Photos of Femi Osibona
History Of Femi Osibona: Everything To Know About Femi Osibona Profile, Death? Wife, Family, Ikoyi Building Collapse, Net Worth
Who Is Femi Osibona?
Femi Osibona is a prominent Nigerian born developer at fourscore homes who is the brain behind the collapsed 21-storey building which collapsed on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi area of Lagos, Southwest part of Nigeria on Monday 1st November 2021.
Femi Osibona Profile Bio Data Summary
Name: Femi Osibona
Full Name: Olufemi Osibona
Femi Osibona State Of Origin: Ogun State
Home Town: Ikenne, Ogun
Occupation, Career: Businessman, Real Estate Developer, CEO of Fourscore Homes
Net Worth: $150 Million US Dollars
Marital Status: Married
Spouse, Wife: Mrs Osibona
Femi Osibona Dead Or Alive?: Dead, Yes
Femi Osibona Burial Date: Unannounced
The building under construction collapsed on Monday afternoon with many trapped and some dead.
Osibona is the developer of the massive project dubbed: 360 Degrees Towers on 44 BCD Gerrard Road, Ikoyi. The project represents three fine pieces of high-rise and real estate, being built in the area.
Two of the projects are still standing tall while the third one collapsed on Monday.
Osibona is the Managing Director of Fourscore Homes. He told Thisday in an interview in 2019 that Fourscore Homes is a member of the NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council) in South Africa and Zurich Building Guarantee in Europe, as part of the company’s presence overseas.
His company specialises in the building of choice properties in different parts of the world.
Osibona said. “We have exhibited our expertise in property development in the United Kingdom, South Africa, the United States of America and Nigeria. Fourscore Homes possesses uncommon capabilities in redefining property development in any market we choose to play in.”
On the first floor of the building is a suspended platform that serves as a recreational area where residents can unwind and hold a small party, if they wish. Also, there is a five-star lobby where residents can host friends and family members, without compromising their privacy.
The towers have various house types: Maisonettes of about 420sqms each on three floors; penthouses on two floors; and 4-bedroom flats on one floor, with each flat as large as 400sqms – almost twice the size of most flats in other developments in Ikoyi. The penthouses are about 600sqms to 800sqms.
Osibona’s company began its foray into real estate in the United Kingdom before branching out to South Africa and later Nigeria. In 2009, when Brig-General Buba Marwa (rtd) was the Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa, Fourscore Homes built six luxury units called Fourscore Mansions in Waterkloof, a very expensive neighbourhood in Pretoria.
Osibona was also the first African developer to develop a seven-storey building in the United Kingdom. The property called Fourscore Mansion is located at 113, Albion Drive London Fields, E8, 4LZ, East London. Not only that, he was the first black developer of African origin to build other projects in the UK. The company’s real estate business started in Hackney, London in 1997.
About Femi Osibona Death: Is Femi Osibona Dead?
Femi Osibona was in the building according to BBC when the building collapsed but it’s not clear if Femi Osibona died in the Ikoyi building collapse.
At press time last night, it could not be ascertained if one of the foremost Nigeria estate developers, Mr. Femi Osibona, who was in the building at the time of collapse, died in the rubble.
Femi Osibona Death Updated: Femi Osibona Is Dead
Femi Osibona’s Dead Body Recovered From Collapsed Building Rubble (Vanguard)
A body beloved to be the owner of the building, Femi Osibona has been recovered on Thursday.
Combined team of emergency responders recovered the body which has been taken to morgue.
As gathered, the lifeless body of Osibona, was recovered Thursday, after painstaking efforts from emergency responders.
However, there were conflicting reports on when the body was actually recovered. While a report said the body was recovered early Thursday, another stated Thursday evening. As of press time, there was no official confirmation on the report.
The 16 floors building was owned and constructed by the late Osibona’s company Fourscore Heights Limited.
After over 72 hours of rescue and search operations since the incident occured, a vehicle belonging to one of the trapped victims was removed from the scene on Thursday evening by rescue team.
The details of the vehicle that was removed from the scene is YAB655AZ, Toyota Highlander, dark colour
He owner was said to be the owner of an aluminium fabrication company. He came there with some of his workers who include one Kenneth Otu.
Family, Children, Marriage, Wife: Femi Osibona is married to Mrs Osibona with children.
Daughters: Femi Osibona has 3 beautiful daughters
Pictures of Femi Osibona and His three daughters Dancing
Watch Video of Femi Osibona and his three daughters Dancing
Femi Osibona Net Worth 2020, 2021, 2022 Forbes, In Naira
How much is Femi Osibona Net Worth?
Net Worth: Femi Osibona net worth is about $150 Million US Dollars.
Religion: Femi Osibona is a Christian and a celestial church member.
Photos Of Oluwo Of Iwo And Femi Osibona At The Ikoyi Building Weeks Before Collapse
The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, early last month, went on an assessment tour alongside developer, Femi Osibona to the building that collapsed yesterday.
This was shared via facebook by Telu Initiatives-Greater Iwo Empire on October 9, 2021.
Oluwo on an assessment visit to one of the best Africa Homes, under construction by the renowned developer, Femi Osibona of Fourscore Homes in Gerald road, Ikoyi. The 22 storey building 360 degree home is an access to have a full capacity glance at the whole heart of lagos.
Femi Osibona is one of the pride of African in giving the continent an enviable outlook. Getting apartment in centre Lagos is as prestigious as those of advanced countries
Ikoyi Building Collapse: Why We Withdrew Further Services — Construction Company
A letter has shown that Prowess Engineering Limited, the company that began the construction of the building which collapsed in Ikoyi, Lagos on Monday withdrew from the project in February 2020.
The company withdrew its services on grounds that it no longer shared the same vision with its client believed to be Fourscore Heights Limited as addressed in the letter.
Prowess Engineering Limited, which had constructed two other buildings for its client, said it couldn’t guarantee the integrity of the third (collapsed building) from anything above the fourth floor.
The letter titled, ‘Re: Proposed Gerrard Terraces For Fourscore Limited,’ was signed by the company’s managing director, Muritala Olawale who confirmed its veracity to our Correspondent.
It read, “This letter is to formally inform you of the withdraw of our structural consultancy service from the above named project. We arrived at this decision due to the fact that we no longer share the same vision with you as our client in terms of how the project is being executed.
“We can guarantee the integrity of the first two buildings and also work done up to the fourth floor of the third building supervised by us provided specifications have been met in terms of the required concrete strength. This we do not have control over as we do not have the concrete cube test results of each stage of the building till date. Also, note that we are not taking responsibility for any other construction errors that may have occurred overtime on the project.
“We regret this decision and the lost opportunity to do business together. We look forward to future cooperation in other projects.”
Meanwhile, The PUNCH learnt that three survivors have been rescued while four dead bodies have been recovered from the rubble of the collapsed building as of the time of filing this report.
Femi Osibona Arrested For Resisting Sealing Off His Ikoyi Building Before It Collapsed (Throwback Video)
Femi Osibona, the developer of the collapsed Ikoyi 21-storey building was arrested for resisting sealing off his project by Lagos State Government in July 2020.
In a throwback video, he was the one seen wearing “Senator” material. His security aides were carried away physically.
Femi Osibona was arrested by Lagos State Government officials at the site of the building which collapsed in Lagos a few days ago for resisting, with the help of mobile policemen, attempts to inspect the construction work by officials.
He was reportedly released the same day on “directives from above”.
Watch the video below
Watch Femi Osibona Interview With TVC (Throwback Video)
REAL ESTATE EXPERT, FEMI OSIBONA TALKS ABOUT HIS BIG PROJECT
By City People
August 16, 2021
•It’s A 3 Tower Residential Skyscrapper Along GERRARD Road
Femi Osibona is one of the leading Real Estate developers in Lagos. He is the M.D of Four Score Homes and has gone the length and breadth of the world to validate his professional turf when we talk about the real estate business. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Fourscore Homes, a firm that specialises in the building of luxury and choice properties in different parts of the world.
Aside from the intimidating project credentials in the last 2 decades, the real estate expert has the grace of being the first to plant property in places that were hitherto not attractive, but after his Midas touch, those places become a centre of attraction to prospective house owners and real estate players.
Years back, Osibona decided to storm Nigeria in full force to replicate the same classy projects in Nigeria as his contribution to developing his home country.
He is currently working on a big project along Gerrard Road he calls 360 Degrees Towers, which is a combination of 3 highrise structures located on Gerrard Road in Ikoyi, Lagos. It will join other developments in the area, including Signatoria, Radisson Hotel Ikoyi. He is constructing 3 Skyscrapers of 15 Floors each. What he is building is a 15-Floor strictly residential facility. The concept is to have serviced flats in the 3 Towers and for residents to experience a stress-free lifestyle, complete with a hotel flair.
In this recent interview with TVC, he spoke about his journey into the real estate business 23 years ago and how he has helped to develop many areas in the UK and other countries with his creative housing plan. Read Excerpts
How did you get into the real estate sector?
I have to say all Glory must be to God I finished my university career in England in 1991 they When I finished I went into buying and selling shoes and suits. That was what I was doing from 1991 to 1997 to be precise.
When it got to 1996 I made up my mind that I wanted to buy a house. And that was my plan; to buy a house and rent it out and to still continue selling. Then after some time, I just felt, let me just go into development, because I spoke to people then I was tired of moving around. You know when I was selling shoes I never had a shop, I was moving around, but I was making money at that level. I go to Italy to buy the shoes and bring them to London to sell. I understand the secret of selling. I know Nigerians like shoes, and they like suits, not because they need them, but because they like good stuff. So, I have certain people that I target. I target that if you have money and you are a man of your word. I know if you are a man of your word, you will pay. And I must be sure you have money. Because if you are a man of your word, and you don’t have money, you will still owe, but you have money and you are not a man of your word, you will not pay. Those were my two criteria which many people did not know.
So in 1997, luckily for me, I bought a place on 469, A Cross Road, I think for about 68,000 pounds. When I bought the place, it has land behind it. And to me, the land meant nothing, and I was going to sell the land, and somebody offered me 15,000 pounds. So, I took my lawyer to sell it.
I was going to Nigeria, so I told my lawyer to collect the 500 pounds deposit. By the time I got back, the lawyer didn’t sell because she said the buyer didn’t pay ten per cent. I was so angry because I’d told her I’m aware he’s paying 500 pounds. So I terminated the lawyer’s contract with me.
So I went to the person who introduced me to the lawyer and told her about my grievance. Then she asked me, ‘why would you even want to sell the land, don’t you know you can build on the land? It was strange to me.
We consulted an architect, we called the local authority and did the survey. Eventually, we were told that we could build a 2-unit flat on that land. And that was how it started. We used the rent that we collect on the main flat and shop to develop the space. That was in 1998. It was sold and then again, I bought something else. I bought a big house and converted it to three flats. I applied for a 2-storey extension, but I guess there was a mistake by the authority and they wrote 3-storey. While the construction was going on, the neighbours went to report, because the residential structure in the area is limited to a 2-stories. We went to court and we won. After we built the property, the cost of property in that area rose and we made a double profit of what we had thought we would make. And permit me to add, when I bought this property, people told me that I might not make money. But to cut the story short, we made a lot of money. So that was in 1999 to 2000. After finishing that project, I went further to Peckham. Peckham used to be a slum. Nobody wants to live in Peckham.
I bought land around May 2000 in Peckham. Again, when I bought Peckham, it started going up. Was there any reason for buying Peckham? No. It was just what was available.
But the secret is that I believe God had already planned my life from the beginning. So I bought the place. I did two houses; number 41 and 42 Bradford Road. I never knew the property had gone so high. I sold the first one for 185,000 pounds because I thought, 185 was a good deal. The second I sold for 250,000 pounds. Those types of houses are now going for about 500,000 pounds today.
From there, I entered the property market fully. I came to Nigeria in 2000 and thought I have arrived (laughs). In my mind, I just wanted to go and relax in Nigeria. Then I went on holiday in London, and I went to a friend’s house. And I saw that my friend is living among the white people. He was living in a very big house and I was shocked. At my level, I thought I was already on top.
So I came back to Nigeria. At that time, my plan was to live in Nigeria and be building in London. So, there was this land that I bought in London that is still existing till today. It was a pulp, and it was to be demolished and applied for planning permission to develop a semi-basement and 5 storey building. I was scared because I haven’t done 5 floors before.
Then I met a friend of mine. His name is Simpson. We became friends. I went to meet him and we agreed that I will contribute to the land and he will be in charge of development. I was relying on him because I did not even know how to start the project. Later I realised that he was using my own property to raise money. And one day while we were talking, he said he just finished listening to a Christian channel, and the pastor was Creflo Dollar. He said Creflo Dollar was preaching that there are some Christians; they don’t like taking risks and they want to move forward, that if you cannot take a risk, you cannot move forward. They want to do what they have been doing before and they want to achieve different results. Believe me, as he was talking to me, I just had the feeling that God was talking to me. Remember that he’s been playing me. And something just came to my mind that if this man never tried this one, I won’t be going to him. This man is going to make free money, just because I don’t want to take a risk. So I decided to run the whole project on my own. Started making an enquiry, I got my engineer and engineer and we kicked off. Again, when we did it, housing started going up. My budget was that each house will be sold for 200,000 pounds, we did 14 flats, by the time we finished, it was about 350,000 pounds. From there, I now decided that I want to go back to Africa.
What prompted you to come back to Africa?
I came to Africa because I believe Africa is where you enjoy your money. You know in the UK, you can’t have two drivers, or two cooks, or two gardeners. I felt that Africa was the place I can enjoy my money. Although I am a Nigerian, but Nigeria was never in my mind. I could remember I went to Ghana is 2005. I was with Dele Momodu and we were having a nice time. About that time I was planning to buy land in an area called Airport residential and East Legon, but eventually, I didn’t buy. Then I went to South Africa. I went on a holiday. I went with my family. I fell in love with South Africa. My plan there was to be living in South Africa and be making money in London. By 2008, I was in London and God spoke to me that the time of Nigeria has come. It was sometime in January 2008.
So started planning, then I was building an estate in Pretoria South Africa. Immediately I got the direction, I sold the estate. Immediately I moved out of South Africa, property business went down, when I got to Nigeria, I decided to by land at Mosley in Ikoyi. I did it, things went well. Although we made a lot of mistakes. When I first come to Nigeria, I believe in consultants, whatever they tell me something, I do it without question. It was later that I realised that these consultants only advise based on the book, they do not understand the practical delivery of these projects. For instance, I was advised to buy a 100 KVA generator, but I decided to buy 800KVA. Guess what? We never used the 800KWA, we have sold it now. The highest we are using is 500. After that project, I was a little bit frustrated. Then I went back and started to invest abroad. I started buying properties in America, Atlanta to be precise. I could remember this late Senator Oshinowo and told me all these things I am doing in Atlanta, I should come and do it in Nigeria, and another friend told me the same thing and asked why I was running away from Nigeria. Then in 2018, I came to Nigeria, I went around and decided that I will do some things that have not been done before in Nigeria. Now I was ready and I understand the system and terrain. I left Nigeria in 1986 and came back in 2008. That is what prompted my new projects here. In Nigeria, we have this belief that if a man is not there, then it cannot be built. So, my intention is change this narrative.
What role has the government played in helping you actualise your dream in Nigeria?
Yes, let me say at this point that may God bless, our Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, if every governor in Nigeria was like him, I will advise businessmen in the diaspora to come and invest in Lagos. This is a man that wants businessmen to move forward and also want the state to move forward. You know he knows about properties very well, so he understands how the property market goes. He understands what you need. He’s not there to frustrate you.
There was a time we had a problem and we went to meet him and you know, he just sorted it easily for us. I was shocked because I have heard some people talk about him that the man is very supportive as long as you don’t do things that are against the law. He has given us good ground play. They don’t frustrate us at all.
Our Business, 360 I on Gerrard Road. You know Gerrard Road is still the most expensive road in Africa. I’m sure you know in Gerrard Road, they want us to do Highrise, but luckily for us. We are the only one that has a driveway that keeps you away from the noise of cars on the road.
We are actually building a 7-Star Hotel. They are flats, but we make it feel like you are living in a 7-star hotel. Everything that is in 7-Star Hotel, you will have there. But the only difference is that you own the property. We have not advertised and we have sold more than 50%. People who are buying from us are the people who have bought from us in the past. Here in 360, we have security, exceptional view, offices, clubhouse, and open recreation area. Practically everything you have in a 7-Star hotel.
Now that we have tried it and it worked for us, lots of my friends are now looking towards building a highrise. At 360, one of the buildings is called Grace, another one Peace, and the other one Faith. Those are the things that are working there. When the Grace of God is upon your life, please just work.
I believe so much in God, and I believe without God behind you, you can’t make it. That’s my belief. My bible tells me that if you can believe, all things are possible. It also says without faith it is impossible to please God. I am one of the few people that believe that if you want to make it as a Christian if you are not ready to take it through faith, you will never make it. Christianity has a lot to do with action. Faith without action is frustration.
What would you say to Nigerians travelling abroad and are not investing?
It’s a mindset thing. When I wanted to relocate to Africa, someone tells me most people who want to return abroad is because they don’t have what to do. I believe there’s a lot someone can do in the property market in Nigeria. Why are the white people coming here, why are the Chinese and Lebanese coming here? What I will advise is that when you are coming to Nigeria, have a mindset of positivity. Then you need to move with the right people. When I came back from South Africa, most of the people I moved with were into properties, so I could see. So when people come and say there’s nothing happening in Nigeria, I just think they are deceiving themselves. We have a good government in Lagos working and making investment easier.
All these high-rises we have in Dubai, we will still have here in Nigeria, UK was like Nigeria some 70 years ago. I was speaking to some Chinese guys who invest in Nigeria and they told me that what England came to do to them, about 50 years ago is what they are also doing to Africa. That the British came to China about 50 years ago and they were investing because they saw the future of China. So they are also investing in Nigeria because they have seen the future of Nigeria. So I am confident that Nigeria has a very bright future.
What’s your projection for the real estate sector in 2021?
Well, I’m sure you know Ikoyi will continue going up. Recently they increased the approval fee and other things going into hundreds of millions. Cement is going high and land is going for 800 million per square meter. What I understand about Ikoyi is when you build a property, don’t build for someone that will buy to rent, but for people that will live in there themselves. This means your property must be very nice.
As for what we have in stock, I can guarantee you that this is just a starting point. Whatever you are seeing from our stable now is just the beginning. I can tell you that the future is bright. What we are doing at the moment is merely 2% of what we intend to do in Nigeria.
How are Nigerians accepting these huge projects?
I have to tell you this. So you know we have not done any advert now? We intentionally did not do the advert. It’s because we want to finish all the things we have on the ground. Those who have bought have not seen 10% of what’s in that project. By the time they see the slab, by the time they see the view, by the time they see the designs, which they are not seeing now, the price is going to shoot up. So, I can tell you now, the people that bought are people that have insight.
What more do you think can make your business easier?
I have to be honest with you. I think Lagos State has done enough. The approval is fast, the tax system is running. The roads are getting restructured and those are what is required. So, I can just encourage the government to keep up the good work.
Femi Osibona, Man Who Makes Little Saints Orphans His Family By Steadymind (2015 Article)
PHILANTROPIC PROFILE OF MR FEMI OSIBONA
Mr. Femi Osibona is a Grand Patron, Sponsor and benefactor of Little Saints Orphanages and many other Non- Governmental organizations across the globe. He is a philanthropist to the core. He has a heart of Gold accommodating the troubles and difficulties of the less privileged, persons with disability, the elderly and vulnerable children.
Through various outlets of compassion he has brought succour and hope to the down trodden.
Since 1997 He has given scholarships for primary, secondary and tertiary education to over 200 children amounting to millions of naira. He has sent over 100 displaced young adults for vocational training who today are financially independent.
He donated an opulent property , furnished and fully equipped facility of a twin duplex and a bungalow worth over 250 million naira to Little Saints orphanage in Ogudu GRA Lagos. This accommodation has been home to the female undergraduates of the Orphanage as well as babies under care and custody from various courts in Lagos state. This donation is one of its kind and has boosted the morale of these vulnerable children lifting them to a privileged status, thereby re-writing their destiny.
On a monthly basis Mr Osibona organizes soup kitchens consisting of choice menus for orphans and widows in various orphanages and ghettos in Lagos State.
In recent times He has been the major sponsor of the events of the Association of Orphanages and Homes Operators in Nigeria, (ASOHON) donating Generators to orphanages across the country.
The generosity of Mr Osibona is remarkable and worthy of emulation. The corporate social responsibility of his companies is outstanding. He has amazing plans for the vulnerable children and less privileged of our nation. May God equip him to do more and reward him far beyond all our expectations.
Obituary: Femi Osibona Burial Date, Funeral Arrangements (When Will Femi Osibona Be Buried?)
Family of Femi Osibona, owner of the 21 Storey Ikoyi Building is yet to announce his burial plans, arrangements. Femi Osibona is yet to be buried. His corpse was just recovered yesterday, 4th November 2021.
Governor Dapo Abiodun Pays Condolence Visit To Femi Osibona’s Father (Photos)
Yesternight, The Executive Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun paid a condolence visit to Chief Emmanuel Osibona, who is the father of late Olufemi Adegoke Osibona, the owner of 21-storey building that collapsed in Ikoyi on Monday, 1st November 2021.
Photo of Femi Osibona Father and Ogun Governor Abiodun
Late Olufemi Osinbona passed away having been trapped in the collapsed building.
His Excellency commiserate with the Baba Ijo of Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ikenne, over the unfortunate incident and pray God grant him and the entire family the fortitude to bear this sad and irreparable loss.
Late Femi Osibonna Was A Religious Bigot – Farouk Kperogi
Today’s Saturday Tribune/Peoples Gazette column uses the story of one Adebowale Sikiru whom Fourscore MD Femi Osibona (who sadly died in the collapsed building) denied a job only because of his Muslim faith to call attention to time-honored casual bigotry and inferiorization of Yoruba Muslims by their own people in their own land. I’m ready and loaded for bear for the predictable attacks from people who’d rather sweep this uncomfortable truth under the drug and attack the messenger.
Ikoyi Tragedy and Casual Bigotry Against Yoruba Muslims
By Farooq A. Kperogi
Amid the grief of the heartrendingly tragic collapse of the 21-storey luxury apartment building in Ikoyi, Lagos, a sadly familiar, barely acknowledged but nonetheless insidiously widespread anti-Muslim bigotry in Yoruba land came to light.
A Yoruba Muslim by the name of Adebowale Sikiru revealed in an interview with a YouTube news channel called AN 24 that he was rejected for a job at the Ikoyi construction site because of his Muslim faith. He applied for the position of a site engineer and was found qualified enough to deserve being invited for an interview by Femi Osibona, the MD of Fourscore Homes, the firm that managed the construction of the ill-fated multi-storey building.
After the interview, Sikiru said Osibona asked him what church he attended, and he responded that he was a Muslim. “Ah, I can’t work with a Muslim,” Sikiru quoted Osibona to have said. Osibona reportedly said in Yoruba that he couldn’t work with someone whose response to his chant of “Praise God!” would be “Alhamdulillah!”
When Sikiru told him of his struggles with getting gainfully employed after graduation, Osibona also reportedly said it was probably because of his Muslim faith that he was not “able to make a headway” in life. “He said that in front of even the bricklayers” and many others at the site, Sikiru said.
Sikiru left the site sad, humiliated, and deflated, but a friend of his who brought his attention to the job he had interviewed for called him while he was on his way back home. The friend wanted to find out if he was trapped in the building that had collapsed a few hours earlier. That was the time it dawned on Sikiru that his rejection and humiliation on account of his faith ironically saved him from death.
Unfortunately, Osibona died in the collapsed building, so we have no way of getting his own side of the story. Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem plausible that Sikiru, who didn’t even come across as a devout Muslim during his interview with AN 24, would just wake up and invent the encounter with Osibona. Plus, videos that have emerged of Osibona’s meretriciously outward displays of his Christianity and evangelical exhibitionism are consistent with Sikiru’s account of his encounter with him.
More than that, though, it merely instantiates the casual bigotry that Yoruba Muslims routinely contend with in their own natal region on account of their faith, which I’ve known for years.
I followed the social media conversations that Sikiru’s encounter with Osibona triggered among Yoruba Muslims and came away with the distinct impression that many Yoruba Muslims are seething with frustration and deep-seated inferiority complex on account of their faith-based systematic exclusion and demonization, but they are grinning and bearing their fate in smoldering silence out of social pressure, out of anxieties about social ostracism. We call this the spectacle of the spiral of silence in communication theory.
A Facebook friend of mine by the name of Ganiyu Oludare Lasisi who now lives and works in Scotland narrated how he was denied a job to teach high school geography in his hometown of Abeokuta because of his Muslim faith. He has an Upper Second-Class honors degree in Geography and a distinction in the subject in his “O” level. But “on the day of the interview,” Lasisi said, “the school owner/founder (also a pastor) rejected me because of my Muslim name (Ganiyu). I was so sad and angry then. He even suggested that I can convert to Christianity and change Ganiyu to Gabriel.”
In their safe spaces, multiple Yoruba Muslims shared similar such anecdotal encounters of causal bigotry. They say they are habitually ridiculed for their faith, sneered at for their Muslim sartorial choices, alienated and rhetorically marginalized, and outright denied opportunities by people with whom they share the same ethnicity. Several of them are forced to convert to Christianity or hide their faith to fit in.
Just the other day, on November 3, Premium Times published a story of the appointment of a 45-year-old professor of geo-technical engineering by the name of Afeez Bello as acting Vice Chancellor of the Osun State University in Osogbo. The photo of Bello that the paper used to illustrate the story was of a heavily bearded man with a Muslim felt hat.
Apparently, that sartorial symbol of male Muslim identity was like a red rag to a bull among Christian Facebook commenters, most of whom were Yoruba. The man was called “Boko Haram,” “Shekau’s reincarnation,” a “fanatic,” and all sorts of other cruel slanders and unwarrantedly unmentionable vituperations. I was emotionally distraught after reading a sample of the comments. I inflicted self-torture on myself.
The truth is that the famed religious ecumenicalism and tolerance of the Yoruba people is often achieved at the expense of Yoruba Muslims. It is they, and not their Christian brothers and sisters, who must always perform religious tolerance. (In his interview with the YouTube news channel, even Sikiru felt compelled to say that 95 percent of his friends are Christians and that he hadn’t closed off the possibility that he could convert to Christianity at some point in his life.)
It is Yoruba Muslims who are required to downplay or hide their religious identity in the interest of an overarching Yoruba identity because, over the last few decades, Christianity has been rhetorically constituted in the popular imagination as a core constituent in the construction of Yoruba identity. That’s why prominent Yoruba Muslims almost always have to invoke their connection to Christianity to fit in.
The late Gani Fawehinmi always had a need to show that his wife was a Christian. Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a need to strategically let it be known that his wife isn’t only a Christian but a deacon. House of Representatives Speaker Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila concealed his Muslim identity until he needed the support of the Muslim North to become Speaker. After the fact, his handlers played up the fact that his wife and his mother are Christians.
Prince Bola Ajibola, one of Africa’s finest jurists who happens to be a devout Muslim, doesn’t openly bear Abduljabar, his Muslim name—unlike his father who bore Abdulsalam as his first name—perhaps, not being married to a Christian, it was his only way to reassure his Christian Yoruba brothers and sisters that he is Yoruba. Yet, he is so strong in his Muslim faith that he established the Crescent University, one of Nigeria’s first private Islamic universities, in his hometown of Abeokuta.
Although Muslims constitute a numerical majority in Yoruba land, they are a symbolic minority and are perpetually put in a position to prove their “Yorubaness.” For instance, in the heat of the debate over the formation of Amotekun to ward off “Fulani bandits,” Bolaji Aluko, who was a professor here in the United States and who is now a prominent Ekiti State government official, used the moment to stealthily alienate Yoruba Muslims in his state.
In a January 25, 2021 article titled “Sunday Musings: On the Matter of Farmer-Herdsmen Clashes in Ekiti State,” he wrote, among other things, “Our Muslim Yoruba citizens must decide whether the Umma principle of brotherhood is greater that [sic] the collective security of our Yoruba citizenry.” As I told him then, there are at least four ways in which he was wrong.
First, he exoticized, needlessly put Yoruba Muslims on the spot, and created a false binary between being Muslim and being Yoruba, even though (nominal) Muslims constitute the majority in Oyo, Osun, Ogun, and Lagos states. Islam has been in Yorubaland since at least the 1400s. The first mosque was built in Oyo-Ile, the ancient capital of the Oyo Empire, in 1550, that is, centuries before colonialism.
Second, Yoruba Muslims are themselves victims of the homicidal fury of Fulani brigands. If being Muslim hasn’t immunized Yoruba Muslims against sanguinary clashes with Fulani people, why should they be singled out as people who are suspect, as people who might betray non-Muslim Yoruba people to the Fulani out of “the Umma principle of brotherhood,” which, by the way, is nonsensical, meaningless verbiage?
Third, Aluko’s claim assumes that all Fulani brigands are Muslims (they are NOT) and that they are committing their crimes on behalf of Islam, which would predispose them spare Yoruba Muslims in the spirit of “the Umma principle of brotherhood.” But nothing can be more ignorant and bigoted than that.
If “Umma principle of brotherhood” (whatever the heck that means) were a thing, Muslims in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, and elsewhere (who are also incidentally Fulani, Hausa, or “Hausa-Fulani”) wouldn’t be killed, kidnapped, and overawed by criminally bloodthirsty Fulani brigands. Mosques wouldn’t be invaded, and imams and worshipers kidnapped and murdered. That should tell anyone that this isn’t about religion or even ethnicity.
Sadly, Yoruba Muslims have no voice and seem to have accepted their fate with listless resignation. Not being a Yoruba myself, I know I will be viciously attacked by the people who lubricate and enjoy the current hegemonic high ground that puts Yoruba Muslims at the lower end of the totem pole, but I am not one to shy away from telling the truth because of fear of attacks. I resist injustice no matter who the victims or the perpetrators are.
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