WE congratulate the Muslim faithful on the peaceful conclusion of the fasting season. The holy month of Ramadan was a period also dedicated to fervent prayers for self, family, neighbours and country; and to acts of charity, love and sacrificial giving.

It is, indeed, the most holy month of the Muslim calendar.

Now that the special month has come to an end, we implore our Muslim brethren not to throw away the gains of the season. The lessons of love, sacrifice and dedication to prayers for self and others should remain with us at all times. This is especially so at this time that the country is battling a myriad of challenges which require the utmost patriotic intervention of the entire citizenry.

Some of these challenges include the ethnic and religious agitations in some parts of the country; the demand for Biafra by some people in the South-East, the Niger-Delta militancy in the South-South, the increasing Fulani herdsmen menace, onslaught of kidnappers and armed robbers, the Boko Haram insurgency, unemployment and economic recession. These challenges require the faithful prayers of the citizenry and concerted actions of the country’s leaders to reverse.

We, therefore, urge Muslims and all other Nigerians to uphold Nigeria in prayers on this special occasion of Eid-el-Fitri. No doubt, this year’s fasting period has given those who faithfully participated in it the opportunity to experience the hunger that is frequently the lot of their less privileged fellow citizens.

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As they have learnt, during the Ramadan, to share whatever they have with their neighbours as they gather together to start and break the daily fast, let them continue in acts of charity to fellow Nigerians, especially the needy.

On the auspicious occasion of this Eid el-Fitri, we call on all those in positions of authority in the country, especially the public office holders, to strive harder to change the largely sad narrative of the country for the better. If the truth must be told, successive governments in the land have not served the cause of the ordinary man very well. They have mostly been self-serving, inept and wasteful.

They have not channeled the God-given human and natural resources of the country to the optimal service of the people. That is why mobilisation and consensus around any one national cause has been difficult to achieve and sustain, since independence. This is a very unhappy outcome for a nation as endowed and laden with enviable natural and human resources as ours.

As in all human affairs, it is never too late to change. Change is the only constant thing in life and our leaders must resolve to change for the better. It is only then that this Sallah celebration would make much meaning, especially to the generality of the long-suffering masses in the country.

As our Muslim faithful join their counterparts throughout the world in marking this Eid, we urge that they celebrate in moderation and focus on the essence of the occasion.