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Senator Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke: What’s in a name



By Olawale Aide

William Shakespeare, in his play “Romeo and Juliet” while observing that the naming of things is irrelevant said “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” it implies that as important as name is, it’s not only determinant what an individual is up to.

According to Proverbs 22:1, NIV, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” In Quran 7:180 says “And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them… This perhaps explains the importance people attached to name.

Parents picked names that embodied characteristics they hoped would be a part of their children’s lives. We have Muslim names and Christian names as well as the indigenous names and also family names. While some people borrow existing names, others create names from combined letters from family member’s names.

The Governor of Osun State, Senator Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke combines Muslim, Christian, indigenous and family names. During governorship election, generated controversy and his opponents maximised this to support that he’s not a Muslim which he claimed to be.

The Governor hails from Ede, one of the towns with huge population of Muslims. His father, Senator Raji Adeleke was a Muslim and his late brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke was a Muslim during their lifetime. Their contributions to Islam was well acknowledged. They built mosques and supported mosque construction project. In fact, their significant contributions to Islam cannot be forgotten.

The Governor isn’t hiding his Muslim name, Nurudeen. In fact, he projects it as his political trademark, “IMOLE”. Nurudeen is a combination of two words “Nuru” and “Deen”. While “Nuru” simply means “Light”, the word “Deen” could be translated in three general senses: judgment, custom, and religion. Ademola and Adeleke are both Yoruba indigenous names from royal families. Jackson is from the English surname, meaning “son of Jack”. Jack is a pet form of John, which is originally from the Hebrew name Yochanan meaning “God is gracious”.

So, from his name, is Governanor Adeleke a Muslim or Christian. Does it even matter whether he’s a Muslim or Christian. It does for, for political reasons mainly. In terms of political power sharing, religion plays major role in picking governorship candidates and their deputies by their political parties just as Osun voters take religion issues serious during elections.

In the history of civil rule in the state, it has always been between Muslims and Christians occupying the positions of Governor and Deputy Governor. Late former Governor Adetunji Adeleke was a Muslim and his Deputy, Prince Adesuyi Haastrup is a Christian. Former Governor Adebisi Akande is a Muslim and his Deputy, Senator Iyiola Omisore is a Christian. Former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and his Deputy, Erelu Olusola Obada were both Christian and it generated issues then but they won the election because of the people just wanted Baba Akande out.

Former Governor Rauf Aregbesola, a Muslim had Chief Grace Titilayo Laoye Ponle as his Deputy while Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, A Muslim had Benedict Alabi as his deputy. With Senator Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke as a Muslim, his deputy, Prince Kola Adewusi is a Christian. If this doesn’t matter, why the controversy over Muslim-Muslim ticket when President Bola Tinubu picked Sen. Kashim Shettima as his Vice.

So, it really matters to most people even if doesn’t prevent candidates from both faith from winning the election as experienced in Oyinlola/Obada and Tinubu/Shettima, wise politicians must take this factor into consideration. For Governor Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke, religion shouldn’t be seen a a minor issue.

In his Osun West Senatorial District, most of the major towns with huge voting strength such as Ede, Iwo, Ikire, Ejigbo, Gbongan, Ode-Omun are predominantly Muslim communities. Meanwhile, Osogbo which is the main determinant of winner of governorship election has very huge population of Muslims.

Then, apart from name, how else do we determine faith of an individual like Governor Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke. Islamically, it’s not write to pronounce someone that claims to be a Muslim as non believer be abuse only Allah knows the ones that are important to him. To place Governor Adeleke in terms of his faith won’t be too hard for whoever that followed his recent activities, particularly in the just concluded Holy month of Ramadan.

During Ramadan, the Governor exhibited the trait of a good Muslim. He put Ramadan committee in place and provided necessary resources to enable the Committee perform it’s task. The Governor didn’t stop at that. He personally attended the Ramadan lecture delivered by Sheikh Saanu Sheu, the Mufasir of Ilorin. During the Ramadan lecture at the government house in Osogbo, Governor Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke expressed his intention to perform Hajj sequel to the charge by the group Imam of Osun State, Sheikh Musa Animasahun.

Baba Imam told the Governor that when when he performed Hajj which is the fifth Pilar of Islam, the debate as to whether he is a Muslim or not would no longer be relevant. in his response on the spot, the Governor assured that he would perform hajj as advised. Would a non Muslim ever agree to that? Who is still doubting Governor Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke’s faith. How else could one be a Muslim.

In acknowledging Governor Adeleke good work, the Osun State Muslim Community had a Special Prayer for the Governor in Osogbo. During the event, the less privileged were provided with food stuff to enable them enjoy their Ramadan fast. The beneficiaries were happy and prayed for the governor to succeed. The Governor also attended several Islamic programmes during Ramadan. He was at the NASFAT prayer ground for a Ramadan programme.

Also, during the month of Ramadan, Governor Adeleke had iftar (breaking of fasting) with various Islamic associations and groups. The banquet all at the government house was busy during Ramadan, hosting categories of people breaking their fasting with Governor Adeleke. It was so exciting.

The Osun State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board under the Chairmanship of Sheikh Morufu Olawale Isola receives adequate support from the governor to make hajj operations smooth for Osun pilgrims. Having realise that the state doesn’t have it own hajj camp, Governor Adeleke Promised to build the hajj camp and work commenced on the site instantly.

During the sod-turning ceremony of the Osun Hajj camp by Governor Adeleke, the President of Osun State Muslim Community, Alhaji Mustafa Olawuyi lauded Governor Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke for his good work and prayed Allah to assist him and reward him. Olawuyi said Muslims in the state are grateful to Adeleke for building the hajj camp which past governors refused to build.

To cap it all, the governor has assured that he would build a mosque inside the government house in Osogbo to enable Muslim observe their prayers in a conducive environment. On the Salah day, the governor stormed the Ede central Eid where he observed the Eid-El-Fitri two Rakat prayer. How does does one become a Muslim?

In conclusion, it’s not for any individual to judge another person as only Allah knows those that fear Him. Governor Nurudeen Ademola Jackson Adeleke is born into a Muslim family and has demonstrated the trait of a Muslim faithful. The argument over the issue of his faith is settled. He is a Muslim. May Allah continue to guide, guard and bless him. Aamin.

Aide, a Public Affairs Analyst writes this piece from Osogbo

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