The newly appointed Chairman of the Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim wing), Alhaji Hashim Atere on Sunday appreciated the State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde for his appointment.
Atere, an Ibadanman but Saudi-trained Islamic Scholar eulogized the Governor during a special prayer and congratulatory visit paid on him by some communities in Ibadanland.
The representatives of the Communities who thronged his residence on Sunday included people from Idigbaro-Ologuneru; Elenusonso; Alafara and Ile-Tuntun, all in Ibadan, the State capital.
The residents comprising Muslim faithful from the aforementioned areas, counseled and prayed for the success of the new Hajj Board Chairman.
Responding, Atere said his appointment to lead the Hajj Board has provided him the opportunity to bring to bear, his wonderful relationship amongst the Ulamas and his connection in the Saudi Arabia.
Atere specially thanked the State Governor for finding him worthy, stressing that ‘the Governor is a man with the fear of Allah who holds Islamic leaders and indeed Muslim adherents in a very high esteem.”
According to him, “but for the Governor’s respect for the Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abubakar Agbotomokekere, the appointment would have been practically impossible. But the Governor stood his ground and insisted that it must be Chief Imam’s nominee, hence my appointment.
“It is my sincere prayer to Almighty Allah that the Governor succeeds and overcome all challenges before him for the State to benefit more from his wonderful service to humanity.
“Please, let’s remember the State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde in our prayers on daily basis. The Governor though a Christian has shown that he has respect for the men of God as exemplified in what he has done to the Chief Imam of Ibadanland.
“Our Baba, the Chief Imam deserves our appreciation and prayers to live longer to continue to lead the Muslim communities in Ibadan and Oyo State in general. Help me to thank the Chief Imam when you pay him a visit, soon,” Atere charged the community members.
On his new position, Atere said he was ready to make the Governor proud by taking decisions in consultations with the Islamic leaders, board members and well spirited people around the Governor to reposition the board for greater and better service delivery.
Said he, “I am ready to make Oyo Hajj Board the best in Nigeria. And if it deserves sacrificing my salaries, I am ready to make a difference and justify the confidence of His Excellency.
“Since it is Allah’s will, grace and honour to pave way for me despite daunting obstacles and challenges prior to the announcement last Wednesday, I am a very young person and opportunities are still abound for me in future, I will therefore sacrifice my time, energy and resources to make remarkable changes on the board.
“All pending matters amongst on a number of intending pilgrims will be resolved and everybody will be proud of the Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.
“I don’t fear death and I am ready to step on toes to make the board an enviable institution because my ultimate goal in life is to make heaven (Aljanah) and will not do anything to suffer the poor and favour the rich.
“From next week, we will change the environment at Olodo, Hajj secretariat for the better. I am ready to use my personal money to start-off my goals for the board and a top government official who I contacted said I can go ahead with my dreams even if it will demand my money and time to make a difference.
“I am not going there to make money but to make name for myself and make Muslims and government proud they have a reliable Hajj Board,” Atere said.
While seeking prayers, understanding and cooperation of all to succeed in this daunting tasks, Atere also assured that he would use the position to sacrifice for God and religion and not one to make himself richer at the expense of our people.