By Sam Eyoboka, Levinus Nwabughiogu & Agaju Madugba
ABUJA — Against the backdrop of criticisms that he has been too slow since he assumed office on May 29, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, begged Nigerians for patience, saying he has been working meticulously to tackle the many national challenges which he identified.
In his message to commemorate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Ramadan Fast, President Buhari stated that though there were heaps of misdeeds of the past administration, his government would ensure that every wrong of the past was corrected. He added that stamping out corruption still remained one of the cardinal objectives of his administration.
According to him, there is much work to be done and every step would be correctly taken to ensure that there would not be “business as usual.”
He, however, appealed to Nigerians to continue to pray for his government, saying that he would not fail them.
His words: “I remain wholly committed to giving the required leadership towards undoing the wrongs of the past, ensuring that Nigeria truly begins to unlock its great potential and that the benefits of our immense national resources are shared and enjoyed by all, not just by successive cabals of corrupt leaders and their cronies.
“I was aware of your high expectations when I assumed office and I reassure you, my fellow citizens, that since my inauguration on May 29, this year, I have been working with utmost dedication to meticulously plan and tackle the many national challenges which we identified and promised to resolve.
“To succeed, however, I need your continued support, understanding and patience.
“I fully understand and share the thirst of my long-suffering compatriots for corruption-free government institutions that work efficiently to deliver visible development for the benefit of all citizens.
“I also share the feelings of those who think that we should be moving faster. But I urge them and all Nigerians to trust that my commitment to real and positive change in our nation is as firm as ever.
“There is indeed much work to be done, but we must do it well and carefully to ensure that the great opportunity which we now have is not lost to the “business as usual” group who selfishly or shortsightedly prefer a status quo that panders to their personal or group interests.
“The adverse effects of years of rot, corruption, inept and bad governance on our nation are immense, but certainly not insurmountable if we all resolve now to place the well-being of our nation above all other considerations and work whole-heartedly with the present administration to achieve greater peace and security across the nation, and reposition our country for faster economic development and progress.”
President Buhari congratulated the Islamic faithful who successfully completed their Ramadan fast, urging them to embrace self-denial for the growth of the country.
“I greet and felicitate with you all, especially our citizens of the Islamic faith on this auspicious occasion of the 2015 Eid-el-Fitr celebrations.
“I congratulate all those who have successfully completed the Ramadan fast in keeping with the injunction of our Creator.
“Although we have come to the end of this year’s month of Ramadan, I believe that a greater acceptance by Nigerians of its key lessons of self-denial and sacrifice will serve our dear country well as we strive to overcome our present challenges, undo the damage done by years of bad governance and accelerate the pace of national development.
“Reviewing our dire circumstances and the many missed opportunities of the past, some commentators and observers have said that this is Nigeria’s last chance to get its act together and finally begin to fulfill its God-given potential for greatness.
“While not going that far, I certainly believe that now, more than ever before, our country needs greater self-denial, sacrifice and patriotism from all of its citizens, if we are to quickly recover from our numerous problems and start moving in a positive direction.
“This current period of our life as a nation offers us a great opportunity to break from the vicious triangle of insecurity, corruption and under-development. We must collectively resolve to seize this opportunity and unite to confront our problems”, the president said.
Sultan congratulates Muslims
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, who is also President-General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has congratulated Muslims across the country and enjoined them to reflect on the inherent lessons embedded in fasting which include faith, sincerity, sacrifice, humility, compassion, giving, piety, and commitment.
The sultan, in a statement signed by the JNI Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu said: ”The JNI under the leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto uses this medium to once again thank Allah, the Most High, for sparing our lives to have observed one of the fundamental pillars of Islam, the Ramadan fasting. This indeed is a pointer to us all to reflect on the inherent lessons embedded in fasting which include but not limited to, faith, sincerity, sacrifice, humility, compassion, giving, piety, commitment.
“Once more, Nigerian Muslims are hereby called upon to always cast back their minds to the good virtues of the month of Ramadan and keep to its teachings throughout their lives.
“Above all, Muslims are reminded to keep to strict adherence of the tenets of the Glorious Qur’an, for the dignity of the Ummah and humanity, for the redemption of the Ummah always lies in upholding the imperatives of the Qur’an, especially in this painful trying moment of our nationhood.
“Given the importance of Ramadan in the lives of the Muslims, we are all implored to sustain the spirit beyond the month of Ramadan.
“It is no longer news that many parts of the country are witnessing shortage of rainfall, thus the need for more concerted prayers to that effect.
“Most importantly, Muslims are also reminded of Zakatul-Fitr (ordained alms giving at the end of Ramadan fast) which preferably should be given out to the needy two days before the Eid-el-Fitr day or before the commencement of the Eid prayer.
“This if done, will assist the down-trodden, to celebrate the Sallah happily with the rest of the Muslims.
“We, therefore, urge Muslim brothers and sisters to continue praying fervently for the peaceful existence of Nigeria, and keep to the pristine teachings of Islam.
“JNI, therefore, wishes all Muslim faithfuls an accepted Ramadan fast and successful Eid-el-Fitr. In the same vein, Muslims are urged not to forget the recommended fasting of Sittah-Shawwal, the sixth day after Ramadan fast and in line with the teachings of the Prophet.”
CAN, Catholic bishop congratulate Muslims at Eid-el-Fitri
THE Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos also congratulated Nigerian Muslims and their counterparts worldwide for successfully completing this year’s Ramadan fast.
They called on the Muslims in the country to utlilize the spiritual significance of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the gains of Ramadan which is also regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam to pray for a speedy end to the incessant terrorist attacks on innocent Nigerians across the nation.
In an interview with Vanguard, the Secretary General of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake thanked God for the success of the fasting and prayers offered during the period, reminding the Nigerian Muslims that Sallah period is a time to reflect on the benefits of the month long spiritual exercise.
“They should keep the blessings of Ramadan and all that the Quran teaches especially the need for peaceful co-existence with everybody irrepective of creed and ethnicity. While we wish the best during this Eid-el-Fitri celebration we pray that they will continue their prayers for an end to the continued terrorist attacks in parts of the country,” Asake prayed.
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins also called on Muslim faithful in the country to utilize the spiritual gains of the holy month of Ramadan to pray for the speedy end to the incessant terrorist attacks on innocent lives across the nation
Archbishop Martins, while felicitating with Muslims on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitri, which marks the end of fasting, also urged them to continue to spread the message of peace and harmony in line with the tenets of their religion, so as to help counter the hate messages of terrorists who use the name of the Islamic religion to perpetuate violence.
Meantime, the Police High Command has put all measures in place to ensure hitch-free celebrations, as IGP has ordered effective and extensive deployment of personnel including movement of necessary logistics to all nooks and crannies in the country.