How​ ‘Special Prayer’ Landed Zamfara Cleric Into Trouble

On Sunday, November 19, Sheikh Tukur Sani Jangebe, a renowned Zamfara-based Islamic scholar, offered special prayers for the success of the immediate past governor of the state, Muhammad Bello Matawalle, in the forthcoming re-run election, Daily Trust reportsThe scholar, who is a three-time commissioner for Religious Affairs, made the supplications at the residence of the former governor in Maradun local government.

The famous sheikh is known for offering supplications to politicians and the elite within and outside the state whenever the need arises.

For instance, he had offered similar supplications for politicians including former governors of the state, Senator Sani Yariman Bakura, Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari, Muhammad Bello Matawalle and the incumbent Governor Dr Dauda Lawal.He also offered special prayer for Col. J. B. Ibrahim (rtd) when he was in Kiri-Kiri prison and Alhaji Ibrahim Ruwan Dorawa when he was detained in prison in Saudi Arabia.

However, the November 19 special prayer has caused a flap in the state. Although Sheikh Jangebe had offered similar supplications for Dr Lawal when he was a commissioner for Religious Affairs under then-governor Matawalle and he neither faulted nor removed him from his position as commissioner, but the recent prayer did not go down well with supporters of the governor.

It was alleged that the governor’s supporters had continued to knock on the scholar days after the prayer. They went further to plot a move to remove him from his position as Chief Imam of the Islamic Foundation Juma’at Mosque also known as GRA Juma’at Mosque.

They are said to have directed the mosque management committee to initiate impeachment against the scholar. The committee after its meeting concluded to impeach Sheikh Jangebe on Friday, November 24 when he comes to lead the Juma’at congregational prayer.But having heard about the committee’s plan, the scholar in a letter dated November 23, 2023 relinquished his position as the chief imam of the mosque.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Trust reads in part, “I am writing formally to inform you of my decision to resign as Chief Imam of the gracious GRA Juma’at Mosque. This will be effective from 23/11/2013.

“Regrettably this decision is borne out of my desire to ensure that security, peace and tranquillity reign in the masjid above my personal desire to continue to lead the masjid as its chief imam.“I absolutely appreciate the opportunity to be amongst the masjid team which has allowed me to provide leadership within my limitation as most appropriate.”

Sheikh Jangebe said he resigned from his position as chief imam of the famous Islamic Foundation Juma’at Mosque to safeguard the lives and property of people.

He said: “It is my habit to offer special prayers for every politician contesting for governorship election in the state.

For instance, I prayed for the former governor of the state, Muhammad Bello Matawalle when he was contesting and I prayed for the present governor of the state, Dr Dauda Lawal, when he was contesting.

“What actually happened this time around is that when the former governor of the state, Bello Matawalle, was appointed Minister for State (Defence), I was not able to go to Abuja to congratulate him. So, when he came to Zamfara two weeks ago, I was among the entourage that received and escorted him to his hometown Maradun.

“While at his residence, I prayed for him and in my prayers, I specifically asked Allah to grant him success in the forthcoming re-run election. However, the special prayers did not go down well with some political aides of the incumbent governor.“They continued to blow the issue on social media.

When the knocks about my prayers continued, I made a special announcement in order to douse the tension. I explained why I offered special prayers for Matawalle and even went further to explain why I did the prayer the way I did, yet that did not help matters because the governor’s supporters continued to fuel the crisis obviously for political gains.

“And the only way they will want to embarrass me is to remove me from my position as chief imam of the Juma’at mosque. So, the mosque committee decided at its meeting that I should be removed from my position on Friday, November 24, 2023.

“Having heard about their plans, I wrote a resignation letter on November 23, 2023, and handed over the affairs of the mosque to my deputy. I am blessed with followers within and outside Zamfara.

I do not know what would happen on Friday if I come to the mosque, therefore, I purposely resigned from my position in order to avoid possible clash among Muslims.”Sheikh Jangebe further explained that “Even after I relinquished my position, people from all parts of the state and environs continued trooping to my house to sympathise with me.

“Again, I sensed that their visit to my house could also be a problem to me and therefore, decided to leave the state in order to avoid any trouble with the government.

So, I quietly left Gusau and went into hiding so that people would not come to me under the guise of sympathy.“Presently, I am not in Gusau and I will not return until normalcy returns because I do not want a drop of blood of innocent citizens to be wasted because of me.

In a nutshell, I went into hiding for peace to reign in the state because as a Muslim and Islamic scholar, I will never allow myself to be part of anything that may lead to carnage in the state.Sheikh Jangebe, however, appealed to the people of the state to remain calm and avoid anything that could lead the state into chaos, noting that “peace is the bedrock of every development and power belongs to God and He gives it to whoever He wants. Politicians should always keep this in mind.”