14 February 2011

Nigeria: Eid-El-Maulud - Jonathan, Mark, Atiku Preach Love

Abuja — Christians and Muslims on Monday implored Nigerians to exhibit love as the Muslim faithful today celebrate Eid-el-Maulud, the anniversary of the birth of Mohammed, the founder of Islam.

President Goodluck Jonathan urged fellow citizens, especially public office holders, to imbibe honesty and fairness, as espoused in the teachings of Mohammed.

Jonathan asked politicians to eschew greed and instead demonstrate selflessness, sincerity, justice, and equity to all in the performance of their official duties.

He said these virtues and greater dedication to duty will help to propel Nigeria towards rapid growth and development.

To him, the anniversary of Mohammed's birth should cause Nigerians to reflect on how the virtues and ideals he taught and exemplified can help the country to overcome its challenges.

He affirmed that the government will give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies all the logistics and support they require to deliver credible and violence-free polls.

Jonathan urged Nigerians to play their part by being peaceful and law-abiding, and by refraining from electoral malpractices.

He said his administration will continue to provide capable and effective leadership in the countdown to the ballot, with priority given to national security and the rehabilitation and expansion of infrastructure.

He promised that if elected, Nigerians he will focus on good governance so as to bequeath great accomplishments in the areas of power supply, education, healthcare, housing, transportation, ecºonomic diversification, and job creation.

Senate President David Mark counselled Nigerians to persevere even in the face of challenges because there would be light at the end of the tunnel.

He enthused that the policies and programmes of the government would transform Nigeria and get the economy out of the woods.

He also expressed optimism that the ballot in April will be one of the best in the country.

Mark urged Muslims to remember the nation in prayers, especially for the success of the elections.

He canvassed tolerance, religious harmony, and peaceful co-existence among religious organisations in order to guarantee the development.

Mark decried frequent conflicts that cause the loss of lives in the country and tasked religious leaders to take the bull by the horns and stop the massacre.

"Besides religious teachings, we must as a people re-awaken the African tradition and values of good neighbours and being our brother's keeper," he stressed.

House of Representatives Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, condoled with Jonathan and the people of Rivers State on the deaths in Port Harcourt last Saturday.

He said Nigerians should use the occasion of the birth of Mohammed to pray for the peace and unity of the country especially now that the elections are around the corner.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar urged Muslims to emulate the tolerance exhibited by Mohammed in his life time, which he said is the greatest tribute the Muslim Ummah can pay to the memory of Mohammed.

He recalled that throughout his life, Mohammed lived in peace and mutual respect and co-existence with followers of other religions, best exemplified by the principle of "to you be your religion, to me be mine."

Atiku noted that Mohammed earned the respect of Muslims and non-Muslims alike because he showed justice, humility, and peaceful disposition, the essential components of a stable society.

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, counselled that the greatest tribute that can be paid to the memory of Mohammed is to ensure peaceful relations among social groups.

In he quest for power and elective offices, he added, Nigerians will do well to call to mind the teaching of Mohammed on submitting to God's will always.

If the people approach elections with honesty and resignation to God's will, national politics will be healthier, he added.

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