President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that he ignored advice not to fast due to concern over his health, saying he did so because of the benefits of fasting.
The president added that participating fully in the month-long Ramadan fast had made him ‘healthier to attend to national issues.’
Buhari made these comments at the presidential villa in Abuja when he received a delegation from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led by the FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, and compromising lawmakers, religious leaders, some cabinet members, service chiefs, presidential aides and some residents of the capital city.
The president, who disclosed that he could not fast last year due to ill health, said he was able to fully participate in the spiritual exercise this year.
Addressing them, the president said: “I’m very grateful to the ministers and church leadership that came to say happy Eid el-Fitr to those of us that have been fasting.
“A lot of people asked me if on health grounds I could fast. I refused to (heed their advice) because I know the value in fasting; I cannot miss it once I can do it.
“Last year I didn’t, because I was on health vacation, but this year I have done it and I thank God because it has helped me to be healthier and also given me the time that I need to attend to national issues.”
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that, last year, Buhari spent over 150 days in London treating an undisclosed ailment. He has also visited his doctors in London on three known occasions this year.
President Buhari urged all citizens to embrace the reality that Nigeria must exist and continue as one nation, noting that the country needs all its human and material resources to succeed.
“Please try to persuade your constituencies to work harder for the greatness of this nation,’’ he added.
The president said Nigeria had a peculiar advantage of being blessed with enormous human and material resources, noting that these potentialities could be turned around for the greater good of everyone.
In his remarks, the FCT minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, said the Ramadan provided an auspicious opportunity to pray for the nation, and the wellbeing of the president and his family.
On his part, the representative of the Senate president, Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah, said the National Assembly would keep supporting the vision of the administration for a greater Nigeria, noting that “no administration since 1999 had received more cooperation from the legislature like President Buhari.’’
President Buhari also received women groups led by his wife, Aisha Buhari; president of the National Council of Women Societies, Dr. Laraba Shoda, and former deputy governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen.
Reiterating his position that Nigeria belongs to all, the president called on all Nigerians to work towards salvaging the nation from the shackles of past wrongs by sharing in the collective vision for a greater Nigeria and contributing individually to realise the goal.
“Please, in your constituencies, emphasise what I said about 30 years ago – we don’t have another country except Nigeria; we may as well remain here and salvage it together. There is nothing else we can do. Even those who left the country are now trying to come back because
they are not wanted out there. I wish that all the resources they had then had been deployed here. So, persuade your constituencies to work much harder away from individualism and sectionalism.”
The president noted that despite meeting “little or no resources” when he took office, his administration has worked hard to stabilise the economy.
“I’m very pleased that we are working very hard collectively as Nigerians and that God in his infinite mercy, who knows what is in the heart, will continue to guide us so that we accommodate each other at all times,” he said.
“This country is blessed on human and material resources. Throughout the country, we have solid minerals. We are going to work very hard to keep on exploiting more and more of our solid minerals and less politicising of our petroleum resources.
“I think we have invested so much in this country and we will continue to pray that we stay together. Let us develop the necessary confidence, work together as a people. This country is great, let us work together so that we can save a lot more and exploit more of the resources that were abandoned so many years ago.”
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