At Sallah, Buhari, Saraki, govs, others urge sacrifice

Rams at a market in Lagos...yesterday                                                                                                                                                                                                       PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

Rams at a market in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: CHARLES OKOLO

EMINENT Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have enjoined Muslims marking this year’s Eid-el-Kabir today as well as other citizens not to relent in their prayers for peace, stability and growth of the country.

Buhari congratulated all Nigerian Muslims who are currently in Saudi Arabia to participate in the rites of the Hajj on Arafat Day.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari urged Nigerian Muslims and other Nigerians celebrating the Eid-el-Kabir to rededicate themselves to greater acceptance and internalisation of its lessons of piety, faithfulness, dedication, fortitude, obedience, sacrifice and selfless service which are for the benefit of all mankind.

He directed the armed forces and other national security agencies to provide maximum security across the nation during prayers and celebrations, especially in areas most vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“The President calls for more patience, fortitude, tolerance, endurance, patriotism and a greater willingness to make personal sacrifices for the good of all as his administration strives to lead the nation towards rapidly overcoming its current security, economic and development challenges.”

According to the statement: “President Buhari assures all Nigerians that their safety, well-being and progress remain uppermost in his thoughts and actions, and that he will continue to work with all his might to deliver the positive changes in national life which they expect after his election and inauguration as Head of the Government of the Federation.”

The President used the opportunity to extend his heartfelt commiseration with families in Maiduguri and other states in North-Eastern Nigeria who have sadly lost beloved relatives in recent terrorist attacks.

“President Buhari’s thoughts and prayers for Divine solace are with all those who have been callously plunged into mourning by mindless terrorists, when others are celebrating this year’s Eid-El-Kabir.’’

Buhari reiterated his assurance to all Nigerians that the days of Boko Haram are numbered. His words: “Boko Haram’s reign of terror in parts of the country would be finally over very soon as the ongoing military onslaught against the terrorist sect will continue relentlessly until total victory is achieved.”

Meanwhile, the President, who left Abuja for his hometown of Daura, in Katsina State on Tuesday night, is expected to jet out of the country for New York in United States to attend the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today after attending the Sallah prayers.

He urged Nigerians to make the fear of God the foundation for their lives.

Saraki, in his goodwill message to Nigerians, especially the Muslim faithful, noted the Eid-el-Kabir festival symbolises fear of Allah and desire of man to always comply with the wish of his creator as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim.

According to him, with the fear of Allah, mutual respect and love, “we will tolerate one another, work together and be able to harness our abundant resources as a progressive nation. We cannot achieve much with unnecessary factions and disharmony. What Nigerians need now is to move forward with the present change era.”

The Senate President called on all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, tolerance and mutual respect, saying these virtues are the panacea to move the nation forward.

“We have herculean tasks to address. Our army of unemployed graduates and youths are hovering on the street. Insecurity is threatening the peace and social development of our dear nation; quality health care services and economic buoyancy are major challenges that require urgent attention.

“I am very optimistic that with our collective efforts, these challenges are surmountable and we will soon overcome,” Saraki stated.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dogara, and his Deputy, Suleiman Lasun, enjoined Muslim faithful ‎to pray for the progress and success of the ongoing change project of the current administration.

In a message ‎signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, Dogara also prayed that the benefits of the celebration will not elude Nigerians.

“While festivities go on to mark the day, let us remember to pray for the progress and success of the change agenda of President Buhari. Nigerians of various faiths must tolerate one another as we all have no other country than Nigeria.”

The All Progressives Congress (APC) felicitated with all Muslims in the country, wishing them a successful, joyous and peaceful celebrations.

In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said since sacrifice lies at the core of Eid-el-Kabir, it is also pertinent to commend all Nigerians for their sacrifice all through the years for the emergence of a better Nigeria.

‘’Being the first Eid-el-Kabir to be celebrated since the change train arrived in our country, we thank all our compatriots for their support and personal sacrifice that have seen Nigeria emerging, gradually but steadily, from years of bad governance, impunity, unbridled corruption and neglect of the larger population.

‘’In particular, we commend our gallant soldiers, many of whom have paid the supreme sacrifice, for continuing to stand up for the unity and cohesion of our dear country. We assure them of our unqualified support as they remain in battle, even during this moment of celebration, to ensure our safety and security and to crush the terrorists who have killed and maimed many innocent citizens,’’ it said.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged Nigerians to use the occasion to pray for abiding peace and unity in the country.

It stated: “We must seize this divine doorway and collectively pray for our leaders to be divinely guided against actions and inactions that tend to divide the nation, create tension and threaten our bond as one people under God, who, in His infinite wisdom, destined Nigeria, a united and prosperous nation, where the welfare, freedom and happiness of all citizens are guaranteed.”

The party also urged the citizens, irrespective of religious persuasions, to use the occasion to reflect on the virtue of faith, service and total submission to the will of the Almighty God, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet.”

The party, in a goodwill message signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the Eid El-Kabir, once again provides Nigerians a great opportunity to resubmit to God and commit the nation and its leaders in prayers.

Other leaders who enjoined Nigerians to make sacrifices for the growth of the country include governors and an APC leader, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu.

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