By Charles Ozoemena, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Wahab Abdullahi
Posted to the Web: Thursday, November 03, 2005
ABUJA — PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday played Eid-el-Fitri Sallah host to Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, and other prominent Nigerians at the State House, Abuja and expressed joy that the nation was now more united than ever before. The Vice-President led the delegation that comprised the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Uwais; Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai; National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ahmadu Ali; the Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque, Ustaz Musa Mohammed; Minister of Commerce, Alhaji Idris Waziri; members of the National Assembly, Chairman of Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo; former Minister of FCT, Alhaji
Abba-Gana; Secretary-General of ECOWAS, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Muslim diplomats, government officials and friends of government.
Reflecting on the recent death of his wife, Stella Obasanjo and the Bellview Air mishap in Lisa Ogun State, Obasanjo said the tragedies had strengthened the bond of unity in the country, and advised Nigerians not to query God over the incidents.
He said: “As believers, we know that God is supreme and directs all affairs of the world. We must not query God for whatever He allows to happen because He has a purpose for it. What we have gone through in the last 11 days, God used it to strengthen us and get us closer to Him.
“This is because when things we cannot comprehend happen, we have nowhere to turn to except Him and that is when we begin to understand. We are emerging from this monumental calamity stronger, more united and more committed to our nation.
“God meant these events to strengthen us, encourage us and make us stronger and really get closer to Him because when things which we cannot really comprehend happen, we have to go to God.
“I struggled hard not to lead the nation into a state of despondency because it would be difficult to get ourselves together again. As it is, we leave everything in the hands of God.”
He thanked Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and others on the delegation, and wished them happy Sallah celebrations. Atiku in his remark commended President Obasanjo for his quality of leadership, stressing that this year’s Sallah was not just for merriment but also one for prayers and sober reflection, especially in the light of the nation’s recent tragic experiences.
Emphasising that the President has successfully pulled the country out of a very difficult moment, Atiku offered the President the delegation’s words of encouragement and sympathy.
Muslims mark end of Ramadan
Earlier in the day, Muslims in Lagos, Abuja and many parts of the country had trooped to prayer grounds to mark the end of the Ramadan fasting.
Yesterday and today have been declared as public holidays to mark the occasion.
Governor Bola Tinubu did not take part in yesterday’s prayers, as some Muslims were said to be waiting for the sighting of the moon which normally precedes the prayer.
The Obalende Praying ground where the governor usually observes his prayer was besieged by worshipers.
Imams preached on virtues of Ramadan that must be sustained by each and everyone.