Seeking Divine Grace Over Next Month’s Polls
IN the foundation’s mission statement, politics has no attraction. But Fatima Charity Foundation (FCF), since inception about five years ago, has developed passion in activities and programmes that promote wellbeing of Nigeria and Nigerians. Its self-imposed mandate is to ensure goodness, fairness and justice in the society.
With tension and apprehension in the air over the forthcoming general elections as well as insecurity occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, the foundation last Wednesday in Lagos organized Prayer for the Nation 2015 where heavenly grace and intervention were sought for peace and stability to continue to reign in Nigeria.
With Committing Nigeria to the Hands of God: What are the roles of the Leadership and the Citizenry? as theme, the gathering attracted distinguished personalities from all walks of life.
But as a non-governmental and non-political outlet peopled by professional Muslim women “who are conscious of the state of Nigeria and the need to contribute to its greatness through prayers, charity, empowerment and lectures”, the prayer session was like holding Muslim congregational event outside the traditional mosque environment. Indeed, the Shell Hall of MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos filled to the brim. Sheikh Ramadan Jibril of Morkaz Salaam, Ojokoro, Lagos led the recitation of the whole Qur’an undertaken by the students of his training centre. In attendance also were Imams and Alufas from across mosques in Lagos State. Chairman of centerspread Advertising, Alhaji Kola Moruf Ayanwale presided over as chairman. Alhaji Gbajabiamila represented the spiritual father of the day, Alhaji Garuba Akinola Ibrahim who is also chief Imam of Lagos. Two patrons of the foundation – Justice Ibrahim Ishola Olorunimbe and former IG, Alhaji Musliu Smith were around to lend support to the event. Other guests were Baba Adinni of Lagos, Sheikh Abdul Hafeez Abou; the Waziri of Nupe, Senator Isa Mohammad; Chief Missioner of NASFAT, Alhaji Abdullai Akinbode as well as representatives of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Alhaja Titi Atiku among others.
In his opening remarks, Alhaji Kola Ayanwale underscored the need to rescue the country from the impending calamity as women and children are always major victims of crisis. “We need to pray as well as do the right things always,” Ayanwale said justifying his assertion with quotation from the Holy Qur’an.
Speaking on the theme of the gathering, Imam Ahmad catalogued socio-political and economic problems that threaten corporate existence of the country. He also proffered solutions with reference to Q71V10 to 12 while acknowledging the significance of the prayer session.
He explained further, “the divine recommendations are practicable and attainable. They are not difficult things. It is not enough to supplicate and call on Almighty God for solutions to our problems, we also need to demonstrate practical faith and live our conviction. All religions preach the attainment of sterling human qualities such as honesty, accountability, probity, integrity, transparency… these are things we need to put into practice, and all our problems will be solved. But we can’t be corrupt and call on Allah (SWT) to cleanse us. We have to cleanse ourselves first. We can’t continue with impunity and expect that the grace of Allah to descend on us. We can’t continue with bad governance and expect the blessing of Allah. It is two-way thing. As Nigerians, as human beings who have been created free, we must take our destiny in our own hands. Our challenges are byproducts of bad governance, of misrule, of impunity, and we can stop it. We can be great again, and even greater than this. We can attain our destiny. This is my conviction.”
With the prayer session, Imam Ahmad said the foundation “is contributing its own quota to national development in the way it deems fit. If every Nigerian resolves to contribute their quota, there is going to be a lot of difference. I’m saying that Nigerians must stop agonising, complaining, we must change our destiny with our own hands.”
President of FCF, Hajia Bintu-Fatima Tinubu said the prayer session was a reflection of the foundation’s love for “our Nation” with the strong belief that “our country can be made better. We want to see Nigeria a developed Nation, prosper and become the pride of Africa. We are here because we know that change must come and that change will come because we are the hope of Nigeria and henceforth, we must pursue a desire to get it right.”
According to Iyalode of Lagos, “today’s world, especially the world of politics, needs to be sustained by fervent prayers, supplications to the Almighty God, to overcome various challenges and harmonize different political currents with a view to enabling growth and development in our dear Nation.”
She reiterated that the Fatima Charity Foundation (FCF) designed the prayer session as a yearly programme “to commit Lagos State and the entire country to the hands of God in prayers and for spiritual enlightenment and the year 2015 is not an exception.
“We are very much aware of the many problems that have plagued the Nigerian nation which include insecurity, corruption and general fall in the standard of morality. And If Nigeria is to fulfil her God-given mandate, we need to find urgent solutions to these innumerable problems confronting our Nation.
“However, Nigeria after 100 years as a country (centenary) and 54 years as an independent state, seems to have achieved little with its huge human and natural resources, Nigerians are now growing impatient with so much hardship in the land of so much wealth. With vast deposits of natural resources, including black gold (oil) in our backyard, most Nigerians have remained stuck in squalor and hopelessness. While our value system has continued to crash with vices such as corruption and theft celebrated, true federalism has remained an illusion and development at all levels has continued to elude us.”
Hajia Tinubu emphasised the efficacy of prayer as a practical way to overcome challenges such as “unemployment, poverty, disease, hunger, ignorance, mis-governance, Kidnapping, insurgence, tribalism, moral decadence, drug abuse, rape, religious intolerance, poor infrastructure, victimisation, election rigging among others.”
She hit the target of last Wednesday’s outing saying. “this era of election will be a very delicate period for our Nation, in the fortnight, where Nigerians have to decide the future leadership of this Nation. But I am displeased whenever I mirror upon our present situation, both as a people and as a nation. And to say that we are yet to get it right after 16 years of consecutive democratic rule in this country is under estimating the reality of bad governance by our leaders and poor participation by all of us.
“And today, it is indeed well known fact that many Nigerians have completely lost faith in the country’s ability to govern itself not just because of the problems facing the country but due to a fundamental lack of faith and confidence in the leaders chosen to rule our nation. Without confidence in the system and its leaders, the democratic principles of the nation such as civic participation, voting and community involvement are eroded and further jeopardize the country’s future.”
Hajia Tinubu however expressed optimism that with series of prayers being offered by different religiou groups, Nigeria would overcome all its challenges. She thanked all personalities that honoured the foundation with their presence at the session and all others that have contributed to the success of the association’s activities over the years.