The Oodua Muslim Progressive Council, (OMPC) has warned those calling for Fridays to be declared as public holidays saying such calls are similar to turning Yorubaland to a theatre for religious bigotry and dirty conflict. The OMPC is an arm of the Yoruba self determination groups.
In a statement on Monday and made available to Irohin Oodua (Oodua News), the OMPC warn of a desperate attempt by sponsored agents to demolish the age long tradition of the Yoruba people as the bastion of religious tolerance, peace and understanding. The group also called on the Federal Government to spread the dragnet to include Islamic non-governmental organizations that may be connected with trans-terrorists Islamic groups
“Those calling for Fridays to be observed as a work free day are the arch enemies of the Yoruba people. They are a few despotic elements who probably receive their grants from some foreign countries, including the Islamic Movement of Egypt and need to work hard on the pages of newspapers to justify the blood money they collect”, the OMPC said in a statement issued by Mallam Abdulnasir Kadir Araoye. He said that millions of Yoruba Muslims who work as artisans and self-employed go to work on Fridays and return to the Mosque during the holy hours of prayers. If you are declaring Fridays as work free day, are you going to provide work and food for Yoruba Muslims who need to work on Fridays to earn a living? Last week, Prof Ishaq Akintola, an Islamic scholar called for Fridays to be declared as a work free day for Muslims.
The group also dismissed the claim that the Sultan of Sokoto is the head of Muslims in Nigeria. “This is a false and malicious claim. The Sultan cannot be the head of Yoruba Muslims. He is an usurper. He came to Nigeria in 1804 through violence, killings, looting and cold-blooded brigandage. How can the offspring of such a movement be the head of Nigerian Muslims? There was no record of the position of the Sultan until , this is 300 years after Islam had been established in Yorubaland as a religion of peace.” Even the Sultan did not introduce Islam to the North. There was a Muslim ruler, Umme- Jilmi who reigned between 1085 and 1097. He was converted to Islam by Sheik Mohammed Ibn Mani. In Hausa land, Islam was introduced by Wangarawa merchants. In Yoruba land, Islam came long before Mansa Musa of Mali (d.1337C.E). Islam was a strong religion in Yoruba land from the time of Alaafin Ajiboyede (1560 to 1570 C.E). So how did Sultan become the head of Nigerian Muslims including Yoruba? Who made him the head? Where was the meeting held where he was chosen? The idea of promoting the Sultan over several Yoruba Islamic scholars is a myth and a continuation of the political domination of Nigeria by the Fulani oligarchy. This is unacceptable to the Yoruba people. “Our concern in the 21st century is to go to space, build a Yoruba territory with cherished values, technological development, industrialization, peace and harmony. To achieve this feet we would want to see Yoruba people go to work everyday including Sundays and Fridays. It is a primitive idea to be fighting on Fridays being declared as a work free day.”
The group said Fridays as a working day was not imposed on Nigerians by any Christian group but by the British overlords. Nigeria has been living as a “give and take country.” The British handed over power to a reactionary Muslim Fulani North. There are Islamic inscriptions on Nigerian currency adding that asking for Fridays as a perpetual public holiday will lead to the loss of jobs and dwindling employment opportunities for the Muslim population.
“If you ask Muslims not to work on Fridays, we can assure you that many private employers will not like to employ Muslims any longer even if this policy is restricted to the Government employees. We also wish to know if we as Muslims will have to work on Christmas day and on Sundays. Will these elements also advocate for a change in the Western Calendar which is used in Nigeria? This is an irresponsible demand, a clear attempt to set the Yoruba nation and Nigeria on the cause of violence and disorder. We call on Yoruba people, especially youths to watch out for paranoid scholars who are using the name of religion for financial gains from some foreign countries at the expense of the poor Muslim population who desire happiness, justice, food and security.
Araoye added “We are watching these wicket plots. Yoruba people will rise up and prevent our territory from sliding into bloodletting and violence through the evil plans of the enemies within, who go by Yoruba names but their hears are filled with evil plots against their own people.” The group said those who want to exploit religion to eat should do so but should not drag Yoruba land land into their “business and unbridled exploitation of the Muslim population.” An official of the OPC, Mallam Idris Olukehinde at Ibadan said his groups support the OPMC adding that the OPC and Yoruba self determination groups are worried about “evil plots to "Talibanise" Yoruba land.”