Ondo monarch faces sanctions over appointment of Chief Imam
The Ondo State Government has given the Olukare of Ikare Akoko, Kadiri Momoh, 24 hours ultimatum to reverse his appointment of a new chief Imam for the town’s central Mosque, adding no gathering of any kind should take palace in Olukare’s palace henceforth.
The appointment of the acting chief imam was a disobedience to the recognition of the proper imam by the state government.
The state government on Monday gave Mr Momoh the ultimatum to reverse the appointment or be dethroned.
However, it was learnt that factions of the Muslim community in Ikare Akoko have been fighting over the leadership of the central mosque since last year.
The Olukare was said to have sacked the chief Imam, Abubakar Muhammed, over some allegations, the decision which had caused chaos in the community and stalled the normal worship at the central mosque.
The Olukare is seen as the leader of the Muslim community in the town.
But Mr Muhammed have the nod of the state government and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in the state.
The state government argued that the appointment of an acting chief Imam would undermine the peace in the community and frustrate its efforts to put an end to the crisis in the town.
According to the letter signed by the Acting Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa on Monday, and addressed to the Olukare, the state government condemned the appointment of acting chief imam, describing it as unfortunate especially at the time it was trying to resolve the crises in the ancient town.
“This alleged action, to say the least, is most unfortunate and least expected of a traditional ruler who is desirous of a lasting peace in his domain,” the statement notes.
“That the state government is embarrassed by this decision is to say the obvious and will take serious exception to this action at this critical time in the history of Ikare.”
Meanwhile the Olukare was then order to tender an unreserved apology to the state government for his action.
The state government also gave directive that the acting chief Imam should stop parading himself as the Chief Imam of Ikare-Akoko henceforth, stressing that it recognizes only the incumbent.
The government also suspended any prayer gathering or congregation anywhere during the forthcoming Eld-el-Fitri in Ikare-Akoko.
It also warned that no congregation or gathering of any kind should hold or take place in Olukare’s Palace henceforth.
The government then ordered the Olukare to, “as a matter of deliberate policy, maintain peace in the whole of Ikare-Akoko otherwise he would be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the area.”
It was gathered that apart from the leadership crisis in the central mosque, there is also a conflict between the Olukare and the Owa-Ale, Adeleke Adedoyin, the two monarchs heading different sections of Ikare.
But the promotion of the Owa-Ale to the first class cadre last year by the state government made the rivalry to take a new height and caused commotion in Ikare town
The recurring clashes had forced the government to impose curfews and shut down schools. The government had vowed to keep the central Mosque locked until the factions embrace peace.
The incumbent Chief Imam was turbaned 27 years ago and had led the mosque since then until the elevation of the Owa -Ale.
He said those against him were opposed to the policies of the state government.