It was a joyful gathering of Muslim leaders in the quiet city of Ikire, in Irewole local government area of Osun State on Friday the 16th day of July 2021, as a sixty year old Alatise mosque located at Popo junction of the town renovated by a pastor was commisoned for use.
The elaborate event that saw the chief Imam of the town, Alhaji Yunus Raaji Ajibade Olounose, and his entire cabinet in attendance climaxed in a special prayer session for the philanthropic pastor, Mr Oluwaseun Basil Alabi (OBA), and an official turbanning of the acting Imam of the mosque, Mallam Mikail as the substantive Imam.
As reported by eye witnesses at the event, the atmosphere was that of joy , love and peace.
Speaking shortly after the commissioning, the chief Imam of Ikire land, Alhaji Yunus commended Mr Oluwaseun Basil Alabi for being such a special human being who has chosen to promote religious harmony with such a kind gesture of renovating a delapidated mosque to a mordern status , even when he professes Christianity as a faith.
He thereafter led a special prayer session for the Minesota based pastor, asking God to protect and bless him more.
In his opening remark, Mr Oluwaseun Basil Alabi who addressed the August gathering through Skype said: “My name is Oluwaseun Basil Alabi.
“Let me start by giving all glory to God for His mercy and provision. We thank him for making this project a reality. It has been a long time dream of mine to give back to my people whenever I’m able.
“So, it gives me a deep sense of fulfilment that Alatise mosques, where I used to play with my Muslim friends and family, without any form of segregation when I was a little boy growing in this lovely community, now wears a new beautiful look through my humble effort. To God be the glory.
“My special greetings go to our fathers, the chief Imam of Ikire land and his entire cabinet, the league of Imams and the United Imams. Our mothers, sisters and brothers here present. I thank you all for the support you have given us throughout the time this renovation lasted.
“My special greetings to Uncle Raimi Alatise, I got good report that you stood with my PA all through the renovation, coming around everyday. May God grant you many more fruitful years in sound health.
“Now, to the question, why did I choose to renovate this mosque? A lot of people who know about this project have asked me this question, but I have never really answered them well enough. Now , here is my response.
“I grew up in an Ikire community where religion had no effect on our relationship. It was a time when Christians participated actively in the religious festivities of Muslims. A time when you would find many hijab wearing women attending church sessions of Christian weddings and burials.
“It was a time you find young children, Muslims and Christians play together in the mosques and eat saara (food items brought to mosque as alms) together without fear or intimidation. It was a time that humanity united us and made us one strong family, living and sharing our goodness with love and togetherness.
“May I share with you that when the fact that I’m the one renovating this mosque got to one of my fathers in iyanaegba community, Alhaji Nurein Akinremi, he retorted that it is a spirit I must have inherited from my father.
“He related how my father Oyinbodudu was the one in charge of collecting the donations with which the foundation of Ikire central mosque was laid, even though he was a renowned Christian.
“That was the Ikire in which I grew, and the love of that time that resonated in my impressionable young mind is the answer to the question of why I had chosen to renovate this mosque.
“It is therefore a well deserved give-back to a community that raised me to love humanity above religious leaning.
“Moving forward, aside from my support for our religious groups, I have decided to spread the goodness God has given me to make all my people happy and for that reason, we are opening a charity organisation, My People Foundation to attend to the needs of our people and give them a good reason to be happy.
“When the foundation is launched it will cater for the healthy living of our people through regular distribution of food items, provision of medication to the sick, offering of schorlaship awards to our young people and provision of professional mentorship to graduates as well as those in the informal sector in order to boost the economy of our community.
“I must add that these are not political promises, but a genuine intention to serve my people in my private capacity as a child and glory of this community. Of course as our fathers would say: eni fe Ikire, yoo se rere.
“I, therefore, with utmost regard and humility call on our people, young and old, to continue to live in peace and harmony. To eschew all forms of religious intolerance and to be on the look out for when we shall roll out these programmes so they can take good advantage of them.
Thank you once again for your support , may God bless us all.
Basil Oluwaseun Alabi.”