The Ondo State Government has given the Olukare of Ikare Akoko, Kadiri Momoh, 24 hours to reverse his appointment of a new chief Imam for the town’s central Mosque,premium times report.
The appointment of the acting chief imam was in defiance of the recognition of the substantive imam by the state government.
The state government on Monday gave Mr Momoh the ultimatum to reverse the appointment or be dethroned.
Factions of the Muslim community in Ikare Akoko have been fighting over the leadership of the central mosque since last year.
The Olukare sacked the chief Imam, Abubakar Muhammed, over some allegations had the decision has unsettled the community, leading to the disruption of normal worship at the central mosque.
The Olukare is seen as the leader of the Muslim community in the town.
But Mr Muhammed enjoys the backing of the state government and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in the state.
The state government says the appointment of an acting chief Imam threatens peace in the community and is an affront on its efforts to resolve the crisis in the town.
In a letter on Monday signed by the Acting Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, and addressed to the Olukare, the state government described the appointment of acting chief imam as unfortunate especially at the time it was trying to resolve the crises in the ancient town.
“This alleged action, to say the least, is most unfortunate and least expected of a traditional ruler who is desirous of a lasting peace in his domain,” the statement notes.
“That the state government is embarrassed by this decision is to say the obvious and will take serious exception to this action at this critical time in the history of Ikare.”
The Olukare was then ordered to tender an unreserved apology to the state government for his action.
Also, the government directed the acting chief Imam to stop parading himself as the Chief Imam of Ikare-Akoko forthwith, stressing that it recognises only the incumbent.
The government also banned any prayer gathering or congregation anywhere during the forthcoming Eld-el-Fitri in Ikare-Akoko.
It also warned that no congregation or gathering of any kind should hold or take place in Olukare’s Palace henceforth.
The government then ordered the Olukare to, “as a matter of deliberate policy, maintain peace in the whole of Ikare-Akoko otherwise he would be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the area.”
Besides the leadership crisis in the central mosque, there is also a dispute between the Olukare and the Owa-Ale, Adeleke Adedoyin, the two monarchs heading different sections of Ikare.
With the elevation of the Owa-Ale to the first class cadre last year by the state government, the rivalry assumed new dimension and threatened the peace in Ikare.
Intermittent clashes had forced the government to impose curfews and shut down schools. The government had vowed to keep the central Mosque locked until the factions embrace peace.
The incumbent Chief Imam was turbaned 27 years ago and had led the mosque since then until the elevation of the Owa -Ale.
He said those against him were opposed to the policies of the state government.