The title of this article was not originally coined by yours sincerely. It is rather an adaptation of the title of a television documentary projected by a late African Professor of Political History, Ali Mazrui of Kenya, in the early 1980s. He entitled the documentary ‘The Africans: A Triple Heritage’.
The adaptation of that topic here becomes necessary because of the coincidence of history the type that gingered Mazrui into coining that topic.
Today, history, being a teacher, has come back to the classroom to repeat itself to its numerous but willing students.
Today’s Muslim generation in Nigeria is passing through a paved path of history without taking notice of it. This 20th Sultan is of triple heritage. As the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council (NSCIA) he is a religious leader. By virtue of his national royal status he is a political leader. And as a retired Brigadier-General, he is a military leader.
Thus, his triple heritage is complete. Such an incomparable colossus cannot be equated with any rascally charlatan trying to seek national relevance with the clout of His Eminence in the garb of a religious leader.
‘The Wings’ of History
On Sunday, March 27, 2016, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni landed in the Southwest of Nigeria like a beaming sun in full regalia of royalty.
On arrival at Ibadan Airport, he was received by a galaxy of well-meaning Muslim personalities from the six states of the Southwest some of who formed his entourage to Iwo, the city of Scholars.
That entourage was led by no other personality than His Excellency, Dr. Sakariyau Olayiwola (S. O.) Babalola, the President of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN).
At Iwo, His Eminence first paid a courtesy royal visit to the palace of Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul Rasheed Adewale Akanbi.
The latter joined His Eminence in commissioning the magnificent Mosque of ‘The Wings Schools’ where the bird of ‘Peace’ flies with the ‘Wings’ of knowledge. With its imposing grandeur, the Mosque has capacity to accommodate over 2,000 worshippers. And that provides an opportunity for the Muslims in the environs to observe their Jum’at prayer in the Mosque with ease every Friday.
While commissioning the Mosque by unveiling the plague that bore his name, His Eminence who was not in a hurry to leave the city of scholars, praised the proprietor of the schools, Prof Lai Olurode, for facilitating with peace, an indelible platform of knowledge for the people of Iwo in particular and those of the Southwest in general.
He also offered a special prayer for the final year pupils of the secondary school and encouraged the generality of Iwo Muslims to maintain peace even in the face of provocation, saying Islam is about peace and not about violence.
Quoting copiously from the Qur’an and Sunnah, he admonished Nigerians, especially non-Muslims, who often blame the misbehaviour of some Muslims on Islam to desist from such deliberate malignance.
Asserting that there are no religious adherents in the world today without blemish, His Eminence concluded that Islam is the mirror through which Muslims should be viewed and assessed rather than the other way round.
After commissioning the Mosque in the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful, he led the congregation in the observance of Salatu-dh-Dhuhr making him the first Sultan ever to carry out such a duty in Osun State.
First in History
The coming of His Eminence to Iwo last Sunday was the first by any Sultan in over 214 years of the Sultanate in Nigeria. Besides, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar is the first and only Sultan to bring all Nigerian Muslims under a unified protective umbrella in history.
Ever since he ascended the throne 10 years ago, he has paid meaningful visits to all parts of Nigeria rallying the Muslims in those parts towards peace and progress.
He has thus earned the absolute confidence of Southern Nigerian Muslims who were hitherto skeptical of the northern leadership of Islam in Nigeria.
The effective participation of Southern Muslims in the affairs of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) today through a number of leadership roles is a glaring attestation to this fact.
The fountain of knowledge
In Osogbo, the Osun State capital, there is a private citadel of knowledge and civilisation named ‘Fountain University’. The reason for naming it so is to enable it to be like an ancient well in the desert valley of Makkah called ‘Zam Zam’ meaning ‘Drink, Drink’.
The well has been there for thousands of years serving hundreds of millions of people in all seasons without a halt. Zam Zam is an evidence of Allah’s special blessing for mankind in the past, in the present and in the future.
Here is a well that never dries and the water is with neither colour nor odour. The more the water from Zam Zam well is consumed the more the well produces the water.
In recent times, some airlines in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian government introduced a system whereby every pilgrim that wants it is provided with ten litres of Zam Zam as a parting gift.
Thus, such pilgrims go back to their countries with the sacred water that heals ailments and enhances faith.
With this, there is hardly any country in the world today without the knowledge and benefit of Zam Zam.
Globally, therefore, Muslims know Zam Zam as the grace of Allah which no other religion is endowed with. If Zam Zam had been an attribute of a religion other than Islam it would have been called miracle water.
Incidentally, the river that gives the State of Osun its name is called River Osun. The name Osun is a Yoruba word meaning ‘Fountain’. But the function of that is a mythological aberration which cannot in anyway be equated with Zam Zam. While Osun, a coloured and odoruant stream is worshipped as a god, the well called Zam Zam, is seen and believed to be Allah’s grace with absolute purity for the benefit of mankind.
The similitude of Fountain University therefore, is like that of Zam Zam, an inexhaustible fountain of knowledge and morality with the fear of Allah.
In this University, students who are thirsty for knowledge and civility can drink and drink from its fountain to their fill.
That Fountain University is sited in a ‘Fountain’ State is another historical coincidence which could have been made possible only by Allah. And that is probably why the Fountain University is based on the fear of Allah.
Projects of Progress
As part of his royal and spiritual itinerary in the Southwest region, His Eminence spent three days in the State of Osun where most of his time was spent at the Fountain University.
On the first day which was Sunday, March 27, 2016, he laid the foundation stone of a 38-room Guest House being donated by Dr. Adul Rauf Wale Babalakin, SAN at the University after paying a royal and brotherly visit to His Royal Majesty, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Larooye II, The Ataoja of Osogbo.
Some other donors chose to be anonymous saying their donation were to the course of Allah who alone can reward human beings on their good deeds.
On Monday, March 28, 2016, His Eminence commissioned an imposing two storey Senate building that will accommodate the University Senate, the Vice-Chancellor’s office and those of his deputies as well as the University Registrar’s and some other top officers of the University.
The magnificent building was donated by the President of MUSWEN, His Excellency, Dr. Sakariyau Olayiwola Babalola, OON.
The Sultan then attended the University’s convocation lecture delivered by Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Mutawalin Sokoto and then laid the foundation stone of the University Mosque being donated by Alhaji A. W. A. Ibrahim.
He also laid the foundation stone of a 22 room female hostel being donated by Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali, SAN. In the lecture entitled “Religious Tolerance and the Challenges of Democratic Governance in Nigeria”, Alhaji Tambuwal said among other things that:
“Obviously, religious intolerance in itself is the outcome of the way and manner that religious education is taught in various religious groups.
“This is especially glaring in terms of insurgency, which is, for the most part, caused by poor education or the lack of it and religious bigotry. However, all factors as mentioned have been amplified by the nation’s conspicuous challenges to do with unemployment, poverty and leadership deficit…”. He then enumerated the causes of religious disharmony in the country as follows:
1.Conflicts or misunderstanding fuelled by socio political, economic and governance factors.
2.Disharmony facilitated by government’s neglect, oppression, domination and related discriminated processes.
3.Conflicts and disharmony aggravated by the weak nature of State institutions.
4.Conflicts and disharmony provoked by, for example, disparaging publications, vilification of other people’s views, values and wrong perception of other peoples’ faith.
5.Conflicts essentially triggered by religious intolerance, fundamentalism and extremism which are mostly caused by poor education or lack of it”.
After the lecture, Alhaji Tambuwal announced his personal donation of the University’s College of Law, the building of which he promised to commence soon. All the donations were within the launching of an endowment fund raising of five billion naira. But the donations were still far from the targeted sum.
Honour for the honourable
On Tuesday, March 29, 2016, His Eminence was honoured with the conferment of the Fountain University’s doctoral degree (Honoris Causa) during the 4th and 5th combined convocation ceremony of the University.
Former Osun State Governor Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola also shared in the honour with a similar conferment.
The official conferment on both men of honour was done by the Chancellor of the University, Sheikh Ahmad Lemu, the former Grand Qadi of Niger State.
In all, about 370 students graduated with five of them coming excelling with First Class.
The Pro-Chancellor of the Fountain University is the immediate past Vice- Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, whose influence in attracting projects to the University is immeasurable.
An indefatigable personality, Prof Oloyede is known for working tirelessly and dedicatedly for the success of anything progressive thing he believes in.
As a man of many parts and focus, Oloyede believes that the greatest treasure for social and political wellbeing in any community is manpower.
Thus, he took it as a personal assignment to build men and women of letters and honour for the future of Nigeria. This, he has done innumerably without expecting any gratitude from any mortal being.
If the opening poem in this article is fitting to any contemporary Nigerian Muslim, Oloyede ranks topmost. His disposition to making great men and women is legendary.
Unknown to the author of the following poem, there is an African called Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede who stands conspicuously out of the pack to bear the name of the principal character in that poem without showing it off. The poem goes thus:
“Who shares his life’s pure pleasure and walks the honest road; Who trades with heaping measure and lifts his brother’s load; who turns the wrong down bluntly and lends the right a hand; he dwells in God’s own country and tills the holy land”. We are all witnesses.
The Great Duo
The combination of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto as President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Prof Oloyede as the Secretary-General of that apex Muslim Council is unprecedented in the 54 years of the existence of that Council.
If any Nigerian Muslim generation can ever be said to be fortunate, the current generation is surely the one.
We pray the Almighty Allah to spare the lives of this duo with very sound health and continuous Allah’s guidance that they may jointly be able to pilot the affairs of Nigerian Muslim Ummah to the Cape of Good Hope. Amin!