Engineer Seyi Makinde, like a typical South-westerner in this country, had the rare privilege of growing up in a harmoniously multi-religious clime, where Islam, Christianity and traditional religion mostly coexisted without animosity. This afforded him the opportunity of having a good rapport with an extended family, where the foundation is very Islamic (70%Muslims).Thus, the governor has never been un-Islamic in his thought and outlook before and after his rise to affluence and prominence.
That a person or an entity’s Islamicity is discussed outside the fold of Islam is not strange. Some were able to transcend to the level of pronouncing kalimatus shahaadah and achieving the status of a Muh’min while others were not able to. The uncle of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Abu Talib, is a typical example of the latter, while King Negus of Abyssinia represents the former.
There are also countless number of individuals who were only able to pronounce the statement of Shahadah (testimony) but passed before such could be actioned practically and were graded Muslims by all standards in accordance with Hadith 1 of Annawaawiy. “Innamal A’amaal biniyyat……” Meaning that All human actions shall be judged according to the intention.. Recently, two scholars of Islamic Studies, Professor Hossein Askari and Dr Scheherazade S Rehman studied the Islamicity of countries and many non-Muslim countries were found to live and act more in compliance with the tenets of Islam than the Muslim-populated countries.
Let us rate Governor Seyi Makinde using the parameter of the five pillars of Islam.
1 IMAN (AL EEMAAN BILAAHI )
It is true that the confession of belief in Allah (Iman) takes one into the fold of Islam as a religion but it is also the manifestation of such unflinching faith in the concept of Godhood, a Supreme Being, in control of our affairs as humans and in Whose Divine Hands our fates rest.
It is on record that after losing out in the 2015 gubernatorial election, Governor Seyi Makinde went ahead and got a number plate for his personal vehicle which read 2019. When asked for the motive behind the new number plate, he reiterated it to people’s hearing that he believed in God that 2019 would be his year. ALHAMDULILAAH. He got it.
His closeness to Islamic clerics who prayed to Allah for his dream to come to fruition put flesh on the idea that he trusted Allah and never doubted His divine presence and support. His popular song is an affirmation of this first pillar of Islam. He sings regularly, ‘Ọlọhun to leru a bami gbe, Olohun to leru a bami gbe, seb’Olohun to leru lọ losuka, Se b Olohun to leru lo losuka o, Olohun to leru a bami gbe.’
- SALAT (PRAYERS)
The second pillar of Islam (Salat) carries the physical rendering of the rites and manifestation of the social, physical and spiritual teachings of divine worship. The governor appreciates this Islamic rite so much that he provided a place of worship for his Muslim relatives at his family base. Also at his Omituntun House, he constructed a befitting mosque for his followers and associates to answer to their spiritual calling as and when due. When the Christians requested for same, he explained to them that Islam is residential in nature, needing its adherents to pray five times without hindrance. He prevailed on them to feel free to use anywhere in the Omitutun Building if they needed to worship.
He also went ahead to employ the service of a paid Imam to lead the five daily prayers (Salawatul khams).
Viewing the recent Adogba Islamic Centre development from a positive lens also corroborates Governor Seyi Makinde’s love and belief in the importance of Islamic five daily prayers and Jumat service. By Allah’s grace, the mosque will be commissioned soon.
Ibadan Central Mosque Ojaoba Complete renovation by His Excellency is also ongoing.
- ZAKAT (ALMS Giving / POOR RATE)
The third pillar of Islam is financial and philanthropic in nature. It is not in doubt that Governor Seyi Makinde has been very philanthropic ever since fortune smiled on him. But, more surprising is the fact that despite his religious tax known as ‘tithe’, when he heard of the 2.5% Islamic Zakah (and Sadaqah), he heeded the call without hesitation. He has been giving out Sadaqah under the supervision of some of his Muslim aides for years now. His other profound spending before his immersion in politics and even after includes, alms to widows, scholarship to indigent students and food gifts to the vulnerable. He exemplifies those Allah describes in Qur’an 3 verse 134 as spending in times of ease and adversity.
- SAWM RAMADAN (FASTING)
Looking at the fourth pillar of Islam, fasting during Ramadan, the significant role played by Governor Seyi Makinde in this state as a private and public figure could not be overemphasized. He adds colour to the social glamour and spiritual blessing Ramadan controls by contributing to the spiritually lifting atmosphere of the blessed month via his annual public lectures to which prominent Islamic clerics such as, Shaykh Faruq Onikijipa, Shaykh Muhydeen Salman (Imam Offa), Prof. Oloyede, Imam UI, Sheikh Dawud Alawiye, Sheikh Sannu Shehu etc have been given the platforms to enrich the people of Oyo State spiritually. Governor Seyi Makinde’s effort at feeding fasting Muslims is also commendable. Special gifts ranging from fruits, raw foods, Iftar Soo’im (breaking fast for the Muslims), Salah rams, even cars and buses have been handed to the Muslims and religious/community leadership during the beautiful month, affirming his firm conviction that rewards for goodness in Ramadan are in geometric manifolds.
- HAJJ (PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA AND MEDINA)
Governor Seyi Makinde has also expressed his interest in Muslims attaining spiritual perfection by ensuring as many of them as possible ( More than hundred Muslims) are sponsored on pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Makkah for Hajj and Umrah . His support for the State’s Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board since his assumption of office and the creation of Office of Islamic Affairs (first in the history of Oyo State) confirms his love for Muslims and things they hold in high esteem.
In addition, Governor Seyi Makinde has given recognition to the Islamic New Year (Hijra), which is now a public holiday in Oyo State. In the same vein, the Governor, through the office of the Special Assistant on Islamic Affairs, has been organizing Qur’an recitation competitions to mark the significance of the Birth of Prophet Muhammad SAW and the revelation of Qur’an to Mankind. Similarly, the Governor, through the office of the S A on Islamic Affairs, also recognises and celebrates World Hijab Day by distributing hijabs to Muslims and encouraging them to wear same.
It is, therefore, a thing of pride that the Muslim populace in the state under the leadership of Aare Musulumi of Yoruba Land, Edo and Delta States, Alhaji Dawud Akinola DeDamak , have also reciprocated the Governor’s generous, genuine and innate soft spot for their religion by supporting his government during his first term in office and with massive support at the last poll to usher in Omitutun 2.0. It should be on record that religion, as important as it is, falls flat on its face if it is devoid of godliness and humanity. A good taste of what Islam stands for could however radiate from a Christian and this is as embodied by the people’s Governor, Engineer Oluwaseyi (Sa’heed) Abiodun Makinde.
Imam Abdrasheed Adewale ABDULAZEEZ is the S A ISLAMIC Affairs to Gov Seyi Makinde of Oyo state.