo State Government, Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, said the government and governor in particular deserved commendation.
In his reaction on a telephone interview with us, Professor Akintola said, “I think we give kudos to the Oyo State Government and then, to Governor Abiola Ajimobi in person, his team in the cabinet and the entire people of Oyo State.
“We appreciate him and we are praying that the Almighty Allah will continue to guide both the governor, members of his cabinet and the entire people of Oyo State.
“Then to the Muslims and our well-wishers, we wish them Happy Hijrah!” Akintola told The DEFENDER Monday night.