NIGERIA was a cynosure of all eyes where in a rare gesture ever granted to any Head of State, President Muhammadu Buhari along with members of his entire delegation from Nigeria was early yesterday granted access to the Holy Ka'aba, in Makkah, where he offered prayers for the peace and progress of the country.
The visit, brought to the bear conclusion of the week long visit of the President to Saudi Arabia, where he had been engaged in various activities in the Kingdom. The President began his visit to Saudi Arabia on Monday, where met with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he went to Madina, where he visited the tombs and prayed for the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his Caliphs, (disciples), before returning to Makkah on Thursday morning and performed his Umrah, (Lesser Hajj). Met with various groups and ended the day with meeting with Nigerian community in Makkah.
The President also, along with his entourage observed the weekly Juma'at prayers at the Holy Mosque. The route from the Makkah Guest Palace, (MGP) where the President and his entourage lodged was taken over by the Saudi security, apparently to ward off anxious Nigerians who struggled to cast a glimpse on their leader.
As the Presidential entourage made its way into the inner chambers, if the Ka'aba, Nigerians who lined up along the route shouted, "Allah ya tamakaika" meaning, "May God assist you", "Sa'i Baba", "Welcome Baba Buhari" among other slogans
The entrance of the President and his entourage into the Grand Mosque was at the instance of King Al Saud of Saudi Arabia leading to the opening of inside chambers of the Holy Mosque of Ka'aba Buhari as a mark of respect for the visiting Nigerian leader.
The King, who is also the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah, ordered the opening of the Ka'aba for president Buhari and some members of his entourage around 1.45a.m. (local time) on Friday.
The Ka'aba, a small but significant building structure for the Muslim world, is faced by all Muslims across the world while performing compulsory and obligatory prayers in Islam.
Among the beneficiaries if the privileged to, offered at least two ra'kat enter inside the room of the Ka'aba along with the President were the governors of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari, Kashim Shettima of Borno, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun and Aminu Masari of Katsina state.
The Emir of Kano, Dr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Oba of Lagos, Alhaji Rilwan Akiola, Emir of Maradun, Alhaji Mohammed Garba Tambari and Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Haliru Momoh also gained access into the inner room of the Holy Mosque.
Prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, Alhaji Isa Funtua,Sheikh Yakubu Musa, Sheikh Nasidi Abubakar, Alhaji Badara Eze, Wale Tinubu and Ismaila Yusuf Chafe were also among those privileged to offer prayers inside the room of Ka'aba.
Other beneficiaries of the King Salman's gesture included Abdul Sule, Muhammad Garba, Adamu Sambo, Garba Bello Gusau, Ibrahim Zanna, Salisu Murtala Isa, Adamu Akinola, Bukar Usman Goni and Nurudeen Yusuf.Special prayers for peace, unity and prosperity in Nigeria were offered by President Buhari and members of his entourage.
A cross section of the beneficiaries of the King's gesture, who spoke to the development commended the Saudi King for giving them a life time opportunity of entering the inner part of the Ka'aba.
For instance, Sheik Lemu, and Maradum monarch were united that the gesture was a once in a life time opportunity for every Muslim, since such opportunities were hard to come by.
The cleric said such visits were act of Sunnah, (tradition). Though not compulsory, for every pilgrim either for Hajj or Umrah should feel sorry for not being able to go in, as if something will be faulty in not going in.
"But it is a golden opportunity, if anybody is lucky to go in there and duplicate for Allah for all his needs and for the nation and humanity in general, it is a big deal."
For Maradum monarch, it is an experience he would ever cherished in his life time, since according, he never thought he would enter into the place in his life.
Sule, one of the beneficiaries, said he used the opportunity granted him by the King to pray for himself, family and Nigeria. President Buhari, who will be leaving Saudi Arabia for Qatar on Saturday, will be performing his Juma'at prayer at the Ka'aba on Friday.