•Reveals Their Programmes For The Society
Sunday 20th October 2019 was a remarkable day for members of one of the topmost Islamic Societies in Nigeria, the Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT). It was the day the present national executive headed by an IT professional and economist of high repute, Niyi Yusuf was inaugurated to paddle the canoe of affairs of the great society. The inauguration was held in the presence of members at the NASFAT Islamic Centre, Aseese, Ogun State.
Niyi Yusuf is a reputable professional who manages leading global and domestic companies in key sectors of the Nigerian economy including banking, insurance, consumer goods, oil and gas, utilities, telecommunications, and health. He graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, with a combined-honour; BSc in Computer Science and Economics. He is highly experienced and result-oriented. He is a member of the Governing Board of the Corona Schools Trust Council (a group of primary and secondary schools), director of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Director of Enablis Ghana, Director of Junior Achievement of Nigeria, Director of NASFAT Agency for Zakat and Sadaqat, and Director of Tomeb Foundation for Youth Leadership & Entrepreneurship among other education, business, and entrepreneur-oriented NGOs.
On assumption of office as the President of NASFAT, Niyi Yusuf and his team hit the ground running with the major focus on addressing the issues related to health, education and livelihood in the society. Now that he is barely two years in office, Yusuf spoke with City People’s Jamiu Abubakar, where he revealed what he and his team have been doing to advance the course of society.
“NASFAT is an Islamic society. It started with one mandate and that mandate is to develop and enlighten Muslim society that is nurtured by a true understanding of Islam for spiritual upliftment and welfare. Based on that mandate we are focusing our attention on 4 areas; Health, Education, Livelihood and Dawah. We decided on these 4 areas in 2009, October when I was sworn in as the president. Because we understand that health is wealth and one needs a healthy body to be able to contribute to society. So, we could not even factor out that there would be a pandemic before we selected it as part of our 4 priority areas; Health, Education, Livelihood and Dawah.
“In the areas of health, we are working across all our 360 locations in Nigeria to transform our health committees. We have health committees made up of health care workers; doctors, nurses and to transform some of them into hospitals or some into what we call primary health care centres that would offer services to anybody in the community, not just NASFAT members. So if you go to Osogbo today, there’s a NASFAT hospital in the Osogbo branch which has also joined the Osun State’s HMO scheme. And so it’s providing services to anybody in Osun State, not just NASFAT members. If you go to Ire, we have a full-fledged hospital, if you go to Isolo now; we are building a hospital in Isolo.
“Our second area of focus is Education. In education, we are focusing on Fountain University in Osogbo which is a university-owned by NASFAT. And last year, we got a NUC license to start two new colleges, The College of Law and also The College of Basic Medical Sciences. And so we are expanding the programmes in Fountain University, Osogbo. We also have secondary schools. Yesterday I was in Offa for the foundation laying of the NASFAT secondary school at Offa in Kwara. We have secondary schools in Kwara State, we have secondary schools in Offa and Ilorin, we have in Mokwa, we have in Abuja, we have in Lagos and of course we have in Ogun.
“Then in terms of livelihood, that’s where we train our people in terms of empowerment, and also provide them with financial grants which they can then use to buy the tools of their trade. After Ramadan last year, we distributed 10million naira to 563 persons as financial grants. By October of this year, we would be distributing another 10 million naira which some kind donors have made available to also provide grants to widows. So, that of October would be just for the widows in the society. So, the 10 million naira grant for widows come October. Also, we have an empowerment training centre in Ikorodu and we have in different areas where we train our people on various vocations and some of them we also give financial grants to.
“Last is Dawah and Dawah is how we teach people about Islam. And Islam is really about a way of life that is peaceful and where you contribute to humanity. So those are the four things that we are working on and that we focus on. In terms of Dawah, we have formed a company, LASILKIIN, that will go into digital Dawah.
“LASILKIIN Communication Limited. LASILKIIN is the Arabic word for wireless. So it’s called wireless communication. So we incorporated the company called LASILKIIN Communications. And in February this year, we set up a board. The board is chaired by Engineer Yomi Bolarinwa, the immediate past president of NASFAT who is also a retired General of the NBC, Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation. So, LASILKIIN would be our digital media arm that comes up with a NASFAT TV, Radio and other media activities through which we can then propagate Islam so that the propagation of Islam can be done on a 24 by 7 basis and it’s not just something you do when you come to a NASFAT location but it’s a something you can now watch online from wherever you may be. So these are some of the things we are doing.
“Lastly in terms of education, we have started a Leadership Academy Avec leadership academy that aims at teaching young professionals leadership based on Islamic ethics. So there are leadership programmes in Nigeria but we don’t have many programmes that can influence based on Islamic ethics. Yet we have reputable leaders in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is the best of all role models. Based on that thinking we have set up Avec as a leadership academy that would teach leadership lessons based on Islamic culture and Islamic ethos.
“I think there are a few things that make us stand out, first is that NASFAT has strategic plans. I was opportune to be the facilitator of the first strategic retreat that we did in 2000. Two weekends ago, we were in Ibadan for another strategic retreat that has come up with the 5 years plan, 2021 to 2025 for the society. Those who don’t plan are planning to fail, but when you work on a plan; that helps. That was the first thing. I think the second thing is also about corporate governance. We work in NASFAT base on the fear of God and we work based on doing the right thing even when no one is watching you. So we don’t see it as something or inconvenience but we do it in the way that you would work in your company or the way you would work if God were to be judging you. The governance is world-class. And third, I would say it’s our ability to mobilize diverse resources they come across whether you are young or old, literate or illiterate, south-west or South East. Like I said we have over 360 branches in all states and we have membership cutting across. So that diversity for us has been a source of power. I would say those are the major things that make us distinct.