As Muslims in Nigeria join their counterparts across the globe to mark the Eid al-Adha, President Muhammadu Buhari and others have urged Nigerians to rise above personal, group, sectarian and other interests, and promote harmony and tolerance in dealing with one another at all times.
Buhari urged all Muslims to use the occasion for sober reflection and self-examination, and strive to be good ambassadors of their religion by upholding high moral values
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the president reminded Muslims that Eid al-Adha is a remembrance of the submission of Prophet Ibrahim to Allah, his Creator, by which he taught the world the value of sacrifice in relating with one another, and when it comes to nation-building.
President Buhari who explained that religion is a major factor in influencing human behaviour towards good conduct and actions, however, regretted that selfishness, greed and corruption have overwhelmed human souls to the extent that people abandon their religious beliefs in pursuit of their greed.
Buhari stressed that fighting corruption is a task that must be done in order to protect the larger interests of the ordinary Nigerians who are the worst victims of diseases, poverty, malnutrition and other afflictions.
He said surrendering to corruption is not an option because it destroys society and progress of nations.
Saraki, Dogara preach love, tolerance
President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in his Eid el-Kabir message, signed by his media aide, enjoined Nigerians to increase their efforts in charitable endeavours, perseverance and spiritual intercession for the nation.
He urged Nigerians to further devote their prayers at the Eid praying grounds to the call on Allah to restore peace in all parts of the country, strengthen the unity and rebuild the economy.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara Also enjoined Muslim faithful and other Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice, love and tolerance for the peace, unity and progress of the country.
He charged religious leaders to always preach and promote ethno-religious tolerance in the run-up tothe 2019 general elections.
“While rejoicing with our Muslim brothers on this auspiciousoccasionof Eid el-Kabir Sallah celebration, which symbolises sacrifice andobedience, Iwishto enjoin all people of goodwill to be steadfast in love for one another and demonstrate renewed commitment to the Nigerian project in order to make our society ideal for all and towards the fulfillment of the country’s great potentials.
“I also urge our religious leaders to take advantage of the season and preach peace, unity and tolerance among the diverse people, especially now that the country is at critical political crossroads, with the electioneering process gaining momentum as the 2019 general elections draw nearer.
“On our part as lawmakers, we will continue to pursue people-oriented legislations and initiate reforms and legislative interventions that will guarantee peace and stability in the polity and the nation as a whole as well as improve the living conditions of the citizens,” a statement by his media aide quoted him as saying.
Kalu sues for unity
Former governor of Abia State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Orji Kalu called on leaders across the country to use their positions to advocate peaceful coexistence regardless of ethnic, religious and political divides.
Nigerians, he said, should embrace patriotism, selflessness and discipline in their pursuits for the sake of rebuilding the nation.
While stressing that Nigeria is better off as an indivisible and united entity, he urged the political class not to use sentiments to polarize the country.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu said: “I congratulate our Muslim brothers and sisters on the occasion of Eid el-Kabir. It is a special season and it calls for special prayers for the country.
“We should use this opportunity to appraise ourselves as individuals and as a people.
“We should exhibit piety, selflessness, patriotism and service to humanity in our activities as enshrined in the Holy Quran.
“Let us respect other people’s religious beliefs and by so doing, there will be no rift in the society.
“Nigeria remains a blessed nation owing to its diversity in religion and ethnicity”.
Kalu, while appealing to Nigerians to sustain their support for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, cautioned politicians against hate campaign, adding that the collective interests of the people must be placed above selfish ambitions.
Governors call for prayer
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State in a press statement, admonished Muslim faithful to take advantage of the celebration to propagate brotherly love among Nigerians of all religions.
He who noted that the country, more than ever before, was divided along religious, ethnic and partisan lines, called on Nigerians to jettison the hate speeches that tend to threaten the age-long love, unity and peaceful coexistence of the people of the country.
His Kano State counterpart, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje also cautioned religious and political leaders against hate campaigns, incitement or fanning embers of disunity in this period of heightened political activity in the country.
In his Sallah message signed by the commissioner for Information, Youth and Culture, Malam Muhammad Garba, Ganduje said the significance of the season should be beyond the festivities, adding that the real essence was not in the meat or the blood of the animal but to encourage piety, self-discipline and sacrifice.
For Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, “this is an opportunity for us to reflect and pray for our nation and for all those in leadership positions so that God in his infinite mercy will continue to guide them as they steer the affairs of the country.”
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, assured that the state government “has put in place measures to guarantee security in the state during the celebration.
While felicitating with Muslims, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun charged them to look beyond the merriment and focus more on praying for peace and harmony, which according to him, will ensure progress and development of the nation.
“During this festival of feast, we should ensure that we truly imbibe the virtues of Prophet Ibrahim, who, in obedience to God’s directive, sacrificed his only son. Beyond the sacrifice, we should also not relent in praying for peace, unity and religious tolerance, which are essential to sustaining the glory of our dear nation”, the governor noted.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and
Prof. Ben Ayade of Cross River State were not left out as they urged Muslims to continue to uphold and promote the core values of Islam for the sustenance of peace, unity and progress of the country.
While Ugwuanyi noted that the ultimate goal remains our collective ability to live
in peace and harmony, to cherish one another irrespective of religious, ethnic and political differences, for sustainable development of the nation, Ayade said Nigerians should put aside all forms of religious, ethnic and tribal sentiments, in the interest of unity, progress, peace and prosperity of the Country.
According to Ayade: “The Eid el-Kabir presents an opportunity for Muslim faithfuls to reflect on the faith, which prophet Ibrahim dutifully agreed to sacrifice his son in obedience to the command of Allah.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, called on Muslims in Nigeria to embrace the values of sacrifice, love and continue to foster unity.
He explained that the significance of the season should be beyond feasting, adding that as Muslims prepare to offer animal sacrifice in the prescribed days of the festival, the real essence should be to encourage piety, self-discipline and sacrifice.
He called on all Nigerians to exhibit these values for the good of the country and shun any act capable of heating up the polity or causing distrust among various ethnic groups in the country.
In his goodwill message, Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola called on the Muslim community in the state to expand the spiritual benefits of Sallah by promoting peaceful coexistence with one another as well as the people of other faiths and shun violence and religious conflicts in whatever form they may manifest.
Meanwhile, Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, has approved the payment of August salary ahead of sallah celebration.
A statement by his media aide disclosed that the gesture was to enable civil servants and their dependents to celebrate in comfort.
Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong equally enjoined Moslem faithful to sustain their prayers for peace, unity and stability of the country.
He said with the deepening of the gains of democracy and the consolidation of peace and security by the APC-led administration, the nation was on the threshold of sustainable growth.
Ekiti State governor-elect, Kayode Fayemi, eho noted that the festival offered the opportunity for sober reflection and spiritual renewal which Allah demands from the faithful, urged Muslim faithful and adherents of other faiths to make peaceful coexistence their watchword and work together for a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
PDP, APC, APGA salute Nigerians, tasks leaders on good governance
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) challenged Nigerians to use the occasion to support one another in the spirit of love, unity, sacrifice and dedication, as exemplified in the life of Ibrahim and the teachings of Prophet Mohammed.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP urged Nigerians to endeavour to reach out to the needy around them, especially the sick, aged and victims of violent attacks and natural disasters that plagued the country in recent times.
The opposition party also charged spiritual and political leaders to shed all selfish tendencies and rededicate themselves to the service
of the people, especially in the prudent and transparent management of the resources of the country.
“The PDP holds that Nigerians, across board, deserve to be happy and adequately provided for with the suitable environment to aspire and thrive in all sectors of life; the main reason all citizens must join hands to pray that the nation gets the right leadership,” it stated.
Separate statements signed by the spokespersons of the APC and APGA, Yekini Nabena and Henry Okolie-Aboh, respectively, also urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
CAN calls for sacrifices
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN President, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, in a statement by his media aide, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, asked Muslims to know that no sacrifice is
too great to promote peace, harmony, love, unity, forgiveness and accommodation in their relationship with non-Muslims.
We must be our neighbour’s keepers – Makarfi
Former Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Makarfi called on Nigerians to exhibit the spirit of love, obedience to God and sacrifice which are some of its hallmarks and historical significance of the celebration.
Makarfi, who spoke through his Media Aide, said: “The best way to express our gratitude to Him is to continue to live in peace and keep on harnessing our diversity in order to explore and exploit the numerous opportunities He has endowed our nation with, in so many positive ways.”
Labour harps on national unity
Organised labour in separate statements, by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Ayuba Wabba and the General Secretary of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Issa Aremu charged Nigerians to hold the shared values that stand them on high pedestal in the comity of nations.