President Muhammadu Buhari and President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, have called on Nigerians to pray for the nation to overcome the myriad of problems facing it. In their separate messages yesterday to celebrate Eid-al-Fitri, marking the end of Ramadan fasting, the two leaders said this is the best time for Nigerians to remember the country in prayers for it to remain as one indivisible country.
In a goodwill message contained in a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu, the President urged all Nigerians to seize the opportunity of today to pray against all forms of insecurity that is currently bedevilling the country. He also called for continued observation of the COVID-19 prevention protocols while urging citizens not to be carried away with celebrations.l
He said: “Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians, are imperative, especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges, which are surmountable only when we come together as one. We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.”
According to the President, it is noteworthy and delightful to see Christians breaking fast and in some instances, extending goodwill and gifts to Muslim faithful during Ramadan. “This model also shone through with Muslim groups joining Christian festivities. These are practices that promote brotherhood and forgiveness,” he said.
On his part, the Senate President, Lawan, felicitated with the Muslim faithful on the completion of this year’s Ramadan fast, saying: “Every true Muslim feels joy at participating in the Ramadan fast, which is a key obligation in Islam. May Almighty Allah, therefore, reward us for the spiritual voyage and grant our earnest wishes for ourselves, families and dear country.”
According to him, due to the current security and economic challenges, Nigeria needs the prayers of every patriot now more than ever before to achieve the peace, unity and progress that were the dreams of the founding fathers.
ALSO calling for prayers and unity were former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, immediate past Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and a presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim.
Atiku, in a statement he personally signed, said this year’s Eid-al-Fitr was coming at a time Nigeria is going through a challenging moment concerning the security of life and property and when a large number of people are hard hit by the ravaging scourge of poverty.
“As Muslims, we need to remind ourselves of our obligation to ensuring peace and unity within our family and in our neighbourhood at all times. Today, across Nigeria, there is a scary and growing tendency to mistrust along ethnic and religious lines. As Muslims, we know from both the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Noble Prophet Muhammed (SAW) that no tribe or race is superior to another, except the one that seeks piety to the Almighty Allah.
“We do not attain piety through hate or blood-letting. We attain piety through forbearance and by sharing love. That is the message that we must give some reflection as we celebrate Eid today,” the former VP said.
On his part, congratulated Muslims in Nigeria and across the world on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr, Saraki advised Nigerians to continue with their closeness to Almighty Allah and their prayers for His intervention in the affairs of the country, even after the obligatory fasting period.
In a statement signed by his special adviser and head of his media office, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said: “The current situation in our country requires a sincere change of mindset by all Nigerians. We should use this post-Ramadan period and the lessons we learnt from the fasting period to steer clear of any action, which does not bode well for our country. This is a period when we all need to pray to Allah to once again pull the country back from the precipice.
“With the level of insecurity and economic crisis, which have combined to worsen the rate of poverty in the country, all Nigerians must unite and demonstrate patriotism that will help our country overcome the present challenges.
“I commend our security agencies at the frontline and pray that Almighty God will protect and give them victory over the insurgents and other non-state actors inflicting violence on our country. May Allah heal our land of any form of affliction.”
Saraki noted that Ramadan does not just symbolise having a positive attitude during the fasting period but represents a total change towards becoming good citizens who comply with the law and demonstrate patriotism at all times.
“We should refrain from returning to our old habits and become responsible citizens who pray for the country at all times and play our roles in the quest to entrench the fear of God, discipline, unity, development, equity, justice and inclusiveness in the polity.”
THE APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, has urged Nigerians to put politics aside and pray for the President for strength and wisdom to protect the nation. In his message titled: ‘Let righteous acts, efforts of Ramadan continue to guide our actions,’ Tinubu stressed that fasting is a sign of complete devotion to God.
“Let us put politics aside and continue to pray to Almighty Allah for our country and all its people. Let us put politics aside and continue to pray for Buhari and his government. We must never condone and tolerate the works and words of those who would do evil or who would pit brother against brother, Nigerian against Nigerian,” he said.
Tinubu also emphasised that Nigerians should pray for soldiers and those that are on the frontline against the war on terrorism and coronavirus pandemic.
On his part, former presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Olawepo-Hashim, said Nigerians must be ready to contribute to the peace that he said the country needed now more than ever before. He said: “We need peace more than ever before. This period should be for the cleansing of our inner souls and collective prayer for the good and well being of our country.”
The politician noted that the Ramadan period, which has been of intense worship to God, should be a time to reflect and abide by the teachings of Prophet Muhammad in extending love, acts of unity and compassion to mankind.
Similarly, a former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi and vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Peter Obi, charged Nigerians not to allow the prevailing hardship and mounting insecurity in the country to adversely affect their spirit of love, brotherliness and peaceful co-existence.
Obi said the people should rather use this year’s Eid-el-Fitr festivities to engender the spirit of oneness and also re-dedicate themselves to the virtues of love, patriotism and unity for the desired national development.
Obi in a statement from his media office noted that Nigerians should allow the solemnness of the last month of Ramadan to positively influence their thoughts and actions in relating with one another.