Ndigbo Muslims unite, align with Igbo agenda

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Ndigbo Muslims of Nigeria have agreed to speak in one voice through the South East Muslims Organization of Nigeria (SEMON) and to align themselves with Ndigbo agenda even while promoting the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria.

They appreciate the efforts of Igbo leaders in defence of the Ndigbo cause and interest in the Nigerian project, but express concern over the Igbo Leaders of Thought and the Ohaneze Ndigbo who meet on behalf of the Igbo Nation without the inclusion and involvement of the Ndigbo Muslims’ representatives, a political strategy they describe as counterproductive for the development of Igboland and the nation towards the Southeast project of Nigerian Presidency in 2023.

In a communiqué issued at the end of their national summit in Enugu, on Saturday 15th December, 2018, signed by the national chairman, Muhammad Obiahu Ajah Jr., FCIA, national secretary Abdur-Rahman Nwabueze Urama, national public relations officer (PRO), Yahya Onyedikachi Abugu, and endorsed by state representatives and elders, Sheikh Adam Abdullah Idoko (Enugu State), Sheikh Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah (Ebonyi State), HRH, Dr. Abdulfattah Emetumah represented (Imo State), Alhaji (Hon.) Musa Iheakaram (Abia State) and Alhaji Sani Ejor (Anambra State), they resolved their readiness to meet with the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, each of the Governors of Southeast States, Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Jama’atul Nasiril-Islam (JNI), the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN), amongst others.

They reaffirmed their position to participate fully in the 2019 general elections and vote for candidates of individual choices especially those who will carry Igbo Muslims along with appointments into political offices of trust. It was agreed that Ndigbo Muslims contesting for positions in the forthcoming elections be massively supported for success. On this, Ndigbo Muslims should continue to strive for excellence in their private life pursuits and support governments of their respective States and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

They prayed for the peaceful conduct of the general elections, smooth handover to all the winners and urged Nigerians to work for the growth of Nigeria as one united indivisible nation. They warned against violent campaigns and admonished Nigerians especially the youths not to allow themselves to be misused as thugs and criminals by politicians for the elections.

They want to be known and addressed, henceforth, as Ndigbo Muslims and in full identification and promotion of Igbo culture, including Igbo dress and language. In connection to this, they plan the institution of leaderships of Ndigbo Muslims in each of the five states of Southeast and of Igboland. This is to have organized leaderships like the Emirs in the North and Obas in the West.

“For the progress of the Igbo Muslim Ummah, SEMON should continue to advocate for equity and fairness for Igbo Muslims. The organization should cooperate with governmental and non-governmental organizations that mean well for Igboland, for Nigeria and Igbo Muslims.

“SEMON plans to institute an Annual Lecture to commemorate the life and achievements of late Sheikh Ibrahim Okpani Nwagui who brought Islam to limelight in Igboland. SEMON also encourages intermarriages amongst themselves through adoption of the Sunnah, the practical life of Prophet Muhammad in all aspects of their lives.”  

“While we appreciate the efforts of our Igbo Leaders in defence of the Ndigbo cause and interest in the Nigeria project, we appeal to the Igbo Leaders of Thought and the Ohaneze Ndigbo to note that their meetings on behalf of the Igbo Nation in this regards without the inclusion and involvement of the Ndigbo Muslims representatives is not a good political strategy. We cannot be decrying the scheming out of Igbos from strategic positions in Nigeria while we internally marginalize and exclude Ndigbo Muslims who have the same stake in the Nigerian project because of their choice of relationship with the Almighty. The tendencies are not good or productive for the development of Igboland and Nation towards the Southeast project of Nigerian Presidency in 2023.”       

Present at the Summit were Igbo Muslim Leaders, Scholars, Academicians, Legal Luminaries, Traditional Rulers, Entrepreneurs and SEMON’s Representatives in the States of the Zone. Also present were the Federal Commissioner of the South East Geopolitical Zone on the Board of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Ibrahim Ezeani, Executive Secretary of Enugu State Pilgrims’ Welfare Board and Deputy National Secretary of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Sheikh Adam Adbullah  Idoko, the 2019 Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) in Ebonyi State, Dr. Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah, HRH, the Offor of Umuofor Kingdom and Chief Imam of Oguta of Imo State, Dr. Abdulfattah Emetumah represented, a senior lecturer of the Federal University, Lafia, Dr. Suleiman Ogah, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Executive Governor of Abia State, Alhaji (Hon.) Musa Iheakaram, the South East Director of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Arch. Zubayr Usman Ugwu and the Secretary General of Anambra State Muslim Council, Alhaji Sani Ejor.

Other prominent Igbo Muslims who graced the Summit were the Southeast coordinator of Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Hajiya Ruqayyah Ahmad Mika’il represented, Chairman of Imo State Muslim Council, Alhaji Yusuf Nwoha, the Guest Speaker, Alhaji Suleiman Afikpo, Phd, Director of Islamic Center, Uwani-Enugu, Alhaji Musa Ani, Director of Islamic Center Anofia, Ustaz Isa Christian Friday Okonkwo, Board Members of SEMON, legal team of SEMON led by Bar. Haroun Ezeh, amongst others.

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE NATIONAL SUMMIT OF IGBO MUSLIMS OF NIGERIA UNDER THE SOUTH EASTERN MUSLIMS ORGANIZATION OF NIGERIA (SEMON) AT THE ISLAMIC CENTER, UWANI ENUGU, ON SATURDAY 15TH DECEMBER, 2018

Igbo Muslim apex organization, the South Eastern Muslims Organization of Nigeria (SEMON) organized a National Summit for Muslims of Igbo extraction of Nigeria to brainstorm on its existence in Nigeria in relation to the problems faced by the Igbo Muslim Ummah and the opportunities available for its members in their respective States in the South East Geopolitical Zone and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Summit also thoroughly x-rayed the forthcoming 2019 general elections to weigh its pros and cons to the Igbo Ummah and the fulcrum upon which the Igbo Muslims should fully participate and choose candidates. The Summit held at the Islamic Center, Uwani-Enugu, Enugu State, on Saturday 15thDecember, 2018.

Present at the Summit were Igbo Muslim Leaders, Scholars, Academicians, Legal Luminaries, Traditional Rulers, Entrepreneurs and SEMON’s Representatives in the States of the Zone. Also present were the Federal Commissioner of the South East Geopolitical Zone on the Board of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Ibrahim Ezeani, Executive Secretary of Enugu State Pilgrims’ Welfare Board and Deputy National Secretary of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Sheikh Adam Adbullah  Idoko, the 2019 Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) in Ebonyi State, Dr. Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah, HRH, the Offor of Umuofor Kingdom and Chief Imam of Oguta of Imo State, Dr. Abdulfattah Emetumah represented, a senior lecturer of the Federal University, Lafia, Dr. Suleiman Ogah, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Executive Governor of Abia State, Alhaji (Hon.) Musa Iheakaram, the South East Director of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Arch. Zubayr Usman Ugwu and the Secretary General of Anambra State Muslim Council, Alhaji Sani Ejor.

Other prominent Igbo Muslims who graced the Summit were the Southeast coordinator of Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Hajiya Ruqayyah Ahmad Mika’il represented, Chairman of Imo State Muslim Council, Alhaji Yusuf Nwoha, the Guest Speaker, Alhaji Suleiman Afikpo, Phd, Director of Islamic Center, Uwani-Enugu, Alhaji Musa Ani, Director of Islamic Center Anofia, Ustaz Isa Christian Friday Okonkwo, Board Members of SEMON, legal team of SEMON led by Bar. Haroun Ezeh, amongst others.

After presentations, observations and submissions by various speakers and tough deliberations on matters of interest, the Summit reached resolutions as follows:

 

RESOLUTIONS OF THE SUMMIT

 1.     That Igbo Muslims participate fully in the 2019 general elections and vote for candidates of individual choices especially those who will carry Igbo Muslims along with appointments into political offices of trust.

 2.     That Igbo Muslims from now onwards speak in one voice through the South East Muslims Organization of Nigeria (SEMON) through the guidance of the elders and scholars.

 3.     That Igbo Muslims align with the Igbo Agenda. While we appreciate the efforts of our Igbo Leaders in defence of the Ndigbo cause and interest in the Nigeria project, we appeal to the Igbo Leaders of Thought and the Ohaneze Ndigbo to note that their meetings on behalf of the Igbo Nation in this regards without the inclusion and involvement of the Ndigbo Muslims representatives is not a good political strategy. We cannot be decrying the scheming out of Igbos from strategic positions in Nigeria while we internally marginalize and exclude Ndigbo Muslims who have the same stake in the Nigerian project because of their choice of relationship with the Almighty. The tendencies are not good or productive for the development of Igboland and Nation towards the Southeast project of Nigerian Presidency in 2023.       

 4.     That they be proud of and promote Igbo dress, language and culture. They should not isolate themselves from the legitimate demand of the Igbo nation from the central government.

 5.     That Igbo Muslims who are contesting for positions in the forthcoming 2019 general elections be massively supported for success. Prayers should be held for them and for the peaceful conduct of the elections as well as smooth handover to the winners.

6.     That there is the need to institute leaderships of Igbo Muslims in each of the five states of Southeast and of Igboland. This is to have organized leaderships like the Emirs in the North and Obas in the West.

7.     That it is time to define how Igbo Muslims be addressed by other people. They should be known and addressed henceforth as Nd’igbo Muslims. While there are no such attached names as Hausa Muslim or Yoruba Muslim or even Ijaw Muslim, as well as no such popular names as Hausa Christians or Yoruba Christians, the name Igbo Muslim infers some senses of inferiority. Igbo Muslims are not inferiors in Islam which is a universal religion. And the yardstick of closeness to the Lord of Islam – Allah – is piety which any Muslim of any race, including the Igbo, can wear by the Grace of Allah.

8.     That Igbo Muslims must continue to strive for excellence in their private life pursuits and support governments of their respective States and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 9.     That for the progress of the Igbo Muslim Ummah, SEMON continues to advocate for equity and fairness for Igbo Muslims. The Organization should cooperate with governmental and non-governmental organizations that mean well for Nigeria and Igbo Muslims. In that connection, SEMON should follow up its request to meet with the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. SEMON should schedule meetings with each of the Governors of Southeast States, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) in Abuja and Jama’atul Nasiril-Islam (JNI) in Kaduna, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ohaneze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF),Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN), amongst others.

10.   That SEMON institutes an Annual Lecture to commemorate the life and achievements of late Sheikh Ibrahim Okpani Nwagui who brought Islam to limelight in Igboland.

11.    That Igbo Muslims must identify themselves as Nigerians and work for the growth of Nigeria as one united indivisible nation.

 12.    That Igbo Muslims encourage intermarriages amongst themselves and also adopt the Sunnah, the practical life of Prophet Muhammad in all aspects of their lives.  

 Signed by:

 Muhammad Obiahu Ajah Jr., FCIA      

National Chairman

 Abdur-Rahman Nwabueze Urama  

National Secretary

 Yahya Onyedikachi Abugu

National PRO

 ENDORSED BY STATE REPRESENTATIVES

1.     Sheikh Adam Abdullah Idoko (Enugu State)

 2.     Sheikh Dr. Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah (Ebonyi State)

 3.     HRH, Dr. Abdulfattah Emetumah (represented) (Imo State)

 4.     Alhaji (Hon.) Musa Iheakaram (Abia State)

 5.     Alhaji Sani Ejor (Anambra State)

Dated: Saturday 15th December, 2018

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