Atiku Harps on Ramadan Lessons, Calls for Inter-faith Dialogue
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has felicitated with Nigerian Muslims on the occasion of the Sallah celebration which is being marked on Monday all over the world.
Atiku in a statement he personally signed urged compatriots not to miss the lessons and gains of Ramadan even as they bask in the euphoria of Sallah festivity.
The renowned philanthropist noted that staying away from food and drinks from dawn to dusk will automatically make adherents fear God and empathise with the poor who can’t afford to feed on a daily basis, and this he said is the fundamental lesson of the holy month of Ramadan.
The frontline presidential aspirant called on Nigerians not to allow desperate politicians to divide them along the country’s fault lines.
The self-acclaimed ‘unifier’ added his voice to the need to institutionalise inter-faith dialogue to foster healthy communication and better understanding among adherents of the major religions across the country.
The statement read in full:
I wish all Nigerians, particularly fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, a happy Eid-el Fitr celebrations. It is a thing of joy to have successfully completed the month-long Ramadan. May our sacrifices be acceptable unto the Almighty God.
I call on Nigerians to strengthen the bond of love despite our religious differences. Love is the prerequisite for binding unity in a diverse society like ours.
As we celebrate Eid el Fitr, marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fasting season, I appeal to Nigerians to develop the spirit of tolerance and respect towards one another, despite our ethnic and religious differences.
Let’s use religion as an instrument for creating unity, love and harmony rather than using it to feed hate and intolerance, which usually results in needless conflicts.
Let’s not allow selfish politicians and people of bad faith to divide us and use us as fighting tools for their sinister agendas.
As a unifier, my objective is to mobilise all Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or tongue, towards the enthronement of a New Nigeria premised on One People with One Future and One Country.
Even as the Ramadan fast for the year has come to a successful end, we should not abandon its valuable lessons, and we should internalise its lessons going forward.
The Ramadan fast makes us appreciate what it means to go without food and drinks for the whole day, thereby understanding the impact of hunger on millions of poor people in our midst.
The self-discipline created by the Ramadan fast encourages us to show compassion towards our fellow human beings who cannot feed because of poverty.
Even as I wish fellow Muslims a happy Sallah celebration, I call for more significant efforts toward interfaith dialogue to bridge the communication gap between members of the two main religions.
Let’s not associate with people who undermine the efforts towards interfaith dialogue because doing so may create the conditions for extremists to thrive. The extremists’ agenda is a negation of our common good and is to promote hate and bigotry to cause confusion. Let’s not allow them to succeed. #eidmubarak