NIGERIA @56: SULTAN OF SOKOTO DISSECTS NATION’S CHALLENGES, SAYS NIGERIANS NEED NO LAMENTATIONS BUT WORK, PRAYERS

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*Canvasses support for Buhari-led administration as he urges citizens’ commitment to Nigerian nationhood, confidence in ability of elected leaders to sail nation through turbulent times

*Sarkin Mu’mineen of Nigeria says Nigeria can only be made great by Nigerians’ positive change

By Kemi Kasumu

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Sultan of Sokoto and Leader of Muslim Ummah of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has described the current economic challenges as offshoots of economic sabotage and restiveness in some parts of the South and activities of Boko Haram insurgents in the North East.

He therefore called on Nigerians to rise to the challenges by showing commitment to the Nigerian nation and being confident in the ability of the current elected leaders to sail the nation through its turbulent times.

“If lamentations are what it requires to bring Nigeria to where she should be, we would have been strident in lamenting. But we believe it is work and prayers that can do it. It is therefore for this reason that we urge Nigerians on this auspicious occasion to WORK for the greatness of Nigeria and PRAY for her development and progress.

He however expressed relief that, no matter the difficulties the country might be going through, it was gratifying that the nation was currently blessed “with a leadership that commands the respect of the international community based on high ethical principles at the highest levels. Our country is blessed with those who have the fear of God at the highest level of authority.”

In his speech titled “Work and pray for Nigeria,” as Chairman on the occasion of a formal Islamic programme to mark the 56th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, held, Friday, at the Conference Hall of the National Mosque, Abuja, the world’s number 18 most influential Muslim leader said since Nigeria was the only country that every Nigerian could lay his or her claim to, that there should be collective and individual resolve and effort to make the nation great at all ends.

Explaining the reason for the event, Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar said commemorating Independence anniversaries on the part of the Nigerian Muslim Community had always been limited to organising special Jumat Services and supplications in the mosque but that this year it was considered appropriate to introduce the event as part of the contributions of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah to the country and hoped that it would be sustained in the years ahead sensitizing Nigerians on the need of the day based on where the country currently stood.

His words: “Your Excellencies, distinguished and honorable Nigerians, 56 years may be much in the life of a person. In the life of nation, it is a short period of time. It is on this note that I want to urge us all to remain committed to the Nigerian nation and be confident in the ability of our elected leaders to sail the nation through its turbulent times.

“That these are turbulent times for our country is evident in nefarious activities of certain criminals known as Boko Haram, though thankfully degraded now, in some parts of the North. The reality of today is glaring in the economic sabotage and restiveness in some parts of the South as well as armed robbery and kidnapping in other parts of the country. Today’s Nigeria is manifest in the distressed economy, a consequence of our prodigal past which was characterized by the heavy scourge of institutionalized corruption.

“As people of faith, it is our unshakeable belief that Nigeria will certainly overcome the problems she faces if we do the needful. The country is ours and only Nigerians can make the country better. Yet, things cannot be better if we do not change, a truism that cannot be counteracted by the politics of hailing and wailing.

“The need of the day is for us to work and pray. It is axiomatic that work without prayer is half-empty and prayer without work is half-full. It is by combining the two that we are going to succeed as a nation united under one God, the Almighty Allah. We have every reason to be hopeful that the current work being done by the leadership of this country, under the incorruptible General Muhammadu Buhari, will rescue the country from its real and perceived problems, supported with our prayers.

“In spite of the difficulties the country may be going through, one thing is gratifying. Our country is blessed with a leadership that commands the respect of the international community based on high ethical principles at the highest levels. Our country is blessed with those who have the fear of God at the highest level of authority.
“As Allah promises that certainly with every difficulty, there is ease, we urge Nigerians to have faith and believe that better days are ahead. We should be optimistic because the dark clouds of uncertainty that hanged precariously over the country last year, predicted by some prophets of doom to be the last year of Nigeria as a corporate entity, are over. The coast is now clear for the country to sail smoothly to the harbour of greatness.

“If lamentations are what it requires to bring Nigeria to where she should be, we would have been strident in lamenting. But we believe it is work and prayers that can do it. It is therefore for this reason that we urge Nigerians on this auspicious occasion to WORK for the greatness of Nigeria and PRAY for her development and progress.

“On the last note, I want to urge you all to listen attentively to the lecture of today as I have every reason to believe that we will benefit from it. As the Prophet (SAW) told us, knowledge is a lot property of the believer, he picks it wherever he finds it. This occasion offers a veritable platform for knowledge and we are welcome to pick it as we deem fit,” said the Sultan.


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