The holy month of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, is the most celebrated in the months of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Ramadan, the ninth of the twelfth months of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which the Holy Quran was revealed to Holy Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be upon Him), is believed to be more beneficial than 1,000 other months to Muslim Ummah (adherents of Islam, the religion of peace) who are privileged to witness it.

Apart from fasting; prayer; reflection; recitation of the Holy Quran; abstinence from food, drink and everything considered to be impure for the mind and body.

It includes intimacy with their partners from dawn till dusk; community gathering; and spiritual rebirth and growth, it is a month during which 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide seek to build stronger relationship with Almighty Allah and garner His blessings through several good deeds such as Sadaqoh; Saqat; sponsoring of religious enlightenment programmes on radio, television, social media; as well as organizing public lectures by governments, corporate organizations and individuals.

On Thursday, March 21, 2024 which coincided with the eleventh day in the month of Ramadan 1445AH, the 9th Annual Ramadan Lecture organized by the Muslim Community of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Ogun State, held at the Media Centre of the State Headquarters, Magbon in Abeokuta, the rock city capital of the gateway state.

This year programme with the theme “Strengthening Muslim Home in a Corrupt Society” was just as timely as it is relevant, giving the prevailing economic hardship and its attendant consequences on the society which had resulted in unprecedented increase in crime rate and insecurity all over the nation.

In his opening speech at the event, the Honourable Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC Ogun State, Sir. ‘Niyi Ijalaye Esq who was also the chief host appreciated all the invited spiritual fathers, the lecturer, mothers of the day including members of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) Ogun State Chapter led by its Amirah, Hajia Jinadu Zainab Iyabode, clerics and all well- wishers who were in attendance.

Ijalaye urged them to be steadfast in the practice of Islam according to the dictates of the Almighty Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAAW) and wish them many peaceful and rewarding celebration of the Holy month of Ramadan on earth.

While delivering his welcome address, the Chairman, INEC Ogun Muslim Community, Dr. Balogun Abdul-Hakeem, who co-hosted the event with the Chief Imam, Imam Yekeen Habiblah thanked the management of the commission in the state for creating a level playing ground for the practice of both religions of Islam and Christianity on the premises.

He noted that the peace being enjoyed in the INEC Ogun community was evidence of the management’s tolerance and accommodation.

Balogun who commended the organizing committee, under the chairmanship of Brother Akinleye Sulaimon for their efforts in putting together such a wonderful outing.

He also appreciated all the invited guests including all spiritual fathers such as Imam Muizzydeen Bello (Chief Imam, Kuto); Imam Mahmud Olajide Ahmad (Chief Imam, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library OOPL); Imam Fatih Ayinde Adesina (Chief Imam, NASFAT Ijemo, Abeokuta); and Imam Abass Afolabi (Chief Imam, Alaagba-Jayeola Estate, Bode-Olude) who was the first Chief Imam of the INEC Ogun Muslim Community; Chairman of the Day, Alhaji Nojeem Jimoh (Aare Quadriyyah of Nigeria) who was ably represented by Dr. Taofik Ogunfunmilayo (Chief Consultant, O&G, Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta); the Special Guests of Honour, Senator Shuaib Omoyayi Salisu (Senator representing Ogun Central) and Dr. Agboke Mutiu Olaleke (Resident Electoral Commissioner, Osun Sate); Father of the Day, Alhaji Abayomi Onisarotu (a former Chairman, INEC Ogun MUSLIM Community).

Balogun also appreciated all the clerics in attendance, all members of staff (Muslims and non-Muslims); as well as all Muslim Ummah that attended the lecture and prayed that Almighty Allah will accept their supplications as acts of Ibadah during the Holy month of Ramadan and beyond.

The high point of the occasion was the delivery of a highly researched, informed and educative lecture on how to strengthen Muslim Homes in a corrupt society by Imam Abdul Rasaq Ajibade (aka EWI), Chief Imam, White House Central Mosque, Ibara Housing Estate.

The chief lecturer defined home as a safe haven from any danger, a woman or wife who protects the husband and the entire family members from physical and emotional attacks and anywhere one finds peace whenever he feels threatened.

He explained that the role of a woman in strengthening her home in a corrupt society like we have today is very challenging especially for those who do not have sustainable source of revenue, good religious background, who themselves are not upright, and who is not mad and not ready to be mad.

Madness, in his words means going against the norm with a view to correcting the wrong in any giving environment such that people around such person would be wondering where he got the courage to attempt changing the existing narrative.

The lecturer equally stressed the need for a man who intends to build a home to strive to make a very solid foundation in terms of quality woman as wife, noting that a bad tree will always produce bad fruits.

According to him, a director-general who choose to deviate from the manners by which his predecessors handled the parastatal must be mad and equally be ready for vehement attacks from his colleagues who have been benefitting from the norm and are not ready to accept any change even if such change will make things better.

The gathering was thrown into a chaotic laughing scenery when Imam Ajibade jokingly advised the resident commissioner to be ready to become mad in order to change the narrative and make electoral processes more credible and acceptable in Nigeria.

Nevertheless, the Islamic cleric who drew many contemporary analogies to drive in his points in the subconscious of his audience, however advised them to remain steadfast and put their trust in Almighty Allah to succeed in the sustenance of the family, training of the children and making the society a safe and better place for everyone to live in the face of the various challenges in our day to day activities.

In his goodwill message, the Administrative Secretary (AS), INEC Ogun State, Venerable Stephen Akinropo Ojewande was full of accolades for the guest lecturer whom he described as a well-versed and learned Islamic scholar who has not limited his knowledge to the Arabic studies alone which has helped him in dealing with the topic of the lecture thoroughly.

The AS prayed for increased divine knowledge and understanding for the cleric.

Ven. Ojewande observed that for any society to be peaceful, the home has to be responsible to its duties of training the children in the ways of the Lord, the wives should give their husbands peace of mind, support their husbands morally and spiritually, strive to preserve the family values and integrity, as well as endure the various circumstances in marriage for the success of the family.

The AS who will be retiring, in few months, after meritoriously serving his fatherland in various capacities from clerical cadre to the peak which is the directorate cadre prayed for peaceful and glorious exit for all members of staff of the commission and wish all attendees at the event a safe journey back to their various destinations.

Voluntary donations were received for the development of the INEC Ogun Mosque and propagation of Islam.

The event which was effectively anchored by the duo of Brothers Olubiyi Sufian and Aderounmu Musa were INEC Heads of Departments (HOD), Mr. Olawuyi Thomas Olalere (General Administration and Procurement, GAP); Hajia Akinola Rabiat Tititlayo (Finance & Accounts); Electoral Officers (EO), Dr. Balogun Abdul Hakeem (Abeokuta South); Alhaji Olayemi Muraina Adesola (Ewekoro).

Others were Mr. Salami Biliaminu (Obafemi Owode); Alhaji Olundegun Wasiu (Sagamu); Alhaji Ojikutu Olaitan Hammed (Imeko-Afon); Hajia Onikate-Amosun Kaosara Modupe (Odeda); Alhaji Shelle Muyideen Olusola (Ifo); Heads of Unit (HOU), Mrs. Onabanjo Omolara (Gender Inclusivity); Mrs. Oroge Foluso (Fixed Assets); Hajia Amusan-Yekeen Sekinat (Expenditure Control) and other staff of the commission in the state office and local government area offices.

Other dignitaries were Mallam Tunde Sanni and Alhaji Amusan Yusuf Olatunji (Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta); Mr. Eniola Sabur Olalekan (Ogun State Water Corporation); as well as other Muslim Ummah from near and far.