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Muslims start Ramadan, Mark, govs, others urge prayers for Nigeria

AS Nigerian Muslims join their brethren across the world in observing the holy month of Ramadan by fasting from dawn to dusk for the next 30 days, Islamic clerics, public office holders and political party chieftains have tasked the faithful to pray for the transformation of the country for the betterment of its citizens.

In his Ramadan message, Senate President David Mark urged Muslims “to dedicate the period of fasting and prayer to the nation in order to overcome the myriads of challenges, including insecurity in the land.”

He added: “As you embark on this month-long spiritual renewal and supplication to the Almighty Allah, I enjoin you to remember Nigeria and her people in prayer. The current security challenges we have witnessed in recent times call for a divine intervention so that we may all continue to toe the path of peace, harmony and respect for the sanctity of life.”

Also, Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has charged Moslems in the state to use the Ramadan period to pray for the sustenance of democracy, peace and unity of the country.

In a message to mark the start of this year’s Ramadan, Ahmed urged them to intensify their prayers for the continued peace and unity of the country.

He enjoined family heads to make adequate provisions for their households during the fasting period, pointing out that bountiful blessings from God await such family heads for doing so in the fasting month.

He also charged all privileged Muslims to donate generously to the less-privileged “in this holy month,” noting that the reward for this is enormous from God.

Similarly, Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, has charged Nigerians to be tolerant and love one another irrespective of their religious beliefs.

Mimiko, who spoke at a pre-Ramadan lecture organised by the state Muslims Welfare Board in Akure, also called on Muslim faithful in the state to use this year’s Ramadan period to re-dedicate themselves to the service of God and humanity.

Likewise, Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, has urged Muslims to devote the Ramadan period to seek God’s face for Nigeria to enhance political stability and progress.

The governor, in a Ramadan message, observed that avarice and inordinate ambition to amass wealth at the expense of the less privileged were some factors causing disenchantment in the society, which often lead to various protests and violence in the country.

Aregbesola said: “Ramadan is a month of self-restraint and it is important that Nigerians, especially Muslims, remember this in order to take full advantage of the blessings of the month.

“Lack of restraints have led us to various forms of vices and many of the problems confronting us as a country today can be traced to failure to learn restraints.

“This is why many leaders have left their people in the lurch; failing to provide good leadership and leaving them in abject poverty. With the fear of God, all these would be things of the past.”

Also, Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi has enjoined Muslim faithful in the country to use the Ramadan month to preach against racial and religious discrimination as well as all forms of violence.

Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, urged Muslims to live exemplary lives, stressing that the greatest lessons from the yearly Ramadan

fasting include “the need for discipline, respect for constituted authorities, tolerance, honesty, sincerity of purpose and peaceful co-existence.”

He enjoined Muslims to uphold the tenets of Islam, which are “all about love, honesty and cleanliness, both of the person and the society.”

Also, Acting National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abubakar Kawu Baraje, has enjoined Muslims to use the month of Ramadan to pray for peace and security across the country.

Baraje gave the charge in his Ramadan message yesterday in Ilorin.

And in his message, British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, wrote: “As the sacred month of Ramadan begins I want to send my very best wishes to Muslim communities in Britain and across the world.

“Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection.  Its importance is emphasised in prayer and as a time when families and friends gather to remember those less fortunate.  Its values remind us of the principles that we hold in common – tolerance, justice, progress and the dignity of all human beings.  The key messages of selflessness, charity, and compassion are values that unite Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

“At this time of unprecedented change in the Middle East and North Africa, peoples’ aspirations for greater freedom touches us all.  We should take a moment to particularly remember the people of Libya and others across the world who are working for increased rights and freedoms for the benefit of future generations.

“At this special time of year I hope that your prayers are answered, that Ramadan brings you peace, happiness and unity.  So I say to you, your relatives and your friends, Ramadan Mubarak.”

-Guardian

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