Though the holy month of Ramadan may have passed with the sighting of the moon ushering in the Shawaal, there are inherent lessons from the 30 days period which a recent THISDAY editorial captured as an opportunity for Muslims all the world “to rededicate themselves to the teachings of the faith and the course of mankind as a whole.”
As Islam’s most holy month, the Ramadan is marked by piety, spiritual discipline and a rededication to worthy causes. The holy Qur’an stipulates that a Muslim should observe fast literally from before sunrise to sunset and distribute from his resources to the masses during this period with more emphasis on demonstrating the true tenets of the faith. How this enduring lessons were brought to bear in Bamaina, a model of how an Africa village should look like is the focus of this feature which highlights how Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa State with a towering profile, invited his people to observe the iftar, the religious breaking of the fast with him.
The ceremony captured the very essence of Ramadan-sacrifice and commitment to the welfare of others, with a sincere identification with the conditions of those around one. For the people of Baimana and environs, the annual breaking of fast with their own Lamido was a day to look out for. This is a day when they gathered to thank God for blessing them with a son who has transcended the borders of Jigawa to the national and international stage.
“We in Jigawa State feel blessed because we have given Nigeria a man of true character. Almighty Allah has blessed us with a man who is most committed to the welfare of those around him and does everything possible to give everyone a sense of belonging not regarding where the person comes from.
“The annual breaking of fast with Sule Lamido has become some sort of ritual that we all look up to with expectations. People come from all parts of Jigawa to join the leader in observing iftar and we then tell him our expectations and pray to Allah to give him divine wealth of wisdom,” Mallam Isa Ringim, an animal farmer told THISDAY.
The mammoth crowd that came from far and near and gathered at Governor Lamido’s country home to grace the ceremony was a further testimony to how much admiration the people accord to him. As early as 4pm on Saturday, July 2, the roads leading to Bamaina became busier owing to people commuting to Lamido’s home. They came in droves, men, women, children and the physically-challenged to observe the Ramadan ritual. At the time of the Magreeb, the evening prayer for the day which signifies the time to break the fast during Ramadan, the crowd was bustling with enthusiasm when their host came out to join in the prayers.
The prayers were observed in requiem and food served around to the crowd. It was like the biblical feeding of five thousand. The crowd ate to their fill with the host dinning in delight among them. Then ensued a round of adulations from the crowd.
Speaking with obvious enthusiasm, a youth leader, Umaru Danjani extolled the leadership virtues of Lamido invoking memories of how the host had led a life of commitment to the people “from days immemorial.”
Danjani, who spoke in flowing Hausa said, “It is a thing of great joy to gather together in unity today with our leader irrespective of political and social affiliations. Our gathering is to thank Allah for blessing the leader with good health and right state of mind to continue to benefit us his people and the entirety of Nigeria.
“We have come to show gratitude for his continuous dedication to us over the years and pray to God to shower him with good health so that not only us in Jigawa State but the whole of Nigeria can benefit from his experience and selfless service. Jigawa has a noble son in the person of Lamido and the crowd gathered here today shows this is a fact.”
Another speaker, Alhaji DanDutse Hassan, a grassroots mobiliser, charged the people to always rally around their leader “especially at such challenging times.” According to him, the political history of Nigeria cannot be complete without the worthy mention of Sule Lamido and his various efforts towards engendering a better-governed Nigeria for the benefits of all and sundry. He acknowledged Lamido’s virtues and his never-dying commitment to carry the people along.
Speaker after speaker poured encomiums on Lamido and praised his “humane disposition” which they charged other leaders to emulate.
The climax of the evening came when the host mounted the rostrum to address the mammoth crowd. With a charged atmosphere, the people hailed him with shouts of “Sai Lamido” reverberating in the horizon. It took some minute to calm the frenzied crowd to a rapt attention.
“It gives me great joy to be among you here tonight. We thank the Almighty Allah for preserving our lives to observe another Ramadan and be blessed by it. This is a day of thanksgiving and prayers that Allah will direct our paths and guide us in our various endeavours.
“Although there are a lot of challenges arising from a national economy in doldrums, our gathering here tonight is a testimony to our resolve to face the challenges and confront the issues that have brought us to this circumstances,” former Governor Lamido said.
He went on to encourage the people to remain firm in their resolve to do their honest best to build a Nigeria where future generations would be proud of and fired their enthusiasm by reminding them of the labours of Nigeria’s heroes like Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister; Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Mallam Aminu Kano, J.S. Tarka et al, whom he said envisioned a country that would be great for her endowments.
“I count myself fortunate to be alive through the various stages of Nigeria’s democratic evolution, from the days of Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano, Micheal Okpara, and others who fought so hard to ensure that Nigeria stayed together amidst our differences and bequeathed a nation that should not lack in any front.
“Today, our country is going through hardship that ought not to be but for the misplaced priority of those with the responsibility to lead this country. The people are suffering for what they do not know about and this is most unfortunate.
“But there is hope at the end of this tunnel of hardship and I urge you all to be patient and law abiding and wait to see how things would turn out,” Lamido continued.
The revered leader charged the people to give the needed support for the incumbent administrations in the state and the country to succeed as he said “since Nigeria belongs to all of us, we must do all we can to ensure that the country gets it right in terms of governance and development.”
However, the evening of adulation was not devoid of subtle political innuendoes as the people charged their leader to offer to reproduce the giant strides of his quality stewardship in Jigawa state to national leadership. While many complained of the shortcomings of the present dispensation which they described as “lacklustre,” they prevailed on Lamido to throw his hat into the ring in approaching presidential election.
This year’s Ramadan may have come and gone but the enduring lessons of the holy month, like the notable evening at Bamaina would linger for months to come.