It’s a glorious event, thing of joy for us – MUSWEN VP Ebiti With the title, Sheikh Ajani Bello has bigger responsibilities – Sheikh Akewugbagold His selection not monetary; well deserved, says Prof. Salawudeen

By Ajape Sefiu A.

Southwest Nigerian scholars have praised prominent Muslim preacher, Sheikh Muhyideen Ajani Bello, for his decades-long, unwavering efforts to disseminate the universality of Islamic teachings around the world, which directly benefits leaders and followers.

This was made known in a statement on Sunday, April 21, at LTV 8, Lagos, where Sheikh Ajani Bello was turbaned as Sultanul Waa’izeen (King of Islamic preachers) in Yorubaland.

The title was bestowed on the Ibadan, Oyo State-born fearless Muslim scholar and Chief Imam and Missioner of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Northern States Council, by the Supreme Council for Islamic Preachers in Southwest.

The title, a perfect fit for Sheikh Ajani Bello – Council President

President of the Council, Sheikh Taofeeq Akewugbagold, said the title is a perfect fit for Sheikh Muhyideen Ajani Bello, whom he noted is in a very good position to be the leader of all Islamic preachers in Yorubaland.

“Sheikh Muhyideen Bello is an epitome of virtues. He embodies the good character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Baba measures up to all our criteria. Baba has been a preacher for over 60 years, yet he has a stain-free image. Most importantly, he is a fearless preacher. He has called out those in the corridors of power without fear or favour.

“However, despite being like a lion while speaking the truth and passing the message of Islam, Sheikh Muhyideen Bello is very soft in human relations to both Muslims and non-Muslims. Baba is an epitome of virtues. May Almighty Allah continue to bless him with good health and long life,” Sheikh Akewugbagold said.

Speaking further, the Council President said that Sheikh Ajani Bello now has a bigger responsibility with the title, as he is expected to provide leadership in solidifying Muslim scholars and the ummah in southwest Nigeria.

“All these messy fights between scholars on the internet should come to an end. We want Baba to be the go-to person for the Sultan of Sokoto to consult on the affairs of Islam in southwest Nigeria.

“Baba cannot do it alone. MUSWEN is there. The Rabitah is there. Ansar-Ud-Deen is there, among other notable leadership of Islamic organisations in the southwest. Let’s face a single target of promoting Islam.”

Process of selection of Sultanul Waa’izeen

Speaking on the process that led to the selection of the fearless preacher, Sheikh Akewugbagold said more than 20 great scholars from Yorubaland were shortlisted for the position, but Baba Muhyideen Bello stood out.

He said, “In terms of virtues, Baba Muhyideen Bello stood out. In terms of Islamic education, he’s excellent. In terms of courageous preaching, he’s excellent. He also has a good relationship with scholars and people across the south and north of Nigeria. So, there are a lot of qualities seen in him. Baba is a unifying factor and a bridge builder. He is a personality everyone will respect. He is a blunt preacher. Even, we in the council know Baba will correct us when we are wrong, and we are expecting that.”

Akewugbagold told Islamic preachers in Yorubaland that they have a worthy leader and role model in the Sultanul Waa’izeen.

“Islamic scholars should be careful not to become decadent because of the high level of moral decadence in the society today,” he added.

It’s a glorious event, thing of joy for us, says MUSWEN VP

The Deputy President I of the Southwest Muslim Ummah of Nigeria (MUSWEN), Alhaji Rafiu Adisa Ebiti described the gathering as a glorious event, adding that, “the thing of joy is that our father, Oniwasi Agbaye, Sheikh Ajani Bello, is recognised locally and internationally. That’s a good development for the Muslim ummah and for everybody. We know that he is an erudite scholar and preacher. We give glory to Almighty Allah.”

He commended the Council for honouring Sheikh Ajani Bello with the title, urging them to be more active and do the needful in propagating the message of peace which Islam brought to mankind.

He is a blunt scholar who tells truth to leaders, led: Guest lecturer

In his remarks, the Guest Lecturer, Sheikh Abdulfatah Muhammad Raji (Athaqofy), commended Sheikh Ajani Bello for being a fearless and blunt scholar who tells home truth to the government and people.

He said the Sheikh has been in the field of Islamic da’wah for a very long time and he is known to be a unifier who strengthens the bond between Muslims.

“Sheikh Muhyideen Bello has been working on Islamic affairs for a very long time. We know him to be a fearless and blunt scholar who says the truth to government and people. He is also a unifier who strengthens the bond between members of the Muslim community in our region.

“I urge all other Islamic preachers to learn from Baba. He has excellent human relations. He is not involved in unnecessary infighting and quarrelling with people. He is an easy-going person and a philanthropist.

“Let’s do what Islam teaches us rightly. Islam teaches obedience to Allah. Islam teaches good human relations, even extending same to those who are not Muslims,” the guest lecturer said.

His selection not monetary, well-deserved: Prof. Salawudeen

Also speaking, chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ahmed Salawudeen said the Council which bestowed Sheikh Ajani Bello with the Sultanul Waa’izeen title is not known to be a gathering of inconsequential scholars.

He added that Sheikh Ajani Bello merited the title for his principle of ‘do as I say and more importantly, do as I do’.

“This selection was not based on monetary inducement. It was not based on political pressure. I can also assure you that it was not based on personal lobbying. The Council’s choice sends a message that values are not dead in Nigeria.

“My relationship with Alhaji Ajani Bello dates back several years. Some of us who know him as “Oniwasi Agbaye” (Global Preacher) can attest to the fact that he is a leader who has lived his life on the principle of ‘do as I say and more importantly, do as I do’.

“In an age where many religious leaders of all denominations are compromised by seeking crumbs from politicians, hence tying their lips to speak the truth to power, Alhaji Bello has remained a beacon of contentment. In all my years of knowing him, I have never heard of him loitering around the corridors of power hustling for contracts.”

Prof. Salawudeen said the gathering was a honour for a man who has stood for the truth all his life, noting “we need more of the truth in a society that has exalted deceit.”

My first encounter with Sheikh Ajani Bello – Alhaji Tella

Recalling his first encounter with Sheikh Ajani Bello, the Otun Imam of Eewo community, Alhaji Abdulfatah Tella, said it was surprising he didn’t take a dime from them when he was invited to give a lecture all the way from Kano.

“I’ve known Sheikh Muhyideen Bello for well over 30 years. My first encounter with him was when we (members of MSSN) had a motor accident, but graciously Allah sustained us. So, after the incident, we invited Baba all the way from Kano.

“What was surprising was that we made arrangements for petrol to fuel his car, but he didn’t accept it. He said he had fuel and was only looking forward to the reward of Allah (SWT). He didn’t accept a dime from us. He even contributed to our treasury, telling us then to look for an impactful project to execute with the funds we were able to raise at this programme. I was really impressed by that gesture.

“Baba has a very good personality. I pray Allah to grant him longer life and rectify all his affairs,” Alhaji Tella stated.

Sheikh Aafakallah says title well-deserved for Sheikh Muhyideen Bello

Sheikh AbdulRazaq Muhammad Bashir (Aafakallah) for his part, said Baba earned the title by dint of hard work and on account of his good character as a leading Islamic preacher in Yorubaland.

“I urge all Islamic scholars and preachers in Yorubaland to follow Baba’s example. Baba is bold and straightforward. He is upright, and I must say he stands out,” he said.

“Our prayer is for Almighty Allah to grant him good health and longer life. I believe he still has a lot to offer.”

In his acceptance remarks, the honoree, Sheikh Ajani Bello, said he ordinarily does not accept titles and awards, saying his Islamic da’wah is for the sake of Allah.

He appreciated members of his family, friends, associates and other dignitaries who graced the occasion, praying Allah to reward them abundantly.

The Islamic preacher said he recognises the burden and responsibilities of the title bestowed on him, saying he would offer his best in bringing sanity among Muslim scholars in the southwest.

According to him, he rarely intervenes in social media disputes between scholars, even when he has also been subjected to attacks at various times.

Brief Biography

Born in 1940 into the family of Alhaji Bello Ajani and Alhaja Ubaidat Bello of Arolu Compound, Ita Olukoyi, Ibadan, the then young Muhyideen Ajani began his elementary Western education at 1.D.C Primary School, Elekuro, Ibadan.

He also attended the same school for secondary education. He was a student of Mahdul Arabiy, Elekuro, from 1963 to 1967, where he was armed with Arabic and Islamic knowledge.

From the tender age of 10, Alhaji Ajani Bello developed interest in Islamic propagation and was preaching across the nooks and crannies of Ibadan city.

He has taught at various secondary schools in Oyo, Ogun and Kano States. He was also appointed Missioner of a foremost Islamic organisation Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria.

Alhaji Muhyideen Bello has been invited to spread the message of Allah and Islam from all over the world including in the UK, US, neighbouring African countries, among others.

He is happily married and blessed with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.