Brief History of MUSWEN
The need for unity among the Muslims in South-West Nigeria with a credible leadership was felt for a long time. But the most significant and most successful of attempts towards achieving the objective was an initiative by The Companion, an organisation of Muslim men in Business and the Professions, who invited Muslim Organisations and Leaders to a Leadership Roundtable Session in 2004 (1425 AH).
The get-together was meant to provide a forum for deliberating on the need to have a formidable unity and leadership among Muslims in the South West region. The session was well attended by many notable Muslim Leaders and Royal Fathers.
Wider consultations were further held involving three Summits over a period of four years which were attended by large numbers of stakeholders including royal fathers. A Coordinating Committee headed by Late Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa which was appointed at one of the Summits worked very hard towards establishing the new umbrella body on a sound footing. Barrister Y. K. O. Abdulkareem was the General Secretary of the Committee. The former Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Late Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao, had played a vital role in facilitating the various Summits.
At a very impressive gathering on Sunday, 10th August 2008, the new umbrella body was inaugurated by His Excellency, Prince Bola Abdul Jabbar Ajibola under the name Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria (MUSWEN). His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of NSCIA, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, mni, CFR, was the Special Guest of Honour. On that occasion, he made an offer of recurrent scholarships to any three deserving female Muslim medical students of South-West origin. (Meanwhile, MUSWEN has increased the number to six, so that each of the states in the zone may share in the benefit).
Also present at the occasion were HRM Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of Oyo, HRM Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos, among other royals, leaders of Muslim organisations and eminent Muslims in the region.
MUSWEN is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a Faith-Based Non-Governmental Organisation.
MUSWEN has been led by some of the most accomplished and most respected Muslim leaders in the South West region.
The founding President of the organisation was the world-acclaimed educationist, first Nigerian Professor of Education and former Minister of Education, Late Professor Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa, NNOM, CON. Aside from serving as the Coordinator-General prior to the formal inauguration of the organisation, he served as the President from 10th August 2008 to 11th October 2010.
The second President of MUSWEN was Justice Tijani Bolarinwa Babalakin, CON, CFR, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He served as the President (in an acting capacity) from 11th October, 2010 to 15th January, 2015. He has been serving as a member of the Board of Trustees since inception in 2008.
The third President of MUSWEN was Late Alhaji Sakariyau Olayiwola Babalola, OON, DSc, a business tycoon, leading Muslim philanthropist and respected title-holder. He served as the President from 15th January, 2015 to 2nd October, 2019. Prior to this, he had served as the Chairman of the Finance and Business Committee. He equally served as a member of the Board of Trustees since inception in August 2008 till October 2019. Alhaji Babalola had the opportunity of serving concurrently as the Deputy President-General (South) of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) from 13th August 2016 to 2nd October, 2019.
The Chairman of MUSWEN’s Board of Trustees is His Excellency, Prince (Judge) Bola ‘Abdul Jabbar Ajibola, SAN, KBE, CFR, LLD, DLitt, FCIArb FNIALS, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, former Judge of the International Court of Justice in The Hague and Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the UK. He has been serving in this capacity since 15th January, 2015.
The pioneer Chairman of MUSWEN Elders’ Council was the Late Alhaji (Chief) Abdul Fattah Idowu Sofola, MON, SAN, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, first black Secretary-General of the International Bar Association, former Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Life Bencher, former Secretary-General and later President of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE).
The pioneer Executive Secretary/CEO of MUSWEN is Professor Dawud Olatokunbo Shittu Noibi, OBE, DSc, FISN, FIAC, an Islamic scholar, retired Professor of Islamic Studies and former Imam of the University of Ibadan and former Consultant to Iqra Trust, UK. He served as the Executive Secretary/CEO of the body since its inauguration on 10th August, 2008 till 17th November, 2019.
The current Executive Secretary/CEO is Professor Muslih Tayo Yahya, FAS, FASN, an Islamic scholar and linguist. He is a retired Professor of Arabic and former Chairman of the Muslim Community of the University of Jos. He assumed office on Monday, 25th November, 2019.