Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said in line with advisories from the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, he would observe the Eid El-Kabir prayers with his family at home, just as he did during the Eid El-Fitr a little over two months ago.
He has, therefore, reiterated that the protocols issued by the PTF that large gatherings should be discouraged be respected.
In wishing all Muslims a safe and happy Eid, he said where small groups choose to hold the Eid together, face masks are absolutely necessary, as is social distancing.
In a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari, advised that such prayers should hold outdoors and worshippers should be encouraged to bring their own prayer mats.
This is the first time President Buhari will spend Eid El-Fitr in Abuja, as he usually spends the holiday in his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
Meanwhile, Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged Nigerians to embrace peaceful co-existence and pray to God to heal the land from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Sallah message by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, the governor enjoined Islamic faithful to emulate the Holy Prophet Mohammed by imbibing the ideals of sacrifice exemplified by the prophet.
He assured of a peaceful celebration in the state as the government was in touch with security agencies to ensure that all citizens celebrated the Sallah in peace and harmony.
In his Sallah message, vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, called on Nigerians to use the period to offer fervent prayers for the unity and stability of the nation, seriously under threat due to poor leadership, religious intolerance and tribal bias.
He said poor leadership was threatening our nationhood and there was need to seek God’s intervention. He decried the blood of thousands of innocent souls being wasted daily in our land at various troubled spots, saying that they were enough reasons to plead to God to save this country from further destruction.
According to Obi, the intense prayers for our country had become very expedient as our nationhood is continually loosing breath under poor leadership, corruption, insecure of lives and property and mismanagement of public funds. He also urged the Muslim faithful to pray that the novel coronavirus pandemic ends in no distant time.
“Our economy is already under stress, the Post COVID-19 era is going to be challenging, our nation needs all the divine help we can get now.”
Obi noted that this Sallah festivities coming at this critical time in our national life, provides the citizens an opportunity to put aside every political, religious and ethnic sentiments and unite against their prevailing common challenges. He stated that it was high time Nigerians leveraged on their cultural, religious and tribal diversities to achieve the desired national unity and develop worthy of the name ‘Giant of Africa’.
He further charged the people not to allow the present challenges make them lose the dignity and modesty as a people and miss the essence and meaning of Eid-el-Kabir celebration and the divine succor it brings, in assuring us that there is always a light at the end of every tunnel.