By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Tordue Salem, Adebiyi Adedapo and Andrew Essien, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted Nigerians for their steadfastness in spite of the economic crunch, and gave the assurance that the country will soon witness better days.
In his Sallah message, yesterday, President Buhari said while his administration was making efforts to improve the economy, it was difficult to talk about the present without reference to the past.
He blamed the current economic recession in the country on the inability of past governments to plan and save for the rainy day.
“Fellow compatriots, as you celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir, I salute your steadfastness in spite of the difficult economic times the country is going through.
“The lessons of the Eid are piety and sacrifice and, my dear brothers and sisters, you have exhibited these in equal measure.
“The present recession is as a result of cumulative effects of worldwide economic downturn and failure in the past to plan and save for difficult times. It is impossible to separate the present from the past to appreciate the extent to which mistakes of the past are affecting everyday life today,” the president stated.
He reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to changing the fortunes of the country while reeling out some measures his administration was taking to stimulate the economy.
“I assure you that this administration is working round the clock to remove the hardship the country is going through.
“Rail and road constructions, projects in the housing sector, support for farmers and for small and medium scale industries, youth and women empowerment programmes, and support for the revival of industries are all designed to reinvigorate the economy and enhance living standards of ordinary people,” Buhari stated.
He declared that his government was making steady progress on two of the three cardinal agenda of his administration.
“We are getting security right. We are stopping corruption in its tracks and we will get the economy right by the Grace of God,” he added.
While wishing Nigerians a happy holiday, the president enjoined Muslims to live by the dictates of Islam, to keep good relationships with their Christian brothers and sisters and to maintain the spirit of the Nigerian nation as patriots.
In his Sallah message, President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, called on Muslims to pray Nigeria out of recession as they celebrate the Eid festivities.
He also urged them to pray for peace in the nation and to remain steadfast and committed to the cause of a united and developed country.
He observed that despite the current economic challenges, the country and its people have all that is required to come out better and stronger, and called on all Nigerians to live in harmony with one another irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations.
Saraki pointed out that the significance of the Eid-el-Kabir festival is to celebrate the true love and grace of Almighty Allah to mankind through sacrifice, devotion and faith.
“I sincerely rejoice with all Nigerians, especially the Muslim faithful, on yet another Eid-el Kabir, which is both a period of sacrifice and obedience to divine guidance and a time to share our resources with our neighbours, no matter how little.
“It is also a call on all of us to love one another, eschew all forms of violence, and adhere strictly to the noble tenets of Islam and peaceful coexistence. We must not relent in being our brothers’ keeper and playing our part to achieve the new Nigeria of our dreams.
“Truly, times are tough, but we are a tough people too. Therefore, I have no doubt that we shall overcome our present economic setback sooner than anticipated, if we all commit to the ideals of nation building.
“I also enjoin every one of us to contribute in strengthening the bond of unity and oneness that exists among us. This, I believe, will spur us to avoid negative tendencies that could derail our efforts at ensuring faster economic revival and socio-political stability,” the Senate president stated in a statement signed by his adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and his deputy, Yussuf Lasun, in separate messages, while felicitating with the Muslim Ummah, urged them to imbibe the spirit of peace and perseverance.
Dogara, in his message, said the celebration calls for sober reflection as it encourages the faithful to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice, peace, unity and progress.
In a statement signed by his special adviser, media and public affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said peaceful co-existence, understanding as well as sustained prayers among citizens were essential in the face of the current economic and security challenges in the country.
“As we celebrate Eid-el Kabir with our friends and families, we must never forget our country and its leadership in our prayers. Eid-el Kabir celebration is a period of sacrifice and reflection. I urge us all to emulate the virtues of total obedience, sacrifice in faith and selfless service as demonstrated and exemplified by Prophet lbrahim,” he said.
The Speaker noted that the current hardship in the economy is occasioned by decades of maladministration and the near collapse of Nigeria’s mono-product economy.
He, however, expressed confidence that the diversification drive of the present administration, coupled with its fiscal discipline and transparency, will surely return the nation to the path of true development and prosperity.
In the same vein, the deputy Speaker appealed to Muslim faithful to reflect on the spirit of Eid-el-Kabir by being their brothers’ keeper.
In a statement by his chief press secretary, Mr Wole Oladimeji, Lasun sued for patience and perseverance especially in this period of economic recession.
He also called on Nigerians to cooperate with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in his drive towards re-engineering the nation’s economy.
Pray for economic recovery, APC urges Nigerians
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged Nigerians to pray for peace and quick recovery of the nation’s economy even as the party joined Muslim faithful across the country in rejoicing over the joyous occasion of Eid-el-Kabir.
APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, in a statement, yesterday, urged Muslim faithful and, indeed, all Nigerians to use the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir to show love and promote harmonious and peaceful co-existence with one another irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations.
He also called on Nigerians to support the recently launched National Re-orientation Campaign, “Change Begins With Me.’’
“Muslim faithful and indeed all Nigerians are enjoined to use the occasion of Eid-el Kabir to pray for the peace, development and prosperity of the country.
“Indeed, Nigeria is today passing through challenging times in its socio-economic life. The party calls on Nigerians to pray and support the administration as it works assiduously to pull the country out of the present hardships and restore the country on the path growth in all facets.
“Happily, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration is already employing all legitimate and innovative means to restore the country’s battered economy back to health in the quickest possible time,” Odigie-Oyegun stated.