-Atiku, Lawan, Saraki, Tinubu preach righteousness
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday went spiritual in the search for solutions to the insecurity ravaging the country with a call on Nigerians to pray for an end to banditry, kidnapping and desperate quest for power.
Buhari, in a message he personally signed to celebrate Eid-el Fitr, urged Nigerians to shun the temptation to retreat into their communities.
Similar messages from former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu; and a former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, also tasked Nigerians on the need for righteousness and prayers for the nation to overcome its problems.
Buhari implored the citizenry to pray against kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of Nigeria as a united entity.
"We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion," he said.
While sending his best wishes to all Nigerians and Muslims across the globe as they mark the Eid Al Fitr the president said:
"Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges, which are surmountable only when we come together as one.
"It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages."
According to him, it is noteworthy and delightful to see Christians breaking fast and in some instances, extending goodwill and gifts to Muslim faithful during Ramadan.
"This model also shone through with Muslim groups joining Christian festivities.
These are practices that promote brotherhood and forgiveness," he said.
Buhari also urged Nigerians to continue to observe all COVID-19 prevention measures and celebrate responsibly during the holidays.
Lawan felicitated with the Muslim clerics in Nigeria on the completion of this year's Ramadan fast, saying: "Every true Muslim feels joy at participating in the Ramadan fast, which is a key obligation in Islam. May Almighty Allah, therefore, reward us for the spiritual voyage and grant our earnest wishes for ourselves, families and dear country."
According to him, due to the current security and economic challenges, Nigeria needs the prayers of every patriot now more than ever before to achieve peace, unity, and progress were the dreams of the founding fathers.
He assured the people that the government, including the National Assembly, will not waiver in its determination to provide security for the people to allow law-abiding citizens the liberty to live in peace and pursue their legitimate businesses anywhere.
He said: "Let us remain strong in our hope that Nigeria will become what we fervently want it to be: a nation that fills its citizens with happiness and pride."
Tinubu also joined Muslims in marking the completion of Ramadan fast.
In a message issued yesterday by his Media Office, the former Lagos State governor stated that as Muslims, they had fasted and prayed in a special way during this holy month.
He said: "Now that the holy month of Ramadan is ending, we must counsel ourselves not to forget its great lessons. We must be better than we were before. We must treat each other with more compassion and understanding.
"We must build a better society free from want, violence and hatred. We must never condone and tolerate the works and words of those who would do evil or who would pit brother against brother, Nigerian against Nigerian.
"The righteous acts and efforts of Ramadan must guide our actions and conduct going forward. Let us put politics aside and continue to pray to Almighty Allah for our country and its entire people.
"Let us remember President Muhammadu Buhari and his government in our prayers that they may be given the requisite strength and wisdom to protect the nation, defeat the challenges that confront us and help establish Nigeria as a more prosperous and just land."
Atiku in a statement said this year's Eid-al-Fitr come at a time when Nigeria was going through challenging moments concerning the security of lives and property and when a large number of people were hard hit by the ravaging scourge of poverty.
"As Muslims, we need to remind ourselves of our obligation to ensuring peace and unity within our family and in our neighbourhood at all times.
"Today, across Nigeria, there is a scary and growing tendency to mistrust along ethnic and religious lines. As Muslims, we know from both the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Noble Prophet Muhammed (SAW) that no tribe or race is superior to another, except the one that seeks piety to the Almighty Allah," Atiku said.
Saraki, in a statement signed by the Head of his media office, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, said: "The current situation in our country requires a sincere change of mindset by all Nigerians. We should use this post-Ramadan period and the lessons we learnt from the fasting period to steer clear of any action which does not bode well for our country. This is a period when we all need to pray to Allah to once again pull the country back from the precipice.
"With the level of insecurity and economic crisis which have combined to worsen the rate of poverty in Nigeria, all Nigerians must unite and demonstrate patriotism that will help our country overcome the present challenges.
"Once again, I commend our security agencies at the frontline and pray that Almighty God will protect and give them victory over the insurgents and other non-state actors inflicting violence on our country. May Allah heal our land of any form of affliction."