President Muhammadu Buhari recently declared his delight at seeing the brotherly love Nigerians demonstrated during this year’s Eid-el-Fitr festival. He hoped the Eid would “continue to bring with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst Muslims and Christians” such as witnessed during the fasting period of Ramadan.
The president made his feelings known in a Sallah message issued by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja. According to the president, it is “noteworthy and delightful” to see Christians breaking fast and in some instances, extending goodwill and gifts to the Muslim faithful during the Ramadan. “This model also shone through with Muslim groups joining Christian festivities. These are practices that promote brotherhood and forgiveness,” he added.
Buhari extended his best wishes to all Nigerians and Muslims across the globe as they marked the Eid-el-Fitr following the completion of a month of fasting. In the message signed by him, Buhari said: “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.
“Unity and solidarity amongst all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one. It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.
“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity. We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”
The problem of this potentially great nation is not with ordinary Nigerians. If it is patriotism and nationalism, they do not lack these attributes. It is not they that plunder Nigeria’s wealth. They do not kill for political power.
If it is brotherly love, you only have to be present at an accident scene to see how caring the ordinary Nigerian can be. They shatter window glasses of vehicles with bloodied bare hands to rescue victims. The rich and powerful, at the other end, will run over pedestrians and drive on without stopping.
It is powerful politicians, some religious leaders and some others who do not mean well that incite the poor and the weak to violence and destruction. As Buhari rightly pointed out, it is these that “seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.” It is they that are Nigeria’s problem. We must individually and collectively stop them in their tracks.