By Dayo Johnson, Henry Umoru, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Demola Akinyemi, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Dirisu Yakubu, Mary Therese-Nanlong & Shina Abubakar
President Muhammadu Buhari; President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; state governors, among others, yesterday congratulated Nigerian Muslims on the completion of this year’s Ramadan fast, pleading with them to pray against the security challenges facing the country.
Specifically, President Buhari asked Nigerians to pray against kidnapping, banditry and blackmail.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari in his Eid-el-Fitr message, entitled “On the occasion of Eid,” called for unity and solidarity, saying: “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.
“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.
“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.
“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.
“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”
On his part, the Senate President in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Ola Awoniyi, said among others, “Because of the current security and economic challenges, our country, 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.
“I assure us that the government, including the National Assembly, will not waver in its determination to provide robust security in the country that guarantees every law-abiding citizen the liberty to live in peace and pursue legitimate businesses anywhere they choose.
“Let us remain strong in our hope that Nigeria will become what we fervently want it to be: a nation that fills its citizens with happiness and pride.”
Similarly, former Vice President Abubakar said: “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.”
Also, Asiwaju Tinubu in his message entitled, “Let righteous acts, efforts of Ramadan continue to guide our actions,” among others, said: “We must never condone and tolerate the works and words of those, who would do evil or who would pitch brother against brother, Nigerian against Nigerian. Let us put politics aside and continue to pray to Almighty Allah for our country and all its people.
“Let us remember President Muhammadu Buhari and his government in our prayers that they may be given the requisite strength and wisdom to protect the nation, defeat the challenges that confront us and help establish Nigeria as a more prosperous and just land.”
Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, NGF, and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham, urged the Muslim faithful to continue to demonstrate faith in the prayers
He said God did not make a mistake by creating Nigeria with all its diversities, and would not allow evil to prevail to destroy the country.
He said: “Although Nigeria is currently experiencing troubling times, hope must not be lost because hard times do not last forever. The current security situation demands more action from both government and citizens, who must work together to expose bad elements desperate to make Nigeria an unstable entity.”
Also, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, in his message, among others, said: “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-Fitri.
“For the Muslims, today’s celebration is very unique. It is a feast to mark the end of a month-long spiritual renewal after 30 days of fasting, prayers and other religious acts.
“Ramadan was a period that you denied yourselves the worldly pleasures, turned to your creator for total cleansing and upheld other religious values.
“Such values are reaffirmation of your duty to serve one another, helping the poor and the vulnerable in the society, offering gratitude to Allah, showing compassion and generosity among other good deeds that guide your faith.”
Also, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, among others, said: “Going forward, and in the spirit of the holy month we have just exited, I implore everyone to continue to pray and work for peace and tranquility in our country and our state, while the government and citizens play their respective roles to build a better society.
“The solution is not in despair. Let us instead look after one another and be deliberate about building a country whose strength truly lies in the diversity and resilience of its people, while shrugging off anything and everything that may tear us apart.”
Similarly, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, in a message through his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, among others, said: “We must pray for Nigeria and our state. The problem of banditry, kidnappings and other activities of criminal elements must be brought to an end. It is time to seek God’s face on the issue of insecurity that ravages our nation.
“Ramadan entails intense prayers. It also preaches charity, kindness and sacrifice among other moral virtues. I enjoin you to uphold the teachings and lessons of this holy month for the good of the country.”
Also, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, in his message, said: “I implore Muslims and non-Muslims in Osun to take advantage of today’s celebration to offer special prayers for the peace, progress and development of our state and country at large.
“Let me also use this opportunity to once again appreciate you all for your support and prayers for our administration, and appeal for more support and understanding as we continue to strive to fulfil our administration’s promises and make Osun better than we met it.”
On his part, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, called on Muslim faithful not to do away with love, prayers, unity and harmony.
He said “I want to use this opportunity to urge our Muslim brothers and sisters as they celebrate Eid-el-Fitri, that COVID-19 is still much around. Hence, they should endeavour to observe the safety protocols and guidelines against the pandemic.
“Also, they should engage in moderate celebration to mark the end of the fasting. The situation in our dear country calls for sober reflection and prayers.
“Therefore, they should not forget to supplicate to the Almighty Allah for peace, tranquility, unity and security in the land.
Former governor of Anambra State and Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, in a statement by his Media Director, Valentine Obienyem, among others, said: “The Ramadan period presents a great opportunity for Nigerians to devote themselves to the values that unite and bind all citizens in love, while permanently putting behind them all divisive tendencies.”
He wished all Nigerians happy Sallah celebrations and prayed for enduring peace in a secure and peaceful country.”
On his part, immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki congratulated Muslims in Nigeria and across the world on the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fasting and the consequent Eid-El-Fitri festival.
Saraki in a statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser and Head of his Media Office also 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.
He 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.
He said: “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.