Afonja Descendants Union (ADU) of Ilorin has appealed to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state to grade traditional rulers in the five local government areas which make up the Ilorin Emirate Council.
In a statement jointly signed by President General and Secretary of the socio-cultural organization, Alhaji Olola Kasum and Alhaji Hassan Amao, the group called for equity and justice in the grading of traditional rulers in the area.
“A situation whereby Yoruba monarchs, who included Oba of Jebba, Ohoro of Shao, Oluo of Oke-Oyi, Alapado of Apado, Afonja of Ilorin, Dado of Oke-so, Alajagusi of Ajagusi and Baale of Afon among others are not graded, which is against the oath of allegiance taken by the Emir of Ilorin to ensure equity and justice to all monarchs in the Emirate”, the statement said.
Referring to chapter 7, page 31 of a book, “Ilorin, the Journey so far”, written by an Historian, L. A. K. Jimoh where Abdulsalami, the first Emir of Ilorin was recognized as Emir of Yoruba by Gwandu Caliphate in 1842, the Afonja Descendants Union lamented that the Emir was not living up to expectation by denying the monarchs their constitutional rights.
“The Emir of Ilorin is enjoying the privileges for permanent first-class Emir of Yoruba and thus not advisable to deny his Yoruba subjects their constitutional rights.
“He should learn from the verdict of the past namely; 1913, 1936, 1958, 1969, 1978. He should allow peace to reign.
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“The Afonja Descendants Union is appealing to the Kwara State government under inspiring Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to rise up to the occasion to reverse the current trend where some people try to distort historical facts” the statement said.
The group also called on the state government and the Emir of Ilorin to call suspected distortionists to order before they disrupt existing peace and tranquility in the emirate under the guise of Jihad.
The people, who said that the people of Ilorin did not embrace Islam through jihad, added that, “Ilorin City is not a product of Jihad, but heritage of cooperation between prowess and genius as symbolized by Afonja and Alimi. Islam had been existing in Ilorin before the arrival of Alimi who came on the invitation of Afonja.
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“Afonja as the ruler of Ilorin did not resist Alimi’s entry to spread Islam but rather facilitated it as he personally assisted him consolidate his young independence.
“Afonja appointed Alimi as his Chief Security Adviser, an assignment the Sheikh performed creditably to the glory of God as there was no recorded case of misunderstanding between the two friends during the life time of Sheikh Alimi.
“Islam already existed in Ilorin before Alimi’s arrival at the invitation of Afonja. The Islamic faithful conducted their religious affairs peacefully without any recorded case of persecution from the palace.
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“It is on record that the relationship that subsisted between Mallam Solagberu, the leader of Okesuna Muslim community and Afonja was exceptionally cordial and that on the arrival of Alimi in Ilorin, Solagberu of Okesuna acted as interpreter between Alimi and Afonja, as host and guests were mutually deficient in each other’s language.
“Ilorin is a state of Harmony founded on the heritage of prowess and genius symbolized by Afonja and Alimi. Hence the cliche: Ilorin Afonja”, the statement noted.