By Tommy Kallon
President Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK
Nigeria Ahmadiyya Centenary Event Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK celebrates
On Sunday the 20th of November 2016 the Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK held a function to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the inception of Ahmadiyyat in Nigeria.
The function which took place in the Tahir hall of Baitul Futuh and was chaired by Respected Amir UK Sahib was well attended by African dignitaries, community leaders and representatives of African High Commissions in the UK, non-PAAMA Jama’at guests and the general membership of PAAMA across the UK.
The programme commenced with registration of attendees and an exhibition showcasing Ahmadiyya Nigeria’s achievement over the last 100 years, in addition to exhibitions by Humanity First and IAAAE.
Before the formal session commenced, Respected Amir Sahib met with the dignitaries in the VIP lounge and gave them a brief overview of the teachings of our Jama’at. Amir Sahib personally gave the dignitaries a brief tour of the library and exhibition at Baitul Futuh before ushering them into the main hall to view the ‘History of Nigeria’, Humanity First and IAAAE exhibitions on projects in Africa.
After guests and dignitaries were seated the programme officially commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Mansur Abiola Osota and an English translation by Abdullah Sultan Sadiq.
In his Welcome Address, PAAMA President, Tommy Kallon, expressed his gratefulness to the distinguished guests for gracing the occasion. He also gave a brief overview of the contributions made by the Jama’at over the past century in Nigeria and Africa.
A speech on the History of Ahmadiyyat in Nigeria was given by Alhaj Hamzat Olayiwola Adesanu. In his speech he enumerated in detail the various key personalities who played a vital role in the establishment of Jama’at Ahmadiyya in Nigeria and highlighted the various events that unfolded during this time to strengthen the establishment of the Jama’at in Nigeria. He also narrated the sequence of events and missionaries the Jama’at was blessed with at the time and noting the production of the first Muslim newspaper in the country “The Truth” (established in 1951), as one of the milestones of the Jama’at in Nigeria.
A Goodwill Message from the Amir Jama’at Ahmadiyya Nigeria was presented by Ahmed Mamman, a new Ahmadi convert of Nigerian provenance. In his message, Respected Amir Nigeria relayed that Jama’at Ahmadiyya Nigeria established its first Muslim schools in the country at a time when Muslims of the country shunned Western education thus confirming that Islam was not opposed to the acquisition of secular education. The Jama’at also established the first clinics and hospitals in the north and west of the country, Amir Nigeria Sahib recounted. From humble beginnings at a private residence in 1916, the Jama’at has grown to 500 Jama’at and 700 mosques and is the most respected and followed in the country. He wished us all a successful centenary celebration.
Speeches by Dignitaries
This was followed by addresses by some of the distinguished guests present. In his short speech, Mr Godfrey Kwoba, Counsellor Commercial & Economic Matters, Republic of Uganda High Commission, expressed his delight to join in the celebration of the Ahmadiyya Nigeria Centenary. He noted that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been at the forefront of education in many African countries. He associated himself particularly with the humanitarian endeavours of the Jama’at especially Humanity First which he noted runs more than 20 programs in Uganda and Africa.
The Chairman of the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK, Mr Babatunde Loye, expressed his attraction to the slogan: “Love for All, Hatred for None”. He thanked PAAMA for inviting him to the event and expressed his solidarity with PAAMA.
Her Royal Highness, Queen Naa Tsotsoo Soyoo I, expressed her gratitude to PAAMA UK for the invitation and expressed her delight in being accorded the privilege to speak at the event. She echoed the call for peace and stated that the event was a platform for the propagation of peace.
Chief Femi Okutubo, Founder and CEO of the Trumpet Media Group, thanked PAAMA for the continued relationship we have with him, stating that he had twice attended Jalsa Salana UK at the behest of PAAMA and expressed his desire to continue to work with PAAMA in all aspects.
The Keynote Address was given by Respected Amir UK, Rafiq Ahmad Hayat Sahib. Amir Sahib mentioned his roots in East Africa and went on to remind the audience about the emphasis and attention given by Huzur Aqdas (aba) to the progress of the Jama’at in Africa. He further mentioned that Huzur Aqdas (aba) is leading the campaign to enable Africa to become self-sufficient.
Amir Sahib reiterated the message by Huzur Aqdas (aba) at the ‘Africa at 50’ events organised by PAAMA: “I truly believe that the time is fast approaching for Africa to lead the world and in order to lead the world it is necessary to bring about revolutionary changes within ourselves. Each citizen and each leader must put aside their own thoughts and interests in order to strengthen, consolidate and serve the national interest.”
Amir Sahib then gave a detailed review of the history of the Jama’at in Nigeria, highlighting the various achievements Jama’at Ahmadiyya has made in the country through the numerous activities led by pioneer and subsequent missionaries. In conclusion Amir Sahib stated that we should all remember Nigeria in our prayers and as one of the most progressive nations in Africa it has the potential of doing great things in the future.
To conclude the formal session ceremony, Amir Sahib led the gathering in silent prayers after which dinner was served.
Total registered attendance at the event was 360 members including members of the PAAMA National Executive and members from all regions of PAAMA.
84 guests were recorded in attendance including the following dignitaries:
- Godfrey Kwoba – Counsellor Commercial & Economic Matters, Republic of Uganda High Commission
- Bernardino Pacheco – Counsellor General, Republic of Angola High Commission
- Chief Babatunde Loye – Chairman, Central Association of Nigerians in the UK
- Chief Oluseyi Obadare – President NANC
- Chief Mrs Yemisi Sanusi – WHO/UN Representative on Mental Health
- HRM Queen Naa Tsotsoo Soyoo I
- HRM Crown Prince Luqman Oladigbolu of Oyo State
- HRM Princess Ashake Oladigbolu of Oyo State
- Alhaj Animasahun – Chief Imam, Al-Nur Muslim Society
- Alhaj Dauda Awwal – Imam, Darul Salam Islamic Organisation Leeds
- Dayo Olomu – Nigerian Community Leader.
- Chief Omotunde Komolafe – Founder, IROKO & BAOBAD AWARDS
- Abbey Paseda – CEO, Focus on Disability Foundation
- Alderman Erelu Ayonrinde – Former Mayor of Wandsworth
- Chief Femi Okutubo – Editor Trumpet News