The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Saad Abubakar, 111 and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the weekend, asked Nigerians to pray for the safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari from the United Kingdom where he had gone on medical vacation.
The two leaders made the call in their respective speech at the closing ceremony of the 31st National Quranic Recitation Competition in Ilorin, Kwara state.
The 10-day event came to an end Saturday, and all the winners were given various types of awards.
Sultan who spoke first said “let’s offer prayers for our President for God to ensure that he comes back safely.
“Let’s also pray for our political leaders for God to show His mercy on them to enable them provide right leadership for the country.”
Sultan who described religion as a personal matter, equally advised Nigerians to their common problems of “poverty, unemployment and extremism.”
He added “let’s face our common problems instead of waging religious war.”
The monarch who said Muslims are peace loving, hailed the Court of Appeal’s verdict on the right of female Muslims to wear hijab.
He, therefore, urged Muslim organizations in the country to always employ legal means in asking for their rights.
“As Muslims, we do not intend to dominate anyone, but what we demand is the freedom to practice our religion. Religion is a personal matter. We should preach peace, stability and peaceful coexistence no matter what religion we profess,” he counselled.
The Sultan praised the organisers and Kwara state government for a successful outing, saying that ” this is the time we have 33 participating and this shows the acceptability of the host state because of its peaceful nature. ”
Also speaking, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki urged the gathering to pray to God to continue to grant president Buhari good health and wisdom.
While commending the participants of the event, Saraki noted that the knowledge of the holy Quran is one of the best ways to spread the words of God.
He added that “and I am convinced that if we all forget about religion and look at the rationality of the words contained in the holy books, our world will be better. The holy books of the two major religions, the Quran and Bible, teach morality, justice, equity, love, compassion, respect for elders, making money through just and fair means and many other virtues which if we all imbibe them, there will not be war, disease, poverty, squalor, deprivation, crime and injustice..
“The holy books talk about the responsibility and burden of leadership. The books say those of us in position of leadership will have a lot to account for before Allah. Also, It is true that all of us are in one position of leadership or the other. We are leaders at various levels and we will be held accountable. Even as a follower, we will be held accountable on whether we have played our role in making our leaders lead with the fear of Allah.
“More importantly, I want to enjoin those of you who have proven to be experts in the memorisation of the Quran to please help preach the words of God to the high and low in a peaceful manner. Use your knowledge of the holy book to spread love, peaceful co-existence, understanding, tolerance, unity, compassion and genuine fear of Allah.
“Use your knowledge of the Quran to let the world know that those who discourage people from acquiring education are not good Muslims. Let the world know that those who obstruct the peace of the world do not represent Islam. Let the world know that Our holy Prophet lived peacefully with Christians and Jews. He taught us to even emulate him. That is the essence of Hadiths. If we have taken to the words of Prophet Muhammmed (saw), there would have been peace and development in our country and the world over.
“Let me use the opportunity of the gathering of distinguished members of the Ulammahs to ask that you all pray for our President, Muhammadu Buhari. MayAlmightyAllah continue to give him good health, the wisdom and know how to lead this country in peace and to prosperity. Also, pray for our country to have peace, unity, economic prosperity and political stability.”
The Kwara state governor, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed praised the organisers of the event for organizing a successful and memorable programme.
He rejoiced with the participants, noting that memorisation of Qur’an demands a lot of dedication.
He said conscious effort must be made in making Quran accessible to both Muslims and non-Muslims to promote a better understanding of the holy book., NIMASA, has cleared the air on the rumour making the round, over its negative position on the location of the proposed Senior citizens back “Change Begins With Me”
The Senior Citizens Advocacy Network of Nigeria (SCANON) has pledged to support the national re-orientation campaign of the Federal Government, tagged “Change Begins With Me,” as part of its contribution to attitudinal change among Nigerians.
The National Chairman of SCANON, Mallam Dalhatu Ayuba, gave the pledge in Abuja on Thursday when he led a delegation of the Network on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
“It is permissible to say that no nation enjoys accelerated and sustainable development without an attitudinal change. Therefore, the ‘Change Begins With Me’ Campaign spearheaded by your ministry is fully supported by SCANON,” he said.
Ayuba said the organization believes that for Nigeria to overcome the myriad of challenges confronting it, the citizens must avail themselves of the platform created by the ministry to complement efforts at sensitizing the public against societal ills.
He disclosed that SCANON plans to embark on a national re-orientation campaign in Abuja for the pilot scheme, with visits to selected schools to talk to students on value re-orientation, saying though members of the organization are retirees, they will continue to contribute to nation-building through volunteerism.
“Honourable Minister, we cannot talk of heritage without the elderly. We cannot talk of culture without the elderly. We cannot talk about the new breed without the old breed. In view of this, we are compiling a compendium of SCANON professionals for easy accessibility when the need arises. Above all, our dream is to contribute to nation building where peace and justice will reign supreme,” he said.
In his remarks, the Minister commended the ideals of selfless service and volunteerism as exhibited by SCANON, saying such patriotism needs to be supported by the government.
“An NGO like this must not just be given recognition but must be given encouragement. It must also be given the wherewithal to function and that’s why I looked forward to meeting you today. I think what you stand for, which is continued engagement of capacities in old age, is another way of saying volunteerism and this is what is lacking in Nigeria.
“Most countries thrive because of the spirit of volunteerism. America is what it is today because they have many Americans at various ages and different social circumstances, who are volunteering to assist the government,” he said.
Mohammed noted that SCANON, which has members who served in the various professions across the country, can contribute by rending community services especially in the areas of security, health care, teaching and mentoring.
The Minister enjoined the Senior Citizens to contribute to the promotion of peaceful and harmonious co-existence between Christians and Muslims and among the various ethnic groups in the country.
“You can also help government to counter the narrative which is false about this country because many of you have lived in other parts of the country, which are not your own and you know that the average Nigerian is a very accommodating person. It’s only in recent times that brothers and sisters are now at war.
”From your experiences, let these young people understand that in this country, Christians and Muslims have been living together peacefully and we cannot but accept the fact that God is His wisdom created us differently,” he said.