President Jonathan felicitates with Nigerian Muslims; reaffirms commitment to unity
By Hajia Sani, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Nigerian Muslims on the successful completion of the 30 days fast.
A statement signed by presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, to mark this year's Eid-el-Fitri, read: "On behalf of himself and the Federal Government of Nigeria, President Jonathan congratulates all followers of the Islamic faith in the country who have successfully concluded this year’s Ramadan fast."
"President Jonathan rejoices with all Muslims in the country as Nigeria joins the rest of the world in celebrating Eid-El-Fitri which marks the end of the month-long annual fast. He prays that Almighty Allah will grant them all the rewards promised to the faithful for the pious observance of its injunctions of piety, abstinence, self-discipline, constant prayer and charity."
The statement went on: "Against the background of the persisting challenges to unity, harmony and peaceful co-existence in the country, President Jonathan seizes the opportunity of the Eid-El-Fitri celebrations to reaffirm his administration’s absolute and immutable commitment to the unity and indivisibility of the Nigerian nation."
The president assured all Nigerians that the imperatives of national unity, peace, harmony, collective development and progress will continue to inspire and motivate all policies and actions of his administration.
President Jonathan, who also observed the Ramadan fast in solidarity with Muslims in the country, applauded the exemplary leadership exhibited by Christian and Muslim leaders in the country, for their real commitment to peace and greater security by openly sharing the rigours and joys of the Ramadan with each other.
The President commends the efforts of these religious leaders to further promote national unity and peaceful co-existence by visibly reaching out to those of other faith in the true spirit of all who believe in One God.
President Jonathan urged all Nigerians to follow the laudable example of such religious leaders by exemplifying a similar commitment and willingness to live peacefully with each other, in spite of differences of tribe or religion.
"He also wishes the entire nation a joyous and peaceful Eid-El-Fitri celebration." The statement concluded.
Muslims Celebrate Eid-el-Fitr
In keeping with tradition, the Sultan of Sokoto and leader of the Muslim community in Nigeria, Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar III, has also felicitated with the Muslim Ummah on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr.
Sultan Abubakar rejoiced with all Muslims in Nigeria and around the world, on the successful completion of the holy month of Ramadan fasts.
He wished all Muslims Eid Mubarak, a peaceful and memorable Eid-el-Fitr (Sallah) celebration, while praying for peace, unity and progress in Nigeria.
Good will messages
The President of the Senate in Nigeria, Senator David Mark, in his goodwill message to Muslims reminded Nigerians of the need to be their brothers’ keeper at all times.
Senator Mark submitting that "irrespective of our ethnic and religious differences, we all have a common destiny in Nigeria."
He said: "peaceful co-existence among Nigerians is an ingredient for development. The security challenges facing Nigeria is also a wakeup call for Nigerians to live more in harmony."
According to him: "As a nation, we have passed through travails during the civil strife of the past and triumphed. This current security challenge is another phase in our political history, we must all unite to end it and move forward."
Mark praised the steadfastness of the Muslim faithful for completing the one month fasting and prayers, describing their sacrifices as the impetus required to strengthen Nigeria's unity and promote peaceful co-existence.
"The peace, unity and progress of our nation must continue to be our guiding principle because we have no other country to call ours other than Nigeria." Mark said.
For his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, urged Muslims in the country to use the period of the Eid-el-Fitr Sallah celebration to reflect on their spiritual life as individuals, as well as contribute meaningfully towards making Nigeria a greater nation.
In his Sallah message, Tambuwal said that the steadfastness and devotion shown by Muslims during the Ramadan Fast was a reflection of their service to the Almighty Allah.
He noted that the long period of self restraint and self purification was a great spiritual exercise that had its heavenly blessings.
The Speaker urged all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, love and good neighbourliness, as exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad.
While noting the country's current challenges, Tambuwal expressed optimism that everything would work out well for Nigeria and Nigerians sooner than later.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State urged Muslims to abide by Allah’s injunction in all that they do.
"Having observed strictly the injunctions of Almighty Allah by self-denial through fasting and prayers and by offering Zakat to the less-privileged, and as we continue in the glorification of Allah, we should not forget His words in the Holy Quran 3:134 that ‘God loves the doers of good.' We should remember Allah’s abiding faithfulness to His beloved Prophet Ibrahim, which is a clear testimony that there is abundant reward in fidelity to Allah’s injunctions. I therefore urge the faithful to sustain the acts of worship and continue to pray for self, the nation and their leaders, that God may guide us through this difficult times." He said.
Governor Oshiomole noted that the people of Edo have every cause to be thankful to Almighty Allah for His love, which he pointed out, was evidently manifest in the peaceful and successful conduct of the July 14 governorship election, adjudged the freest and fairest in the history of the state.
His Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, urged Muslims to use the period of Eid-el-Fitri to pray for Nigeria to overcome the present security challenges.
He said it is only when peace reigns that Muslims and adherents of other religions can contribute meaningfully to the social and economic development of the country and its component units.