Soun of Ogbomoso queries Chief Imam for embarking on Hajj pilgrimage without permission

The Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye,has reprimanded the Chief Imam of Ogbomoso, Sheik Taliat Yunus Olusina Ayilara, for failing to seek the traditional ruler’s permission before embarking on Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.


This incident is the latest in a series of disagreements between the two leaders over the past few months.


The Chief Imam was among the pilgrims from Nigeria who performed the 1445 Hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia.


Soun, in the query, claimed that the Chief Imam did not inform him before he embarked on the journey.


The traditional ruler in the letter dated 10th June 2024, said that what the Chief Imam did was in contrast with the undertaking he signed before he became the Chief Imam.


In the query, made available to newsmen yesterday, was signed by the palace Secretary, Toyin Ajamu, on behalf of the traditional ruler.


The letter reads: “I refer to the earlier query issued to you with regards to your unbecoming and reprehensible conducts as Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland and the need to desist from such conducts.”


“You will recall that on your appointment as Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland you signed an undertaking and agreement which you agreed will be binding on you.”


“In the said undertaking, you unequivocally undertook to inform the Soun of Ogbomoso before traveling outside Ogbomoso.”


“However, we have been informed that you are currently in Mecca on a Holy pilgrimage without notifying the Soun. This is a clear violation of your undertaking.”


“Secondly, you agreed not to appoint any surrogate during your tenure without the approval of His Royal Majesty, Soun of Ogbomoso.”


“Nevertheless, we have received information that you have appointed a surrogate namely Sheik Abdulrahman Alim Areo as the acting Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland, who led the Jumat Prayer of Friday, 7th June 2024 of the Central Mosques.”


“This action is a direct breach of your undertakings. As the Soun of Ogbomosoland, I hereby demand that you immediately return to Ogbomoso and rectify these violations and desist from any further actions that violate the undertakings you signed on the approval of your appointment as Chief Imam Agba of Ogbomosoland.”


When contacted for his reaction through a telephone call, the Chief Imam confirmed the development to newsmen.


He noted that this was not the first time the monarch would query him.


He said: “Yes. That is what I am confirming for you. He has issued some queries to me in the past. I will send you the documents.”


“This time, he issued the query to me that I didn’t inform him before going to Saudi Arabia.”


The ongoing feud between the Soun of Ogbomoso and Chief Imam Sheikh Ayilara originated from a legal dispute initiated when Ayilara sued the monarch and the Soun In-Council.


His lawsuit aimed to challenge their efforts to oust him from his role as Grand Chief Imam, which he had assumed in November 2021 under the previous Soun.


Ayilara asserts that his appointment was valid and aligned with Islamic principles, having received endorsement from Ogbomoso’s Muslim community’s Surah committee.


Tensions escalated following the accession of the new Soun to the throne in September 2023, who disputed Ayilara’s continued tenure as Chief Imam.


Ayilara’s legal action, filed in the Oyo State High Court, seeks to protect his position and highlights a significant clash between religious autonomy and traditional authority in Ogbomoso.


His lawsuit underscores the necessity of adhering to Islamic norms in the appointment of Imams and calls for judicial intervention to prevent what he perceives as an unlawful attempt by the Soun and his council to remove him from office.




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