Nigerian leaders have urged Muslims to pray for the country and President Muhammadu Buhari as they begin the obligatory fasting of the month of Ramadan on Saturday.
In their various messages, the leaders also urged Muslims to pray for the country to overcome its current economic and other challenges.
In his message to mark the beginning of the fasting period, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, enjoined the Muslim Ummah to use the opportunity provided by the Holy month of Ramadan to continue to pray for the leadership of the country, its peaceful coexistence and speedy economic revival.
He made the call in a goodwill message to the Nigerian Muslim community on the commencement of Ramadhan season, issued by his special adviser on Media & Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan.
The Speaker also admonished the Muslim faithfuls to always replicate in their daily lives, the spirit of sacrifice, forgiveness, self-denial and piety associated with the Holy month of Ramadhan.
“As the fourth pillar of Islam, Ramadhan fast is a significant act of worship which among others, teaches compassion, love, sacrifice, good neighbourliness and peaceful coexistence”, Dogara stated.
“While urging you to use this golden opportunity to pray for the good health and full recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari and for continued peaceful coexistence of the country and its economic revival, I also enjoin you to always reflect on the virtues of forgiveness, abstinence and genuine love towards one another and make them integral part of your daily lives ,” the Speaker said while commending the resilience and sacrifice of all Nigerians in the face of current economic challenges.
He also expressed optimism that with continued prayers and support, the President Buhari administration will lead the country out of the current downturn to prosperity and pledged the commitment of the Parliament towards actualising the administration’s laudable policies.
In his own message, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau called on the Muslims to offer special prayers for peace, unity and progress of Nigeria during the fasting period.
In the statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Mr Emmanuel Nanle, the governor enjoined the Muslim faithful to use the period to reflect on how to live a life of piety, so that the blessings derivable from answered prayers in the Holy Month, will continue to bear fruit in the unity and peace been enjoyed in the country.
He stressed that the virtues of sacrificial love for humanity, giving of arms to the needy and prayers would reflect the gratitude of the Muslim faithful to Allah.
Lalong also prayed Allah to grant Muslims in the country the grace and strength to be steadfast through this period of their participation in the fasting season.
In his own message, the Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje urged Muslims in the state to pray for peace and development of the country during the Holy month of Ramadan.
The governor made the call in a statement by the Commissioner of Information, Youth and Culture, Malam Mohammed Garba and made available to newsmen in Kano on Saturday.
He also called on the people of the state to strictly adhere to the dictates and teachings of Islam during this Holy month of Ramadan.
The governor also urged Muslims to strive to imbibe in greater measure, the virtues of piety, self-discipline, tolerance, justice, fairness and compassion for the less-privileged and fear of Allah in all their undertakings, which the Ramadan fast promotes.
He said fasting, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, should not be just a period for abstaining from food and drink but also be used to make a greater sacrifice by praying fervently for peace, security and rapid socio-economic development of the state and the country in general.
Ganduje also called for special prayers for the speedy recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently in the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
He then wished all Muslims a successful and spiritually gratifying Ramadan fast.
In the same vein, the Speaker of Osun House of Assembly, Mr Najeem Salaam, urged Muslims to take advantage of the Ramadan to pray ceaselessly for the nation as demanded by Prophet Muhammed.
Mr Goke Butika, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, quoted Salaam as saying in his Ramadan message on Saturday in Osogbo that the economic challenges the nation was facing would be tackled with prayers.
He also enjoined Islamic clerics to use the Ramadan lectures to speak the truth to those in power, saying leaders at this time would appreciate this in the spirit of the season.
Salaam further appealed to the rich to remember the poor during the Ramadan, explaining that the period had created a level playing template for hunger and thirst.
While thanking Allah for keeping Muslim leaders and faithful to witness another Ramadan, he expressed the belief that the prayers of the faithful would be answered.
Also, the Dr Shehu Chindo-Yamusa III, the Emir of Keffi in Nasarawa State, urged Muslims to take advantage of this year’s Ramadan to offer special prayers for the country’s leaders.
Chindo-Yamusa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Keffi that Muslims must pray for God to grant leaders the wisdom to tackle the problems facing the country.
“Muslims faithful across the country should use this period to pray for peace, security, unity and to seek God’s intervention in tackling the myriad of socio-economic challenges confronting the nation,’’ he said.
He said the Ramadan was a time for sober reflection and an opportunity to move closer to God.
Nigeria, he said, needed more prayers now more than ever before, adding that praying to God was the only weapon that would put the country on the right path.
“Ceaseless prayers from all and sundry would guide President Buhari and other leaders who are at the helms of affairs to overcome the challenges bedevilling the nation currently,” he said.
He also urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the unity of the country, saying peace remains a priceless and veritable tool for national development.
Chindo-Yamusa further urged Nigerians, especially the youths, to be law abiding, respect constituted authority and live in peace irrespective of their background.
Fasting in Ramadan is one of the five cardinal pillars of Islam.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Said Abubakar, announced that Ramadan will commence Saturday following the sighting of the moon in a statement on Friday night.
The statement signed by Ustaz Christian Isa Okonkwo, director of administration, NSCIA said, “The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alh. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, wishes to inform the Nigerian Muslim Ummah that, there was positive sighting of the crescent of Ramadan, 1438AH on the 29th of Sha’ban, 1438AH, equivalent to 26th May, 2017. Therefore, Friday, 26th May, 2017 is the last day of Sha’ban, 1438AH.
“In line with the above, His Eminence, the President-General of NSCIA and Sultan of Sokoto, has approved Saturday, 27th May 2017 as the 1st day of Ramadan, 1438AH.