Press Release: GHANA MUST BE SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE ABSENCE OF SUCCESSION PLAN FOR THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL CHIEF IMAM
PRESS STATEMENTS ISSUED BY THE PPF PROJECT RESEARCH TEAM ON MATTERS ARISING FROM THE ISSUE OF APPOINTMENTS OF GREATER ACCRA REGIONAL IMAM AND ITS ASSOCIATED ISSUES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (12/05/2016)
GHANA MUST BE SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE ABSENCE OF SUCCESSION PLAN FOR THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL CHIEF IMAM
In The Name Of Allah, the Most Gracious the Most Merciful.
The PPF PROJECT RESEARCH TEAM is very highly disappointed with the Muslim leadership in Ghana regarding the lack of urgency and seriousness towards implementing invaluable recommendations of the comprehensive report of its seven (7) year, 2008-2014, national research work on the way forward on the reorganization of the Muslims leadership front especially on the critical issue of succession planning for the office of the national chief imam and regional imams in Ghana.
From 2008 till now, the PPF research team has engaged and collated views of over two hundred (200) cross-sectional national Muslim leadership: The National Chief Imam and His Deputy, Regional Imams, Imams and Key Scholars of all Muslim Sect/Groupings, Muslim Professionals’, Representatives of Key Muslim Organizations all over the ten regions of Ghana on the way forward regarding this sensitive issue of national security concern.
In 2014, the report of the research was published and its recommendations and research findings extensively discussed with His Eminence the National Chief Imam of Ghana, The Office of The National Chief Imam, and The Imams of The Various Muslim Sects As well As the Muslim Caucus of Parliament. Audiovisual recordings of the views of key Muslim Imams in Ghana has been widely circulated in both traditional and social media circles to stimulate Muslim leadership to take action. On the contrary, recent events indicate that not much has been done with the content of the report.
In line with that, We find the recent outburst of His Spiritual Eminence, the National Chief Imam of Ghana, sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu regarding the move by some chiefs to appoint a greater Accra chief imam a palpable indication of the absence of a well-defined succession planning, an effective inclusive platform and well laid down consultative process for addressing such important issues in spite of available blueprint base on research findings.
The Big Question: What happens after our beloved National Chief Imaam?
This is one crucial question the PPF team kept asking Muslim imaams, scholars and leaders across the 10 regions of Ghana during our research. The fact is that nobody has immunity over death. Sooner or later, our beloved National Chief Imaam of Ghana (Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Shaarubutu) and his deputy (Sheikh Hajj Kamaludeen) will die! It is a reality that will dawn on us as Muslims in Ghana. We will wake up one day and realize our leader, Imaam, father, peace-maker, and a key contributor of our unity and national honor is no more. We pray that Allah spares his life for some more years (Aaaamin). What happens after his demise? How do we continue to maintain the esteemed office he occupied? Do we have any structure and succession plan like the Ahmadiya which facilitated smooth transition after Ameer Maulvi Wahab Adam?
These are questions Muslims must be seriously concerned about. The time is right for us to get out of our comfort zones and begin to plan very well. If we fail to have a national plan as Muslims, we will have a situation in the future where sectarian, political, regional, and tribal factors become reasons for conflict, struggle, and tension in the Muslim community. We would have begun a journey of our backward depreciation. May Allah save us. (Ameeen)
Regardless of the seeming neglect of the report, the exploit of the PPF Project is currently gaining international recognition as the research team prepares to publish proposed organogram structure that outlines how to re-organize and re-engineer current Muslim leadership arrangement into a well-coordinated structure. We therefore will like to use this opportunity to re-echo on five (5) important recommendations that were captured in the report dubbed, The Way Forward For Muslims In Ghana.
1) The revival or reformation of National Council of Ulamaa/Shura Council with immediate effect is necessary:
This council should include Imaams of the various Muslim groups, other key Imaams of national character, carefully selected Imaams from all the ten (10) regions of Ghana and some key Muslim chiefs. The council may be appropriately known as the National Shura Council of Ghana. Reflecting their responsibility of ensuring broad consensus on issues of selecting future national chief Imaams and their deputies among other purely religious duties. This council should be replicated as Regional and District Shura Council in all the regions to deal with selection of regional and district Imaams respectively. We hope the claim of an existing national council of Ulamaa is true, and then all we need is its revivalism to be truly national in character.
2) Methodology of selecting Imams: Consultation is the best:
The system of rotating the dice on Imaams based on sects/groups is not an ideal solution considering what we have seen with such system in national chieftaincy conflicts. Balloting as suggested by others is totally out of the option. We know it worked for the people of WA municipality as indicated by Dr. Imam Seidu Mahama, their situation was special, but we can’t leave such an issue of national magnitude and importance to the game of chance and probability. Relatively, the best option left is appointment base on consensus and consultation among members of the recommended council. With the equal and fair representation of Imaams cutting across all sectarian divide, any potential Imaam to be appointed as National Chief Imaam or Deputy will need endorsement from Imaams of the other groups in the council. An important and compelling reason for peace and unity. This approach also conforms to what Quran 42:38 refers to as.. “ And the matter amongst them is that of consultation..”
3) Two National Deputy Chief Imaams:
Another important thing that must be reengineered very well is our deputization arrangement. We agree with Sheikh Osman Bari’s Suggestion that, more than one Deputy National Imaam is needed. However, we suggest it is capped at just two deputies to ensure that at any particular point in time, we have the Tijaaniya, Ahlu-Sunna and Shia occupy a position and have roles to play in the IMAMSHIP STRUCTURE.
4) Regulation on Appointments:
Hence if the council appoints the Imaam who is for example, FROM GROUP A his two deputies must be appointed from GROUP B and C. These two Deputy Imaams must be given more specific and well defined roles to offload the overburdening of the National Chief Imaam of attending to religious issues across all the Ten (10) regions of Ghana. This system will strengthen our cherished unity and breeds more consultations among Muslim Imaams from all the Ten (10) regions of Ghana.
5) Muslim Council Of Ghana:
The other administrative and managerial responsibilities of promoting education, health, and welfare of Muslims amongst other associated duties be left for a re-organized front of Muslim professionals and intellectuals, under a must formed Muslim Council of Ghana. This council does not seek to collapse the individual Muslim organizations currently but rather create an umbrella platform for representatives of all Muslim organization to meet and work together.
In conclusion, the secretariat office of Sheikh DR. Usman Nuhu Shaarubutu must seriously provide platforms or support platforms such as that of the PPF for the reorganization agenda. PPF recommends that the Office of the National Chief Imaam must urgently lead in this situational analyses and shaping of the future system and structure of Muslims.
- Alhaji Abdulsalam Mohammed.ch.cc
The Director: Ppf Project
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**NOTE** This write-up is that of the total view of the PPF Project and is in no way related to views of www.muslimahsameerah.com