Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has advised Muslims across the country to take the center stage in promoting and spreading love among fellow Nigerians in order to consolidate our unity.
Atiku, who made the call in his Sallah message to Muslims to mark the Eid-el-Kabir Sallah celebration, said religion should be used as a means to advance the cause of love amongst the people.
He explained that diversity is not the cause of Nigeria’s problems, but blamed the attitude of Nigerians towards one another instead.
According to him, “The common interests that unite Nigerians are by far stronger than those petty factors that divide us,” adding that diversity can be used to advantage.
Atiku said intolerance, extremism and bigotry, if unchecked, could threaten peace and unity in any country.
He noted that peace and unity are the greatest assets that should not be taken for granted by Nigerians.
According to him, interfaith dialogue would not go far enough if bigotry is allowed to defeat human reason and wisdom.
The former Vice President explained that all religions preach love of mankind, and urged Muslims to promote the beauty of their faith through positive personal conducts.
Atiku noted that societies founded on hate and bigotry are always exposed to conflicts, and said these negative emotions can only be defeated by the power of love.
While wishing Muslims successful Sallah celebration, the Waziri Adamawa advised Muslims to remain vigilant against the influence of violent extremism which has been used by misguided elements to portray Islam in bad light.
On his parr, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday called on Muslims in Nigeria to embrace the values of sacrifice, love and continue to foster unity as they join their counterparts worldwide to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival.
In his Sallah message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, Governor Ambode said the period of the celebration was a clarion call for Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of the season such as selfless service to God and humanity, sacrifice and sincere commitment to righteous conducts in their private and public life.
He explained that the significance of the season should be beyond feasting, adding that as Muslims prepare to offer animal sacrifice in the prescribed days of the festival, the real essence should be to encourage piety, self-discipline and sacrifice.
Governor Ambode therefore called on all Nigerians to exhibit these values for the good of the country and shun any act capable of heating up the polity or causing distrust among various ethnic groups in the country.
“As we celebrate this auspicious occasion, let us renew our faith in our nation and implore the Almighty God to restore to us those values that place high premium on human life, love of neighbour and sharing even as we ventilate our faith in the unity of our dear country”, the Governor said.
“This period requires more patience, fortitude, tolerance, endurance, patriotism and a greater willingness to make personal sacrifices for the good of all,” he said.
The Governor also thanked Lagosians for supporting his administration, assuring that the Government would continue to do its best to serve the people and promote fairness and mutual tolerance among the populace, irrespective of their ethnic, religion or political affiliation.
While wishing all Lagosians, especially adherents of the Islamic faith a happy Eid-el-Kabir celebration, Governor Ambode enjoined Nigerians in other parts of the country to continue to be their brothers’ keeper.