By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has faulted the appointment of Alhaji Sarafa Ishola, the Baba Adinni of Yorubaland, as campaign Director General (DG) of the Ogun State chapter of Allied People’s Movement (APM).
Ishola however countered the students’ leadership, saying he was a politician, when he was accorded the title and has not stopped being involved in politics since then.
NANS made its position known in a statement signed by Mr Adeyemi Amoo, its National Public Relations Officer (PRO) and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
According to the students’ umbrella body, Ishola’s position as the Baba Adinni of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta inclusive, is revered and can be likened to that of an Emir.
Amoo said the association was giving this advice to the Baba Adinni as part of its role of checkmating and monitoring the political atmosphere of the country.
It said it was necessary to call on Alhaji Ishola, to as a matter of necessity, in the interest of the integrity of the highly weighty Islamic position he occupied, to resign his appointment as a political party campaign DG.
“NANS make bold to call on Alhaji Ishola after wide consultations and comparisons on what roles are expected from the calibre of persons that hold such offices, that such position is equal, or could be greater than that of an Emir in the north.
“Having searched through the past and present political history and activities of this country, we have not been able to find any record of an Emir actively involved in partisan politics, or assuming the position of DG of a political party.
“NANS, hereby, wishes to remind Alhaji Ishola, the Baba Adinni of Yorubaland, that ideally, he is expected to be an unbiased umpire and elder statesmen that should caution his subjects as we move towards the 2019 General Elections.
“NANS therefore passionately appeals to the spiritual leader to resign and apologise to Muslims and the entire Yoruba land (Edo and Delta inclusive) for accepting such appointment.”
In his response, Ishola said, “The observation by NANS, while it is not valid, shows the level of respect our young people have for me, and I sincerely appreciate this. But NANS should know I was a politician, when the title was conferred on me and I have not stopped being a politician. What I expected from them was advice that the qualities, which made Muslims in this part of the country to bestow such an important title on me, should be sustained in my new position.
“As a Muslim, mine is to ensure that we do things that will help our people; things we can be proud of on the Day of Judgment; things that will bring development to our land and make the people happy. These are the reasons I am involved in this project, because at this stage of my life, the hereafter is more important than any worldly pursuits as I believe we’ll give account of our stewardship to Allah (SWT) when we die.
“Apart from this, the NANS leadership may have forgotten that the first holder of the title was Chief MKO Abiola, who was the Ogun State Chairman, National Party of Nigeria (NPN) at the time. The same MKO later contested for the position of president. NANS should also note that our current Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is a Pastor. In one breath, we want people of quality values to participate in politics, in another, we want them out. NANS should take it easy.”