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Yar’Adua, Others at Eid-el-Fitri, chart path to nation’s growth

By Guardian Nigeria
09 August 2008   |   8:33 am
From Madu Onuorah, Terhemba Daka (Abuja) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) PRESIDENT Umaru Musa Yar'Adua yesterday tasked Nigerian leaders on the fear of God, saying that it is the only pre-requisite for the nation to forge ahead on the right path and surmount the challenges of development.

In the same vein, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan urged Nigerians to pray fervently at all times and not relent on their good works as a way of ensuring that the country is a force to reckon with in the comity of nations.

Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, yesterday called on Nigerians, especially Moslems, to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness, tolerance and sacrifice, on the occasion of the celebration of the end of Ramadan.

Receiving top Federal Government functionaries and political office holders who paid Eid-el-Fitri Sallah homage to him in his official residence at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Yar’Adua said that those whom Allah has given power must reflect and ensure that the trust bestowed upon them is not betrayed.

The President told the delegation led by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Adamu Aliero: “I call on Nigerians and Moslems to fear Allah because that is the first great achievement of any human being and I hope this fear of Allah will lead us to help our fellow countrymen and to contribute our own quota to the development of Nigeria and humanity.

“It is this fear of Allah that will drive those who Allah has bestowed with power over administration or the mind of others or over knowledge and wisdom, to make them reflect and ensure that the trust bestowed upon them by Allah is not betrayed. I pray Allah to guide those of us who are leaders in politics, business, religion, military, indeed, all Nigerians to reflect on their responsibilities and discharge these responsibilities with the fear of Allah.”

President Yar’Adua reminded his guests that Nigeria is facing developmental challenges in the face of global recession and therefore needs everyone “to work hard and transparently and respond to the needs of the youth in the society who must be guided to channel their creative energies and academic endowments to positive results.”

The President equally prescribed the same treatment for the elderly who have given their lives to the service of the nation, declaring that “we must fear Allah in whatever we do.”

He also asked those who partook in the 30-day fasting that culminated in the sallah celebration to continue to apply the lessons of the exercise throughout their lives. “I hope the lessons learnt during this month will increase our worth,” he stated.

In his remarks, Senator Aliero thanked God for a successful completion of the Ramadan period of sacrifice while hoping that “we are among the 70,000 people that Allah has promised automatic ticket to Paradise.”

He also prayed for peace and stability to continue to reign in the country and thanked Yar’Adua for supporting development efforts in the FCT.

Also at the Presidential Villa to pay homage were Jonathan, Bankole, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi, Inspector General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Adulrahman Danbazzau, Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole; Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Osita Chidoka; Ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and other top government officials.

In a goodwill message to Nigerians on the occasion of the Eid-el-Fitri celebration, Jonathan asked Nigerians to resolve to make meaningful sacrifices that would liberate the nation from all forms of lack, noting that the existing generation of Nigerians could not afford to pass on what they could achieve to future generations.

According to him: “More than ever, all Nigerians should be fervent in faith and prayers for the attainment of our collective aspiration to grow our economy towards being among the top 20 in the world by 2020. No doubt, our commitment in prayers, and the exercise of our faith will propel us to good works for the attainment of this noble vision.

“While we strive to put our nation on the path to greatness, we must eschew corruption and vain glory. We must not wane in good works. The more developed nations are made up of people. If they did it, we can do it. We cannot afford to pass on what we can do to future generations of Nigerians, but should bequeath to them a nation better than we met it. In the pursuit of our collective aspirations therefore, I call on all Nigerians to make meaningful sacrifices that will liberate us from all forms of lack, and engender greater unity among our peoples.”

Jonathan also enjoined Nigerians to be their brothers’ keeper, and promote unity among the citizenry.

While wishing the nation joyous and peaceful Eid-el-Fitri celebrations, the Vice President urged Nigerians to embrace peace, saying “we should pursue peace with all our might, and resist all vices that militate against our peaceful coexistence.”

Bankole asked Moslems and indeed all Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the cause that would promote national development.

Congratulating the Moslems for successfully completing the 30-day Ramadan fast, he said the essence of the spiritual exercise would have been defeated should the adherents of Islam fail to emulate Prophet Ibrahim who sacrificed his most prized possession in obedience to God. “For me personally the essence and lesson of the fasting is forgiveness of one another in any transgression,” he stated.

In his Sallah message to Moslems, signed by his media adviser, Kayode Akinmade, the Speaker described love and tolerance by Nigerians as key to national development as, according to him, “meaningful national development cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of violence as witnessed in some parts of the country in the recent past.”

He noted the challenges facing the nation arising from the global economic meltdown, saying the challenges were not insurmountable when all hands were on deck with the people living in peace and harmony, and tolerating their individual as well as group differences.

Bankole expressed optimism that the challenges would soon give way to prosperity and fulfilment as “President Yar’Adua administration is committed to bequeathing a lasting legacy in the country.”

Also, the Borno State government assured all Moslems and other citizens of security of their lives and property, as measures had been put in place to prevent the recurrence of the Boko Haram religious crisis that claimed many lives and property.

Governor Ali Modu Sheriff made the declaration in Maiduguri, to mark the Eid-el-Fitr Salah celebrations in a press statement signed by the Director of Press Affairs, Alhaji Usman Chiroma and made available to The Guardian yesterday.

In a sallah message marking the end of the Ramadan fast, the Emir of Kano, Dr. Ado Bayero enjoined parents and guardians to be more proactive and responsible in the upbringing of their children and dependants.

This, he said was required to stem the tide of extremists and other violent crime which had led to the loss of lives and property.

Enjoying security agents to be more vigilant, he prayed for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians irrespective of their religious and ethnic backgrounds.