BREAKING: Chief Imam Ogbomoso asked to ‘step aside’


Imam Teliat Yinusa Oluwasina Ayilara has been asked to step aside as Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland.

This is contained in a letter addressed to him by the Soun-in-Council and signed by Areago of Ogbomosoland, High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin, who is chairman of the council.

In the letter dated January 20, the traditional council hinged its decision on the controversies generated over his true identity, whether he is a true born of Imam Ayilara House,.whose slot he used to get to the position.

The council noted it had received lots of petitions on the matter from the League of Imams and Alfas, various Muslim organizations and from the Ayilara family protesting his holding on to the office.

High Chief Otolorin
Titled, “Resolution by Soun-in-Council and other traditional title holders in Ogbomosoland on Imam Teliat Yinus Olushina Ayilara the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland,” the letter conveying his removal states, “We write to draw your attention to series of petitions and reports received from Ayilara Family and many other Islamic Organizations in Ogbomosoland particularly league of Imams and Alfas in Ogbomosoland and Ogbomoso Muslim Youths on the need to find lasting solution to the regenerating crises over your position as the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland which if not critically looked into may lead to crises in the community.”

The body asserts its authority over the matter when it declares, “Kindly be informed that Soun-in-Council is a part of decision making body on issues affecting Ogbomosoland in general which Chief Imamship is not an exception. Suffice it to say, Late Oba (Dr.) Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III, JP, CON, CFR, the 20th Soun of Ogbomosoland in collaboration with his Executive Chiefs (Ilus) and other traditional title holders unanimously resolved on your choice as the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland hence, their involvement in the process of turbaning your good self as the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland.”

It now orders, “Consequent upon receipt of these petition and complaints coupled with previous unresolved rancour, the llus and other traditional stakeholders held a meeting on Thursday, 19th January, 2023 and unanimously resolved that your good self and the entire Ayilara family should step aside from all the affairs of that position and other Islamic related activities pending amicable negotiations and resolutions which is ongoing.”

The traditional council emphasizes the decision has become imperative to avert crisis in the mould of the 2020 endsars protests that claimed several lives in Ogbomoso, stating, “You will recall that during October 2020 #END SARS protest all over the country, youths were on rampage and Ogbomoso among many other communities got bitter taste of it. A stitch in time saves nine. It is advisable to see this resolution as a means to pre-empt likely hullabaloo in Ogbomosoland.”

To perform his functions the five other Imam houses were saddled, “However, the five (5) Grand Imam Houses should immediately be rotating the activities among themselves.”

These include Aduinin, Abogunde, Bango, Alawiye and Masifa.

Few months ago it emerged that he does not belong to the Ayilara family of Oke-Agbede, whose turn it is to produce the Chief Imam but Ajilogba family.

Some members of the Ayilara family consequently wrote strong worded petitions copying the Soun-in-Council, Ogbomoso League of Imams and Alfas etc demanding his removal forthwith.

But he’s said to have powerful backers including who are alleged to have harnessed various logistics to ensure he is “untouchable.”

In the heat of the battle a group, Ogbomoso Muslim Justice Forum was formed by among others Alhaji Zubair Muhammad Tawfiq (Lobanika compound), with strong presence in the social media.

The group which have about 1, 000 participants in its WhatsApp group alone persistently debated the matter with members issuing uncompromising sermons and messages and calling for the removal of Teliat Yinus.

Meanwhile, at a point, he released a family tree purportedly tracing his ancestry within the Ayilara family. But this was dismissed by his opponents.

Sections of the family rejected the “family tree” just as it was stated that even if he is of Ayilara family the section he claimed is not the Imam section.

He was challenged to swear he is truly of the family which he allegedly refrained.from, he was also asked to explain why his father’s grave was not within the Ayilara compound but somewhere else.

The Ogbomoso Muslim Justice Forum was unrelenting calling on people to stop attending Jumat prayers on Fridays as long as he would lead.

It was a harrowing period so fraught with dangers that security was beefed up anytime there was Jumat prayer. He also allegedly got security agents forming a cordon round him constantly.

At another time the police area command headquarters at Owode Ogbomoso invited some Islamic leaders including those of the OMJF for a tete-a-tete or in the words of the victims “an attempt to intimidate and suppress us,” but this was foiled when over 200 imams and alfas marched to the station. Nonetheless, the group emphasizes its non-violence disposition and constantly preaches peace. The development has therefore provoked widespread jubilation in the group.

A member says, “Alhamdulillah, I can now observe JUMMAH at the central mosque.

“Since the beginning of Yunusa’s case I had stop observing JUMMAH AT OJA’GBO.”

In a message obtained by Alhaji Subair congratulated the faithful while appealing for calm.

Subair also urged the faithful to see the turn of event in the light of “No victor no vanquished.”

In the same vein he appealed against demonstration, peaceful or otherwise, in thanksgiving or what have you?

Meanwhile, the reaction of the embattled removed Imam could not be obtained as at the time of this report as a message sent to his personal assistant RK Teliat was not responded to.

It was a trying period for Islam in Ogbomoso but perhaps by this bold decision of the Soun-in-Council we have seen the end of the hullabaloo.

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