Chief Imam sues prominent monarch over alleged plan to sack him

Talia Ayilara, the Chief Imam of Ogbomoso, has taken the Soun of Ogbomoso land, Oba Afolabi Olaoye, and the Soun In- Council to court over claimed attempts to remove him from office.

According to the Daily Post, the suit HOG/7/2024 will be determined by the Oyo State High Court, Ogbomoso Division.

The Chief Imam was installed in November 2021 during the reign of the immediate former Soun of Ogbomoso land, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, and the current Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, was installed in September 2023 by the kingmakers led by the Are Ago of Ogbomoso, High Chief Sobalaje Otolorin.

The Imam alleged that the defendants had threatened to depose him as the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomoso.

Ayilara, the 13th Chief Imam of Ogbomoso land, stated in an affidavit in support of the move on notice sworn to at the High Court Registry in Ogbomoso on February 12 that he was nominated by the Muslim Community’s Surah committee.

Ayilara argued that the defendants were nominated to reign under Ogbomoso’s laws and customs in accordance with the traditional titles they possess and had no authority to remove him from office.

He went on to say that the Muslim community, led by the Chief Imam, is responsible for the Central Mosque in Ogbomoso and other mosques, as well as their administration.

The Chief Imam stated that the appointment of Imams wherever in the world is governed by Islamic regulations, and that the right to designate a Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomoso territory is reserved for Muslims in the Ogbomoso community, and the appointment is carried out in line with Islamic rules.

He stated that the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomoso territory is not a chieftaincy or traditional title, and so is not under the administration or supervision of the traditional council.

He then asked the court to prevent the defendants from removing him from the position.

Ayilara said, “I say that the central mosque in Ogbomoso land and other mosques and the administration of the mosques is bestowed on the Muslim community headed by Imam, Chief Imam or Grand Chief Imam which I am one. I know that the appointment of an Imam anywhere in the world is regulated by Islamic rules and tenets as it is not a chieftaincy or hereditary title.

“I also say that the right to appoint Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomoso land is the prerogative of Muslims in the Ogbomoso community and the appointment is done under Islamic rules. I know that based on settled Islamic rules, the Imam is appointed by the entire Muslim members of the community through a committee called the Surah Committee.

“The Surah Committee is a screening committee constituted by Muslim elders/leaders in the Muslim community to make decisions on Muslim affairs which include the appointment of Imams.

“Following the demise of the immediate past Grand Imam of Ogbomoso land, Sheikh Al Aman Yekeen Adegboyega Asafa, sometime in October 2021, the need to appoint a new Grand Chief Imam for Ogbomoso land arose and I was considered suitable for the position of Chief Grand Imam of Ogbomoso land after a screening exercise conducted by Surah Committee led by Alhaji Alimi Surajudeen, the Parakoyi Adini of Ogbomoso land.

“I was appointed the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomoso land in November 2021 and since then, I have been discharging my responsibilities as Grand Chief Imam under Islamic rules and tenets. However, the defendants, particularly the 1st Defendant who is a Christian, sometime in January 2024, a few months after his installation as the new paramount ruler of Ogbomoso land, threatened to remove me as the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomoso land.

“That the threat of my removal became more pronounced when I approached the Honourable Court to restrain the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State from removing or suspending me as the Grand Chief Imam of Ogbomoso land and an interim order was granted to that effect”.

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