FACED with security challenges that threaten to tear the nation apart, political leaders have used the commemoration of the birthday of Holy Prophet Muhammed to urge Nigerians to embrace peace and tolerance.
The prophet’s birthday, known as Maulud Nabiyy, is being celebrated by Muslims today.
Political leaders, who yesterday called for the emulation of virtues that would foster the nation’s stability, included President Goodluck Jonathan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha and state governors.
President Jonathan pledged that “in the coming months”, his administration would “curb corruption, eliminate waste and redirect national resources” to identified high priority areas such as public infrastructure, power supply, transportation, agricultural development and education.
He said that this would be to implement policies that would have “a direct and positive impact on wealth creation and employment generation.”
In his message to the Muslim faithful, Jonathan assured Nigerians that all his actions shall continue to be “motivated by a burning desire to significantly improve the lives of the people of this country within the tenure of my administration.”
In the message to “My dear Compatriots”, President Jonathan tasked all Nigerians to collectively reflect on the virtues and ideals, which the Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW) exemplified and taught.
The full text read: “I greet you all, especially our Moslem brothers and sisters, as we commemorate the anniversary of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
“As we celebrate the anniversary of the Prophet’s birth, I urge all Nigerians to collectively reflect on the virtues and ideals which he exemplified and taught. The proper internalisation of these virtues and ideals will undoubtedly benefit our nation immensely as we confront current security and developmental challenges.
“I sincerely believe that we will make much faster progress towards the realization of our shared vision of a strong, united and prosperous nation if more of our people imbibe the Prophet’s lessons of peace, peaceful co-existence with others, tolerance, honesty, selflessness, sincerity, justice, equity and fairness to all.
“My administration greatly appreciates the untiring effort being made by our religious and traditional rulers to foster national unity and promote the peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians in the face of current challenges and I urge them to do more in this regard.
“I also seize the opportunity of this occasion to assure all Nigerians once again that my administration remains fully committed to the successful implementation of its agenda for national transformation.
“We shall continue to do all that we can in the coming months to curb corruption, eliminate waste and redirect national resources to identified high priority areas such as public infrastructure, power supply, transportation, agricultural development, education and other sectors that will have a direct and positive impact on wealth creation and employment generation.
“I thank you all for your continuing support and understanding in spite of being called upon to make additional sacrifices for national development recently.
“Remain assured that all my actions as President are motivated by a burning desire to significantly improve the lives of the people of this country within the tenure of my administration. With your support and God’s guidance, I will succeed.
“May God Almighty continue to bless, guide and protect our dear country. I wish you all happy Eid-El-Maulud celebrations.”
Tambuwal enjoined Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of tolerance and love for one another, as there are enough examples for mankind to learn from the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammed.
In a message to commemorate this year’s Maulud Nabiyy issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Imam Imam, Tambuwal said tolerance and love for one another were essential components for the building of peaceful and stable societies.
He said Nigerians should use this year’s celebration to pray for the country, adding that they should also reflect on the ideals of peace, unity, harmony and selflessness taught by all religions in order to build a stable nation. .
“With peace, tolerance and brotherly love, we can build a country of our dream. We should therefore eschew all forms of vices as we continue our march towards unity, development and self- sustenance,” he said. .
Ihedioha called on all Nigerians to use the occasion as an opportunity to re-dedicate themselves to the ideals of nationhood and increase their commitment to the tasks of nation-building.
In a message yesterday, Ihedioha shared the joy of the event and congratulated all Muslims on the occasion of the birth of Prophet Muhammed, urging them to continue to show love towards all citizens in the spirit of good neighbourliness.
He enjoined Muslim faithful to emulate the teachings and practice of the Holy Prophet and to pray for the continued peace and unity of Nigeria, especially at this trying period.
The Deputy Speaker decried all manner of religious and political intolerance, noting that Nigerians, irrespective of creed or cradle, owe each other a duty to contribute positively towards building a great and united country that would be the pride of everyone.
“We must always be guided by the fact that our individual and collective strength as a country is better amplified in our diversity and we must do our best within our God-given abilities to make Nigeria a strong, united and prosperous nation,” he said. .
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi enjoined Muslims to pray for the restoration of peace in every part of the country as they celebrate the event.
The governor noted that the absence of love and lack of consideration for fellow beings accounted for the gale of violence in the country, adding that it was important for Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, unity and tolerance which Islam preaches.
In a goodwill message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, Fayemi urged Muslims to continue to draw examples from the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammed, adding that the society could be safer, better and more progressive if Nigerians learn to love one another.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on his part called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of peaceful co-existence among themselves. .
The governor gave the admonition in a special message issued in Ibadan by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo.
He urged Nigerians to be their brothers’ keepers and live together in one love, saying that it was only in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility that the nation could make ample progress.
While preaching forgiveness of trespasses among neighbours and Nigerians in general, Ajimobi said that if Nigerians did not harbour grievances against one another, it would be easier to lead a people who live together in peace.
In an apparent reference to the Boko Haram insurgency in some parts of the country, which has claimed several lives and destroyed property, the governor said that the Islamic religion abhors shedding of human blood under whatever guise.