Tuesday, May 26, 2020 6:07 pm
The programme on Radio Kogi, 93.5 FM was meant to educate and calm frayed nerves on a leadership tussle over the Chief Imam of Ebiraland. The former Chief Imam, Sheik Musa Galadima had passed on last year. Rather than reduce tension however, Asuku’s comments widened the gulf of religious intolerance in the Confluence State.
Moderator of the programme Halimat Salisu had rated Asuku as representing his boss therefore hyping expectations on his remarks. Although he spoke mostly in Ebira, an online platform, AbujaReporters captured the engagement.
Asuku condemned the rift between members of the Izala and the Tijanniyah sects and derogatively accused them of behaving like “modern day Christians who have neglected the teachings of Jesus Christ, a Muslim, and gone after Barnabas and Paul who coined the concept of Christianity.”
While the presenter tried to caution him against making such remarks, the CoS went on “My plea to the Islamic Ummah in Ebira land is that for God’s sake, they have started exhibiting Christianity. The Muslims in Ebira land have deviated to Christianity ignorantly. The reason why I am saying this is that in the Qur’an, Hadith and the Prophet that we are all following, it is not written anywhere that there is Shi’ite, Izala, Terriqqa, Tijanniyah, Salafiya, Ahmadiyya, Quraniyu or any other sect in Islam. God told us to obey the five pillars of Islam and obey him as the only God.
“This is the same message He sent to Christians of old through Jesus Christ who we call Prophet Isa. But, modern day Christians have today turned their religion upside down. The Ebira Muslim Ummah has today turned their religion to the way of modern day Christians because of this Imamate issue. There is nothing like that in Islam. What they are doing is modern Christianity”.
Efforts by the presenter to lure him back to line saw him retorting. “Don’t be in a rush. I have a reason for saying that because I am heading somewhere. Even you will still have to go and check your Bible today.
“The old era Christians who followed Jesus Christ used to call him “Teacher”. He was sent to the Israelites and given the Bible. We Muslims call him the spirit of God. Jesus told Christians that there is only one God who created him. You can check this in the Bible book of Deuteronomy 6:4. Jesus said and I quote;
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one’. Jesus told the old era Christians in the book of Mark 12:19 when he was asked about God that; ‘Hear O’ Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one’. Still in the book of Mark 10:32, the Israelites affirmed what Jesus had been telling them, saying, ‘O Teacher, you said it and you are right. The Lord our God is one’.
“Look, Jesus was a Muslim. Anyone who is worshipping God in Ebira land know that all we have talked about now is Islam. There is no other god but Allah alone and there is none beside Him, according to the Qur’an. The same thing that Jesus said then is what the Qur’an has said now.
“It was after Jesus died that Saint Barnabas and Paul stood up and coined the word Christian, to mean Christ-like, long after the death of Jesus Christ. That is the Christian religion that people are following today. That was not the religion of Jesus and that is what those struggling to become Imam are bringing into Islam today”, Asuku declared.
He said the governor would not have been involved in the issue of chosing an Imam were it not for he fact that as the State’s Chief Executive, the security and well-being of the society rests on his shoulders.
“We won’t sit down and allow Ebira land to be engulfed in crisis, otherwise the governor is too big to come home and be participating in the process of picking an Imam”, he said in the 44 minutes, 20 seconds video.
Asuku warned Ebira youths against abusing the state governor on the social media, promising that one of such people would soon be made a scapegoat in order to serve as a deterrent to others.
He queried why the people would be looking for imaginary fault lines in the administration instead of hailing the governor “for seeing through the facade called Covid-19 and protecting his people accordingly”.
Understandably, the comments have not gone down well with many people in the area who accused the governor’s side of trying to stoke an inter-religious crisis having failed to resolve the crisis regarding who becomes the Chief Imam of the Okene Central Mosque.
Many Christians have accused Asuku of religious bigotry and demanded for an apology over “his embarrassing remarks about Christianity.”