The Chairman of the Edo State Pilgrims Welfare Board has praised Governor Godwin Obaseki for coming to the aid of pilgrims during distress.
In an exclusive interview with ETN24, Ustadh Ibrahim Oyarekhua narrated how the airline that was to lift pilgrims postponed take off date and pilgrims were left stranded at the Hajj Board with no food. Governor Obaseki, who paid the camp a visit, was informed of the situation and the Governor generously asked that no one returns home due to the logistics and extra expenses. Instead he took up the bill for feeding the then intending pilgrims for the next few days before departure.
Mr. Oyarekhua spoke at length about how the Governor insisted on working within the confines of the law by establishing a 14-man committee unlike some administration that had up to 30 members in the Hajj Board despite this being against the law on creation of the Board.
Edo State has seen a number of Pilgrim Board Chairmen but the announcement of Mr. Oyarekhua as Chairman was a source of excitement in the Muslim community for a number of reasons. The first being that it was apparently not a political choice but one that came out of consultation with the appropriate Muslim leadership. The second reason Muslims in the State were excited is that Mr. Oyarekhua is known for his very straight forward position on issues and is highly regarded as one of those who can speak truth to power. He is also a very learned Imam.
Addressing the issue of Amir-ul-Hajj, Mr. Oyarekhua posited that it has become a political affair rather than something that should have a religious backing. He also appealed that the one who is chosen should be knowledgeable in matters of the religion because the one who is nominated is going to be a leader and role model for the intending pilgrims.
On the issue of Government’s plan to stop the sponsorship of pilgrims, Mr. Oyarekhua posited that this does not cut across all States neither is he aware of such idea in Edo State and yet no one can fault any Government that does not sponsor Pilgrims out of scarcity of funds.