‘Succession plan needed for Chief Imam’s position’
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Accra – A Muslim youth empowerment enthusiast who is also the representative of the Upper West Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji M.B. Adam, has called for a national dialogue on the succession plan for the seat of the National Chief Imam to avert any conflict situation when the seat eventually becomes vacant.

The apparent lack of a succession plan, he said, presented a looming danger which could escalate into violence and chaos should the inevitable happen to the current occupant of the office.

“Just imagine a situation when the inevitable happens today leaving a leadership vacuum, how are we going to contain the chaotic situation that will naturally emerge?” he asked.

Alhaji Adam made the call at the National Muslim Ummah Stakeholders Consultative Forum organised on the upcoming 2020 population and housing census by the Coalition of Muslim Organisations-Ghana (COMOG) in Accra last Sunday.

“We are already seeing it in the smaller groups where there are fights all over the place over the district and regional chief imams, so if there are fights at these levels that are not even nationally recognised, then how much more the position of the National Chief Imam,” he further explained in a telephone interview.

Comparatively, he said, Muslims in Ghana, unlike their Christian counterparts, did not have a documented laid-down transition plan for the smooth transfer of power from one authority to the other.

“There will be a clash of interest groups which would result in violence should the inevitable happen to the current occupant of the seat, who just recently celebrated his 100th birthday,” he said.

The position of the National Chief Imam, as curled from a write-up in the Daily Graphic edition of June 4, 2019 under the headline ‘Biography of the National Chief Imam Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu,’ was conferred on Dr Shiekh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu in 1993.

But Alhaji Adam said the office had evolved to become a very enviable and prominent position that many Muslim scholars now dreamt of occupying one day unlike before when no one really cared about it.

To curtail the apparent looming chaotic situation, he said, a conference was held in Sunyani years earlier to draft a constitution as part of efforts to find a succession plan.

Alhaji Adam – who comes across as a person with deep knowledge of the Holy Quran with proficiency in both spoken and written Arabic, coupled with years of experience in a similar position – said the draft also recommended that the next occupant of the office should be elected and not appointed and that the person must also have some level of formal education to be able to articulate the views and position of the Muslim community effectively.

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“This is the very first time that we are going to have a succession of a second national Chief Imam recognised by the whole country, and so it is important we do it democratically to prevent any confusion,” he said.

He said a copy of the draft, which was yet to be registered, had been submitted to the Office of the National Chief Imam for consideration, although he believed “there are some interest groups in the office who are stalling the progress of the draft”.

When contacted for a response, the Chairman of the National Chief Imam Advisory Board, Alhaji Gado Mohammed, said the issue was a very sensitive one as far as the office was concerned, and that any discussion on it should have the blessing of the Chief Imam.

He said although the regional chief Imams’ decision to formulate a draft to address the issue of succession for the seat of the National Chief Imam was well intended, he believed the issue should not be left for them alone but for the entire Muslim community across the country.

In any case, he said, there was an Islamic succession guide that the imams ought to be aware of as it had been captured in the Holy Quran.

‘’Islam has its steps of succeeding its leaders. It’s just that the National Chief Imam is something that has come new to us, but the imam knows what Islam has for an imam succeeding another imam,” he said.

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