As Muslims in the country observe the Holy month of Ramadan, former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and his deputy, Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff, have said only divine intervention can rescue Nigeria from its myriad of problems.
The leaders made remarks in their messages to Muslims as they begin this yearâ€™s 30-day fasting and prayer.
Babangida called for fervent prayers during the period for God to take control of the problems facing the country.
According to him, â€œWe are no doubt faced with various challenges at personal and national levels, but we are always strong and believing in divine intervention to always take us through the right path with prayers to find solutions to our challenges.â€
He therefore enjoined Muslims to conduct themselves very well during the holy month in order to â€œmaximise the spiritual and physical benefits inherent in the fasting period,â€ and for â€œus to surmount our challenges at all levels and premises of life.â€
The former military leader reminded Nigerians of the transient nature of life, saying several people who took part in last yearâ€™s Ramadan fasting were no longer â€œwith us today,â€ necessitating the need for all that are alive today to give glory to God.
On his part, Saraki felicitated with Muslim faithful in the country for another opportunity afforded by the commencement of the Ramadan, saying it is aimed at strengthening their devotion to the Almighty Allah.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, also urged the entire Muslim Ummah to use the period to pray for continuous unity and peaceful coexistence in the country.
He noted: â€œThe commencement of fasting has yet provided us with rare and unique opportunity to fervently pray over the security situation of the country and call on Allah to help us restore sanity and love among our country men and women.
â€œNigerians, Muslims in particular, should make use of this opportunity to pray for the end of insecurity and other violent crimes threatening our existence both as a people and nation.â€
The senate president said Ramadan is a unique and special period for Muslims around the world to renew their faith in the Almighty Allah, deepen their worship and practicalise the injunctions of the Holy Quran in their daily lives.
â€œMay Almighty Allah be praised for another unique opportunity to fast and pray in obedience to the dictates of the Holy Quran, which is to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam, through family and congregational prayers, sharing of Iftar meals and being generous to the less fortunate around us.
â€œApart from being a time to assist the weak, vulnerable and less fortunate among us, let us utilise this period to pray for continuous peace and unity in the country because with Allahâ€™s help all our individual and national challenges are surmountable,â€ he said.
He urged all Muslims to strictly observe the injunctions of the Holy Quran as they pertain to their conduct and personal disposition during the holy month in order to benefit maximally from the fasting exercise.
Similarly, Dogara urged Muslims faithful to use the period of Ramadan to pray for peace, unity, security, socio-economic development and political stability of the country.
The Speaker also enjoined them to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness, self-discipline, tolerance, righteousness and sympathy for the less privileged in the society which the Ramadan fast teaches and promotes.
Describing Ramadan as a period for spiritual rejuvenation and enrichment, Dogara urged Nigerians to devote themselves in the worship of the Almighty and imbibe the lessons of love and peaceful co-existence with one another.
The statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Public Affairs), Mr. Turaki Hassan, said: â€œIn the spirit of Ramadan, I want to enjoin Muslims in Nigeria to maximise the spiritual and physical benefits associated with the holy month as well as assimilate the Ramadanâ€™s ethical principles of sharing, caring, love, tolerance and piety.â€
â€œThe Ramadan fast is a very significant act of worship, being one of the five pillars of Islam, as such, I urge Muslim faithful to use the one month period in devotion and supplication in order to achieve the blessings inherent in the holy month and to pray God to restore peace, unity and stability across the country.â€
In the same vein, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff also appealed to Muslims to use the period of fasting to reflect and eschew violence.
He said Ramadan is a period to â€œrethink and do what is right before Almighty Allah and be your brothersâ€™ keeper, unite together as one and coexist.â€
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, Lasun added:â€ We fast for spiritual rebirth and cleansing, therefore, it is an opportunity to change those attitude that are not acceptable before Almighty Allah and turn a new leaf and also reflect in our daily activities.â€
He said government is currently â€œdoing everything to ensure that the nation regain itâ€™s lost glory- and therefore, this process needs efforts and support of every Nigerian; all hands must be on deck in achieving a strong, united, indivisible and virile nation.â€
Extend Love, Selfless Service Beyond Ramadan, Ambode Urges Muslims
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday evening urged Muslims to extend love to others and imbibe the act of selfless service to humanity during and after Ramadan, saying such would go a long way in making the world better.
Speaking at a Ramadan Tafsir held at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja organised by the state government to mark the official commencement of the Muslim fasting month, Ambode said those having in excess must show gratitude by helping others and also exhibit total submission to Godâ€™s commandments.
â€œTo all my Muslim brothers and sisters, I just want to use this opportunity to greet all of you that as we commence the Ramadan month and with all the lectures we have heard, we are doing this to be in tune with Allah and to be in sync with the kind of supplication that we want to give and we know 30 days out of 365 days are not enough to really show our total submission to Allah.
â€œWhat I just want to say is that the important thing in all these 30 days that we are going to have the Ramadan is to show love to ourselves and also show love to our neighbours.
â€œYou need to love yourself first before you can even show love to another person. So, when we have in excess, we must show the attitude of gratitude to be able to give to others because somebody else has over provided for us,â€ the governor said.
â€œBeyond Ramadan, we must also show the attitude of giving at all times; that is the philosophy of our government; that is the practice we have been doing in the last three years; we must touch the poor and we must touch our people.,â€ Ambode said.
In his lecture on importance of Ramadan, National Missioner, Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdul- Rahman Ahmad, said almighty Allah, through the month, was calling on Muslims to learn the spirit of piety and service relationship with Him.
On his part, Founder of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, commended Governor Ambode for religious harmony and massive infrastructural renewal drive across the State.
Speaking glowingly about the governor, Akintola said: â€œWe are hosted here today by a man of integrity; a man of honour; a man whose humanity has been attested to; a man who is not a Muslim but he is always there for Muslims.
Also, Chief Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Sulaiman Oluwatoyin Abou-Nollah, commended Ambode for always being on the field to monitor progress of work on the infrastructural projects across the state, saying the development had resulted in placing the state on sound pedestal for growth
Al-Makura Cautions Religious Leaders against Controversial Preaching
Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has cautioned religious leaders in the state against attacking other people and engaging in controversial issues that were capable of causing disunity in the society. He appealed to the religious leaders to preach love, unity and message of reconciliation. The governor stated this yesterday in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Musa Elayo, and issued to journalists in Lafia.
He then urged Muslim faithful to use the period of Ramadan to offer supplication to Allah for the progress, peace and unity of the state and Nigeria. According to Al-Makura, â€œthe Holy month of Ramadan brings goodwill to mankind by refreshing stronger ties with Allah.â€ He however said that Tafsir during the Ramadan period should be focused on proffering solutions to endemic societal problems and prayers for the nationâ€™s leaders, as well as preaching love to one
another, including those of other faith as an expression of the life and virtues of the Holy Prophet Muhammadu (S.A.W).
The governor also called on the Muslim faithfuls to be steadfast with all sense of decorum and modesty by avoiding extravagance and ostentation living during the Holy month of Ramadan.
Al-Makura concluded by calling on all and sundry to continue to support the effort of the present administration to improve the living condition of the people.
Niger Government Prays for Restoration of Peace
Niger State Government has urged all Nigerians to use the occasion of the month of Ramadan of to pray for the restoration of peace all over the country. The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Tsado Vatsa, in a statement, said the period of the Ramadan should be used to pray for the peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.
â€œI want to enjoin all to fervently pray for Nigeria to have everlasting peace, enduring security and a good economic stand. If we continue to pray, everything about this country will be okay again,â€ he said.
He charged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to in the spirit of sportsmanship come together so as to work together to build a stronger party for the 2019 general election.
Vatsa warned that continued violence would not help the party, therefore, â€œwe should all support President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to succeed by embracing peace.â€
Osun Assembly Congratulates Muslims
Osun State of Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Hon. Najeem Salam, has congratulated Muslim faithful in the state as they look out for the moon to commence the holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement issued by the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, the House said witnessing the month of Ramadan which is renowned for core worship is a great blessing made possible by Allah.
The parliament urged Muslims to use the month of Ramadan to renew their commitments to the virtues of love and peace taught by the Prophet Muhammad, and also work towards achieving them.
Osun assembly urged Muslims across the state to pray for smooth conduct of the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state as it noted that Ramadan period is one for spiritual virtues, perseverance, temperance, introspection, and retrospection with the Almighty Allah. While wishing the Muslim faithful blessed Ramadan, the House urged them to remember the less privileged in the society and be guided by love and respect towards others.
Muslims globally are expected to commence the annual Ramadan fasting on the last day of the Islamic month of Shaaban.