Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has asked Nigerians to use the occasion of his 71st birthday for “special prayers and thanksgiving” to be held on Wednesday March 29, instead of the yearly birthday colloquium.
“The special prayers will be held in Lagos and in other parts of the country”, said Tunde Rahman, a media aide in the Office of the President-elect.
A statement from his office on Monday indicated that for the main event in Lagos special prayers will be offered at the Central Mosque in each of the five divisions in the state including the Central Mosque, Alausa, Ikeja.
Part of the statement reads; “During the prayer sessions, special prayers will be offered for the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria.
“Also to receive prayers among others are President Muhammadu Buhari and First Lady Aisha Buhari, President-elect Tinubu and his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Vice President-elect Senator Kashim Shettima and Hajia Nana Shettima, Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu, other state governors as well as members of National and State Houses of Assembly.
“According to an announcement by the organisers of the prayer sessions issued by Imam Akeem Kosoko, the session at Alausa Central Mosque will begin at 10am on Wednesday and will include delivery of sermons and reading from the Holy Quran.
“This year will be the third in recent times the birthday colloquium will not hold in deference to developments in the country.
“In 2020, the 12th edition of the colloquium marking Asíwájú’s 68th birthday was put off to empathize with those who lost their lives or affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And last year, the birthday symposium was also called off by Asíwájú Tinubu right at the venue of the event when news emerged of the terror attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train in which several persons died and many others abducted.
The Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos venue was already filled to capacity with dignitaries to celebrate the birthday when Asíwájú took to the podium to announce the cancellation of the event.
“The former Governor of Lagos had said it would not be proper for him as a statesman to be celebrating when such a tragedy had befallen the nation. ‘For me to be here celebrating, dancing and enjoying myself, does not speak of me as a senior citizen of this country. I asked that the cleric should rather engage in prayers. This event should not be holding,’ Tinubu had said on the occasion.
“This year, the president-elect said the date, which falls within the holy month of Ramadan, should be dedicated to prayers and seeking God’s guidance for him and the country as he prepares to take the reins of leadership”.
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