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  • Lessons of Ugwuanyi’s visit to Mosque at Sallah
  • I was astonished if not dumfounded when I read
    in the national dailies recently that Governor
    Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State visited the
    Central Mosque in Owerri road, Enugu, to
    felicitate with the Muslims during their Eid-el-
    Fitr celebration. I appreciated the visit more
    when I saw in the social media the images of
    the governor with the enthusiastic Muslims and
    the friendship that adored between both parties.
    Gov. Ugwuanyi’s surprise visit has left me in a
    state of sober reflection, considering the
    avoidable wind of controversy rearing its ugly
    head to the detriment of our national unity. The
    governor’s visit has enriched my opinion about
    his quiddity as a humble, peace loving and
    detribalized Nigerian whose acts of love,
    generosity and accommodating spirit know no
    bounds. It has equally stood him out as a true
    democrat, nationalist and an agent of
    socialization, who strongly believes in the unity
    of Nigeria as an indivisible entity and peaceful
    co-existence of Nigerians, irrespective of our
    socio-political differences.
    The visit painted a vivid picture of what the
    dreams and aspirations of the nation’s founding
    fathers represent – to live in peace with one
    another, make progress and defend the unity of
    the country. The exemplary action was also in
    keeping with the tenets of our National Anthem
    – “To serve our Fatherland with love and
    strength and faith” so that “the labour of our
    heroes past shall never be in vain”.
    Gov. Ugwuanyi by the visit exhibited maturity
    and firm commitment to the spirit of our
    nationhood notwithstanding the challenges
    confronting us as a nation. So, I was impressed
    with the governor’s bold initiative which is
    strange in our contemporary society, especially
    at this period the nation is experiencing some
    challenges capable of undermining her unity. I
    am also pleased to note that the governor prior
    to the surprise visit had earlier in the day sent
    Sallah gift items to the Muslims through his
    Special Adviser on Security Matters, Gen. Fred
    Eze (retd).
    The message the governor sent out to Nigerians
    through the recent fraternization with the
    Muslims are enormous, instructive and
    emulative and need to be emphasized for the
    promotion of peace, love and national unity.
    First, Governor Ugwuanyi’s action has reminded
    Nigerians that irrespective of our religion, ethnic
    and socio-political differences, we are one and
    should show love to one another in time of joy
    or sorrow. It has reaffirmed his commitment to
    the diligent responsibility of showing love to
    every resident of the state irrespective of religion
    or tribe. It has also shown that we can resolve
    our differences amicably, without any form of
    violence or bickering.
    These are lessons to be drawn from Gov.
    Ugwuanyi’s recent disposition to the Muslims.
    The governor has taken the dance steps of
    peace, love forgiveness and national unity to the
    market for us to emulate, purchase and practice
    in the overall interest of our nation. I sincerely
    salute him for this brave step geared towards
    the reinvigoration and sustainability of our
    founding fathers’ dreams. I also learnt that his
    arrival to the mosque caused a flurry of
    excitement which informed the rousing ovation
    he received from the Muslims.
    I recall that the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence,
    Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III had
    during his official visit to Enugu State, last year,
    expressed delight at the level of popularity Gov.
    Ugwuanyi enjoys from the people of the state
    including non-indigenes, disclosing that 95
    percent of Muslims in the state are in support of
    the governor and what he is doing to promote
    peace, security, national unity and good
    governance.
    I also recall that the former Senate President
    and Chairman of the Constitution and Electoral
    Reform Committee, Senator Ken Nnamani, had
    applauded the governor for his respect for
    everybody irrespective of socio-political
    differences, saying “that Enugu State is lucky to
    now have a governor who has “a listening ear
    and respect for everybody, old and young in
    spite of political divide”.
    In his Sallah message, Gov. Ugwuanyi “called
    on the Muslim faithful to use the period to offer
    special prayers for peaceful co-existence and
    national unity for the continued progress and
    sustainability of the dreams of the country’s
    founding fathers”.
    He noted that “Eid-el-Fitr offers an opportunity
    for both Muslim and Christian faithful to
    continue to live in harmony for the progress of
    the country”, adding that the country’s strength
    lies in its diversity and ability to overcome
    challenges despite socio-political differences.
    The governor’s message summarizes that
    Nigerians should at all time demonstrate true
    love for one another as well as reaffirm their
    faith in God for peace, progress and unity to
    reign supreme towards the realization of the
    country’s full potentials.
    It is also instructive to note that on the side of
    the Muslims in the state, their Leader, HRH
    Alhaji Yusuf Sambo, (the Sarkin Hausawa) while
    welcoming Governor Ugwuanyi praised him for
    the surprise visit after he had earlier sent gift
    items to them through a representative.
    Alhaji Sambo according to the report said that
    the gesture was “a demonstration of his love for
    every resident of the state irrespective of religion
    or tribe”.
    He added that the governor had paid similar
    visit to them last year and has continued to
    ensure that the harmonious relationship that has
    been existing between Muslims and Christians in
    the state is sustained.
    The Muslims equally extended their gratitude to
    the people of the state for the existing
    harmonious relationship and promised to ensure
    that it is sustained for the benefit of the state
    and the country at large.
    From the above fluid narrative, Gov. Ugwuanyi’s
    name has been written in gold in the book of
    history as one of the country’s nationalists, who
    have shown tremendous commitment to the
    unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria. I
    hope that more leaders should emulate his deep
    sense of patriotism to forge a common force
    that will continue to promote peace, love,
    progress and unity as one indivisible entity –
    the noble dreams of our founding fathers.

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