Oyo state Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has appointed Prof. Sayed Hamzah Ayantunde Malik as the new chairman of the Oyo State Pilgrimage Board (Muslim Wing) with immediate effect.
He is to replace Alhaji Taofeeq Akewugbagold, who had been in charge since the beginning of the administration of former governor Abiola Ajimobi.
This, sources told OYO INSIGHT, became necessary following the disbandment of council chairmen as well as helmsmen of government agencies and parastatals, that was announced after Makinde’s inauguration.
Malik, who hails from Igboho, headquarters of Oorelope local government, is a professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Ibadan.
Akewugbagold had about two months ago expressed joy that the turnout of intending pilgrims for this year hajj was encouraging, even though some of them were skeptical that the change of government in the state might affect the pilgrimage policy.
He alleged that some private operators have been spreading false information, telling pilgrims not to pay into the board’s account because he (Akewugbagold) would no longer be in office and their money may be unaccounted for.
The Oyo born cleric, who said they were doing this purposely to earn high patronage, assured the intending pilgrims not to nurse any fear concerning the change in government, adding that they will surely have a successful hajj exercise with or without him in charge.
995 slots were allocated to the state by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, for the 2019 hajj exercise.