President Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressive Congress, APC National Leader and Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Sultan of Sokoto/President-General of Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Sa’ad felicitated with the Executive Chairman, Lagos Central Mosque/Baba Adinni of Lagos, Sheikh AbdulHafeez Abou on his 100 years birthday.
They described the eminent scholar as a worthy example of a religious leader.
President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, at the Centenary Birthday Prayer held at Lagos Central Mosque, Idumota, extolled the selfless contributions of Sheikh Abou to national development and peaceful coexistence in the country.
He thanked Allah for sustaining his life to witness the day.
“Allah has been so good to him and no wonder his longevity and success in the face of the earth,” the president said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu and Sultan Sa’ad, who joined other dignitaries at Harbour Point Hall on Victoria Island, venue of the reception, described the Baba Adinni, as an epitome of honesty, dedication, faithful and Godly.
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According to them, Sheikh Abou’s record of service to humanity has been unblemished.
The governor said attaining 100 years is a blessing and favour from the Almighty God.
“We thank God for sparing his life and for enabling him attain the centenarian age. On this special day, it is our prayer that the Almighty God will grant Baba more grace and strength. On behalf of the good people and government of Lagos State, I pray that the Almighty God will continue to bless him with good health to enjoy His blessings and everlasting goodness,” he said.
Earlier, the governor who was represented at the prayer session in Idumota by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat said: “Sheikh Abou is worthy of emulating and has lived his life worshipping the Almighty Allah and serving humanity the best way he could as the Baba Adinni of Lagos. He has been a role model to many Islamic faithful including clerics and leaders”.
He urged youths to abide by religious injunctions that preach patience, hardworking and perseverance in their quest for living a good life and want to be great in life.
Such injunctions, he said, were worthy of emulation and has been the hallmark of the elderly ones, which Sheikh Abou and his peers represent.
Sultan Abubakar, represented by Chairman, Sokoto State Zakat and Waqf Commission (SOZECOM), Mallam Lawan Maidoki, congratulated Lagosians on the centenary celebration.
He prayed to Allah to continue to increase Sheikh Abou in faith.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Executive Vice Chairman of Lagos Central Mosque and Bashorun Musulumi of Lagos, Alhaji Sikiru Alabi Macfoy said the centenary celebration of the revered Islamic scholar was the first in the history of Lagos Central Mosque since the introduction of Islam into Lagos by the Malians in the 17th century.
Alhaji Macfoy said: “He became the Baba Adinni in 2009 and had worked closely with his predecessors – the late Alhaji Waheed Elias and the late Alhaji Wahab Folawiyo since he returned from Cairo, Egypt in late fifties. No prominent Muslim leader in Lagos lived up to 100 years. Sheikh has been steadfast in his contribution towards development of Islam in Lagos andNigeria.”
He added that Sheikh Abou was celebrated because he is acknowledged in Nigeria and abroad as a renowned Islamic scholar.
“He achieved so much in the administration of Lagos Central Mosque since inception as Baba Adinni of Lagos,” he said.
Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Sulaimon Abou-Nolla, said the centenary celebration was unique and a divine gift from Allah.
“Baba’s life is worthy of emulation and a source of inspiration for millions of Muslims who undoubtedly hold him as a mentor. I am enthused by his exceptional leadership style and tremendous contributions toward the propagation of Islam throughout the world and most particularly in Nigeria. He has groomed some of the best minds and captains of industries in our beloved country,” the chief Imam said.
President, Muslim Community of Lagos State (MCLS), Prof. Tajudeen Gbadamosi, said Sheikh Abou contributed immensely to the unity of Muslims in Nigeria and the establishments of Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the Muslim Ummah of Southwest Nigeria (MUSWEN) and Muslim Community of Lagos State (MCLS).
A former Federal Commissioner for Works and Trustee of Lagos Central Mosque, Alhaji Femi Okunnu, described Sheikh Abou as a religious man.
“He has for some years now been the oldest member of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria and the first Yoruba man to memories the whole Quran,” Alhaji Okunnu said.