*As Mimiko, Deji of Akure, Chief Imam Akorede honour Sultan, deputy
*Why Christian, Muslim relationship is peaceful in Ondo – Dep Gov Oluboyo
*Says Muslims not violent people, lauds release of 21 Chibok girls
By Kemi Kasumu
The Deputy President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs for the Southern part of Nigeria, Alhaji Sakariyau Babalola, enthused on Friday that he was starting off on remarkable note his first official assignment by leader of the Muslim Ummah of Nigeria, Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III.
Babalola, an Officer of the Order of Nigeria (OON), who represented the Sultan in three separate transit visits to the Palace of the Deji of Akure, Akure Central Mosque special jumat service and governor’s office in Akure, during each of the visits eulogised the Sultan as a man of virtues. He said he had been engaged in serious advocacy for peace and unity among people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds in the country since his ascension to the dual seats of Sultan and leadership of the Nigerian Muslim Community.
He spoke during a courtesy visit to the Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko in Alagbaka, where the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Oluboyo, represented the governor.
Popularly called S. O. Babalola, the philanthropist, who also doubles as President-General of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) could not hold back expressing the extent to which he was impressed about the state of peace and cooperation among the Ondo State people.
He told the deputy governor that His Eminence the Sultan would have been in Akure personally but due to some other unforeseen reasons.
His words: “This is the first official assignment I would be given by the Sultan and as I am starting it, I am starting with first Alphabet letter ‘A’ – Akure. Since the Sultan came to office, he has been on the project of peace and unity because he knows that with peace we can move mountain.
“We are quite impressed that this is the first time there is a Muslim on the bench in Ondo State but we are Oliver Twist, we want more,” said Babalola.
Responding, the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Oluboyo, who spoke on behalf of the governor, expressed satisfaction that the Sultan had considered Ondo State fit for his visit. He said although he had personally met with both Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and his Deputy President-General S. O. Babalola at the turban ceremony of the President-General of the League of Imams and Alfas, Shehu Bello Kewulere in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State but that it was more a joy for Governor Mimiko, who was unavoidably absence during the visit, himself and the entire people of Ondo State that he made it this time to the seat of the state government.
Oluboyo said, “I am pleased to have the Sultan honour us in Ondo State with a visit. I also appreciate Alhaji S. O. Babalola who is equally a great man representing the Sultan here today,” he said stressing that Ondo State had been able to achieve peace and unity because the government for eight years had ensured balancing in its dealing with members of Islamic and Christian faith in matter of government.
He said, “Ondo State has balanced appointment religion-wise and has been on Christian-Muslim ticket (administration) for the past eight years of Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
“We are so happy both Muslims and Christians are peacefully co-existing and we have individually had times to practice our respective religions.
“I want to join Sultan to condemn those who are calling Boko Haram Muslims. It is not in the character of Muslims to be violent. I want to also join in the joy that came with the release of 21 Chibok girls and look forward to more releases,” Oluboyo said.