By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged Muslims across the country on the need to celebrate moderately and “calm down” on the occasion of the Eid-el-Kabir festival in the wake of the rise in cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanwo-Olu, in his Eid-el-Kabir message on Thursday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, congratulated Muslims in the state, with the call and to continue on the path of spirituality and peaceful co-existence.
The governor also urged Nigerians, especially Muslims to imbibe the lessons of the sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim and work for the unity and progress of the nation.
Sanwo-Olu, who adopted the phrase “calm down” from a viral video of a young boy being flogged by his mother for misdeeds, reiterated the need for extreme caution in order not to jeopardise the gains of past months.
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Sanwo-Olu said Eid el Kabir became a symbolic event in the history of mankind, given the bountiful rewards that followed the patience and perseverance of Prophet Ibrahim, who held on tenaciously to his faith in God despite being afflicted.
“Today, I join millions of people around the world, to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters in Lagos State and in Nigeria happy Eid-el-Kabir, which comes with significant lessons for mankind. For Muslims, today’s celebration is very unique.
“This symbolic Islamic festival is a reminder to us that, there will always be great rewards when we have abiding faith and patience in trying periods; persistence in prayers and tenacity in our belief.
“It also reminds us of the sacrifice we are expected to make not only for spiritual fulfillment but also for the progress of mankind and the development of our society.
The governor also reminded Nigerians, especially residents of the need to reflect on the new reality caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, saying it has altered the way we live, work, and celebrate.
He said: “Traditionally, Eid-el-Kabir is marked with fanfare, where thousands of worshippers head to various designated praying grounds in their localities for special Eid prayer, followed by festive gatherings, visits to families and friends, gift exchanges, feasts among friends, neighbours, and relations.
“However, these activities, which are a reflection of joy and happiness of the season, cannot hold this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let us reflect on the last four to five months of our lives as individuals, as a state, and as a nation. We should also remember our health care workers, and thousands of COVID-19 patients who would have loved to be at home to celebrate with us at this moment.”
Sanwo-Olu also advised Nigerians to support the government’s efforts in building a nation that would work for all, adding that the need to keep Nigeria on the path of development is a collective responsibility of all citizens.