By Ibrahim Oguntayo
The root of Ahmadiyya Nigeria Muslim Jamaat was planted in 1916 when the spread of the message of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Ghulam Ahmad was brought to the newly amalgamated Northern and Southern protectorates in Nigeria. Ahmadiyya took its root in 1889 in Qadian, now Pakistan while its flame has since spread the message of peace across all corners of the world.
The 64th annual convention (Jalsa Salana) that marks our 100 years anniversary celebration calls for a deep reflection on the contributions of the Jamaat to Nigeria’s development. Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat has contributed immeasurably to the spread of Islamic teachings and moral parsimony in the most populous black nation since its debut in a century. With 493 branches across all states in the federation, the Jamaat has widespread acceptance and highest membership in Africa and ‘Top Ten’ among other nations across the world.
Ahmadiyya has scored first in many areas of human endeavours in Nigeria. The Truth, the first Muslim newspaper established by the Jamaat in 1966 still publishes regularly till date. Muslim elementary and secondary institutions were pioneered for western, moral and Islamic teachings. In the area of healthcare, Ahmadiyya has contributed in no small measure with the establishment of hospitals, yet the first by any Muslim organization in Nigeria. Ahmadiyya youth has fully participated in virtually all youth programmes in Nigeria. Our members have excelled in all spheres of human endeavour.
However, the theme of this convention, “Redefining Moral Revolution for Sustainable Peace and Development: Post-Hundred Years of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria” is a reflection of the current events in our ever-changing world replete with corruption, violence/terrorism and moral decadence. Without moral regeneration in our society today, there will be no meaningful development. Ahmadiyya Jamaat will continue to support efforts to redefine our moral revolution, including creating and maintaining sustainable peace and development.
Ahmadiyya has taken giant leap in our quest to creating a nation devoid of vices inimical to our nation’s growth through the training of our youth on moral principles in our schools. We have sponsored radio and television programmes including periodic programmes organized for Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, political and religious affiliations to impart moral teachings. Our members are ambassadors who carry the message of peace in their daily endeavour, living up to our principle of “Love for All, Hatred for None”.
Our nation’s growth is no doubt inhibited by myriad of vices that bedevil us. Redefining our moral principles must be done now to avert national calamity. The federal government’s effort to rid the country of corruption is a good step in the right direction. We however need to do more. Our school curriculum must be reviewed to include moral teachings for our pupils.
The youth must be taught the creed of ‘hard work that pays’ to stem corruption while those who have pillaged our resources must be prosecuted and duly penalized having betrayed the trust reposed in them. Governments at all levels must be fair to all in accessing and distribution of nation’s resources. Equal employment opportunities and social security must be provided for our women, unemployed youth and the aged. Only in this way can we attain sustainable peace for meaningful development.
Oguntayo is of the Publicity Committee, Centenary Celebration, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamat, Nigeria.