By Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Chuks Okocha, Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged Nigerians to reflect on the virtues of Prophet Mohammed by showing love and understanding for their compatriots while exhibiting patience, honesty, sincerity, kindness and generosity in all their undertakings.
In a message to Muslims commemorating Eid-el-Maulud, the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, which is being marked as public holiday today, the president urged all citizens, and the youth in particular, to shun negative tendencies as manifested in the recent hijacking of peaceful protests to loot and destroy public and private property.
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; All Progressives Congress (APC); Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives, in their messages to mark the occasion, sued for peace, dialogue and national rebirth.
Buhari, in a statement yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Sheu, reiterated his earlier promise to bring police officers responsible for misconduct as well as looters to justice.
He urged Nigerians to continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, wearing of face masks and washing of hands.
Buhari, while noting that the country has so far managed the COVID-19 pandemic successfully by keeping the numbers as low as possible, however, cautioned that Nigerians must not stretch their luck too far.
“Looking at the trends in the other countries, we must do all we can to avert the second wave of the pandemic. We must make sure that our cases, which have gone down, do not rise again. Our economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown,” he said.
On his part, Lawan, in a statement to mark this year’s Eid-el-Maulud, urged the youths to embrace peace and dialogue with government to realise their five-point request made in the wake of the recent #EndSARS protest.
He stated that the youths, having justified their demands for better policing and governance, and having secured the commitment of the government to addressing the issues raised, “should in the spirit of this occasion embrace peace and engage government through dialogue, as the corrections they seek can only manifest under a peaceful atmosphere.”
According to him, this year’s celebration comes at a time that Nigeria is striving to restore law and order in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest.
He said: “Our harrowing experience over the past few weeks underscores the need for us as a people of faith to imbibe and demonstrate in our every conduct the virtues of love, peace and tolerance, which Prophet Mohammed personifies,” he added.
Lawal recommitted the National Assembly to “the entrenchment of processes that will encourage our youths to tap their talents and pursue their dreams for the elevation of our great country.”
Gbajabiamila also urged Nigerians to exhibit more love for one another.
Gbajabiamila, in a message issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Lanre Lasisi, said the celebration of the birth of Prophet Mohammed should be used to pray for peace, progress and unity of the country, especially at this period of challenges facing the country.
While congratulating Muslims all over the world, the Speaker urged that the characters and teachings of the prophet should be the watchword for all.
In its message, APC also urged Nigerians to shun divisive tendencies.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Yekini Nabena, in a statement yesterday, called on Nigerians to be influenced by the great virtues that Mohammed epitomised by imbibing the true meaning of piety, sacrifice, patience and fellowship.
He said many parts of the country was ravaged by the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests and the arson attacks and looting which marred the agitations.
Nabena stated that as the APC-led government reforms, rebuilds and repositions the country, everyone should be circumspect, humane and measured in their utterances and actions.
The ruling party also renewed its call for an end to the looting and arson.
The PDP also urged Nigerians, particularly the leaders, to use this year’s celebrations to kindle a national rebirth with actions that reassure the people and reinforce the stability, unity and peaceful co-existence of the country.
The party also charged Nigerians to pray for direction and God’s intervention to enable the nation overcome its current social, economic and security challenges.
According to a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, “Indeed, Eid-el Maulud, the celebration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Mohammed, offers us as a nation, an invaluable opportunity to reposition our value system in pursuit of national unity, equity and social justice; adherence to rule of law, respect for human rights, welfare of the people, transparency, accountability and prudence in governance while shunning all acts of corruption and oppression that provoke bitterness, restiveness and division among the people.”
The PDP also urged the federal government to promote discourse and policies that will restore unity and calm frayed nerves, particularly at this trying time in the history of our nation.