Muslims in Nigeria yesterday celebrated the Eid-el-Fitr, which marked the end of the Ramadan season. The 30 days of fasting, praying, listening to lectures and reading the Holy Koran in the Holy Month of Ramadan culminated in special prayers in mosques and Eid grounds in different parts of the country. The occasion was also marked with visits and the sharing of gifts to loved ones and the less privileged.
We congratulate Muslims on this year’s Ramadan and pray that they will enjoy the benefits of their supplications to Allah in this month that He is most merciful and gracious. The 2016 Ramadan season came at a time of serious economic and security challenges in Nigeria and the prayers of the faithful will doubtless avail for peace and progress in the country.
As Nigerians continue the celebration of the Eid-el-Fitr today on account of the extended public holiday, we enjoin all Muslims to continue in the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice that marked the fasting season. The attunement of the mind to prayers and holy living that marked the Ramadan should not be jettisoned on account of the end of the fasting season. Instead, the piety and strict adherence to religious observances by Muslims throughout the season should be hallmarks of daily living in the country. It is only by continuing in these practices prescribed by Allah, that the faithful can hope to obtain and sustain the gains of the month of self-denial. It is also by continuing in the spirit of love and charity to all men that Nigerians can hope for a bridging of the religious divide in the country and the placement of our quest for a peaceful and progressive nation on a stronger pedestal.
Among the cardinal hallmarks of the Ramadan observance are the humility and self-restraint of the Muslim faithful. These are characteristics which can help Nigeria to overcome many of its present challenges if only the people can imbibe them and demonstrate them in their daily living. If this is done, the problem of insurgency, which is now being brought under control in the North-East of the country; the incessant bombing of pipelines in the Niger Delta and the endless agitations for secession by some groups in the country, will not be threatening the stability of Nigeria. This is because all minds will be attuned towards the promotion of peace and the development of the country.
In the spirit of Eid-el-Fitri, we urge all Nigerians to spare a thought for the country and resolve to come together to build a country that we can all be proud of.
We urge our leaders to begin to demonstrate the ethos of their different faiths by caring more for all Nigerians. There is no religion in the country that preaches selfishness, greed and self-aggrandizement by the leadership class. The hallmark of good leadership is service to the people. This is what we expect from our leaders. Let there be renewed commitment to the welfare of the people. Let the wellbeing of the people be the reason for the quest for political power. Let our leaders be mindful of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy outlined in the Nigerian Constitution and make the security and welfare of all Nigerians their guiding principles.
Once again, we congratulate all Muslims on the Eid-el-Fitr and pray that the gains of the Ramadan remain with them as they look forward to another celebration next year.