(A two part series detailing the advent of a radical fundamentalist to the heights of political power in Nigeria)
    This article is of the sincere opinion that the current Governor of Osun State is a political front for the onslaught on Nigeria by the ever present threat of religious fundamentalism predicated by the puritanical Wahabi sect that emanated from Saudi Arabia in the 18th century. This strain of Islam is both political and belligerent in nature! Its aims are to return Islam to its Salafist roots where the Holy Quran is interpreted literally and such barbaric acts as chopping off limbs for theft and stoning for adulterous behavior is condoned. It is with grave concern and a deep sense of responsibility that I commit this excerpt of my deepest thoughts on paper regarding the person and government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola the incumbent governor of Osun state. It should be noted that any form of extremism is not only an affront to secularity but also a challenge to both moderate Muslims, Christians, traditional worshippers as well as agnostic atheists alike hence this write up should not be misconstrued as an attack on that very interesting and poetic religion of peace called Islam. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>> We are all victims of fundamentalism as can be garnered from the indiscriminate way the Boko Haram is murdering civilians both Christians and Muslims alike. Also, it should be understood that Islam in its purest form is peaceful in nature however the current renewal movements that are represented by this Wahabism and Salafist strand are a global threat to all other forms of Islam as well as other religions.

    This opinion is further verified by a recent bomb scare in Osun of all the south west states where an Improvised Explosive Device IED was found in the banking hall of a high street bank . This scare also comes with the attendant risk of a potentially successful bomb threat in our state of the living spring! I believe this near miss was what finally drove me to share my thoughts on the subject matter as well as clear the air for my numerous supporters on why I find it ever so difficult to agree with the principles, character and attendant fanaticism that comes with the person of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

    This brings me to my brief analysis of why we must all take a deeper look at the nature of the Islamic renewal movements, the role of fundamentalist Islam in modern Nigerian politics, the evil and deadly jihadist movements that seem to be creeping into the national psyche in relation to my fanatical kinsman Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

    The Salafi or Wahabi strain of Islam is a divergent view on moderate Islam. They believe in the attainment of political power as well as total submission without translational adulteration to the tenets of the Quran and the Hadiths as a prerequisite to being a real Muslim. They abhor the philosophical interpretations of the Quran and would rather just adhere to the literal interpretations as espoused in the life of the Prophet Mohammed S.A. W. They do not see anything wrong in the establishment of a truly Islamic society where other religions are relegated to the background and made the sole preserve of the infidels. These movements are such that they even go as far as labeling moderate Muslims as infidels because of their sympathies towards the larger secular society. In essence they are advocates of a complete return to the life of the “Salafs” a term used to denote the first and early set of Muslims known to the world. In recent times this movement has developed two strands. One being the prophetic and evangelical strand which preaches these ideologies in mosques across the nation and the more notorious one represented by the likes of the Alqueada and its offshoots such as the Alqueada in the Maghreb A.Q.I.M and our own local interpretation of same- the dreaded Boko Haram! They all have one thing in common I.e. they abhor western ways and would rather establish and live in a Sharia based society where Islamic tenets are truly and literally adhered to! It is worthy of note at this point to say that the US intelligence community frowns upon any preacher that follows the Wahabbi message as these are perceived as the precursors to the more violent jihadist movements.

    The first notable success of this movement was the enthronement of the Saudi empire through an alliance between the founder of the sect Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and the progenitor of the Saudi empire Mohammad Ibn Saud. The pact reads that the Wahabis would help the Sauds create an Islamic State called Kingdom of Saudi Arabia whilst the Sauds pledged to help spread the Wahabi strand of Islam till time immemorial. They achieved the first feat in the year 1932 with the creation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plus the subsequent capture of Mecca and Medina by the House of Sauds. At this juncture in modern history the Wahabi message was entrenched as a state sponsored religious movement! The discovery of Oil and the subsequent wealth of the House of Saud should show the discerning mind the likely and infinite source of funding for the various Salafist movements across the globe, be it of the Jihadist kind or of the seemingly benign evangelical strand . This movement has since spread far and beyond the realms of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia into sub Saharan Africa and has since developed a life of its own. Any surprise that Bin ladens family wealth is also directly traced to the Saudi dynasty?

    I’m sure you are wondering by now the link between this feudalistic Arabian story and my subject matter. The reality is that this puritanical strand of Islam with all its accouterments has berthed itself in Nigeria and is now prevalently preached in its evangelical form across most part of the North and the South West of Nigeria in particular. The other more violent part of this same strand of Islam is what we are currently experiencing in the North Eastern part of Nigeria today. The ideology can be observed starting from their agenda and their modus operandi. Whilst it may sound preposterous for a typical Yoruba man to believe that this agenda is real, I would implore all and sundry to take a cue from the activities of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration in Osun and compare it to that of any fundamentalist regime world wide most particularly that of the Saudis themselves. Take note that it is due to this same fundamentalist tendencies that bans women from driving in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the school of thought believes that humans are created with the body parts that delineates their pursuits on earth; hence since a woman doesn’t have the natural endowments of a driver so she should not be allowed the privilege of driving!

    By their fruits we shall know them. This is what comes to mind as I juxtapose the policy direction of my Governor with that of the principles of the Salafist movement as practiced by a guileful Wahabi adherent in power such as Aregbesola.

    The first activity of Aregbesola that raised an eyebrow for me was his insistence on the use of the Hijra Islamic Calendar in Osun State. I was shocked to my marrow whist driving through Oshogbo the state capital sometime in the year 2013 and I saw a bill bard around Oke-fia roundabout which clearly was wishing Muslims a Happy New Year for the Hijra Year 1434. I found this rather weird and mind bogging as i had never heard of the term Hijra Year or what it meant. I was also of the opinion that Osun state being a secular state should only use the known secular calendar that was derived from the Roman calendar system. Upon research I realized that the only country that adhered to this calendar system was the Wahhabism enclave called The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a few other Islamic states such as the Taliban Afghanistan and other fully Islamized states……… (To be continued)

    Written by Chief Daniel Bankole Afilaka the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Osun State Chapter of the Labour Party, an Author, Peace Ambassador and Social commentator. He has an undying passion for his State and a patriotic zeal for his country that cannot be denied even by his detractors.

    Facebook Comments