When Nigerians went spiritual over Buhari
It’s been prayer session after prayer session for the recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari since January when he went on vacation. Daily Trust takes a look at prayers which have held across the country and beyond.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari may be away from the country, but he is present in the heart of Nigerians, as they have continued to hold special prayer sessions for him. If anything, Nigerians appear to be united in wishing the president speedy recovery.
Since he left the country on a medical vacation, various groups irrespective of religious and party affiliations have organized prayer sessions for the president.
On January 19, the Presidency announced that he was proceeding on a 10-day medical vacation in the United Kingdom and was expected back on February 6, but the vacation was extended to enable him collect his test results as well as receive treatment.
The prayers started in Borno State, where various mosques in Biu, Jere, Gwoza, Konduga, Monguno, Damboa, Dikwa, Askira, Kaga and many other locations took part in special prayers. The prayers followed a request of Governor Kashim Shettima. Of the 542 Jumma’at mosques in the state, about 350 which are currently operating were able to participate in the programme.
The Muslims were not alone in the exercise, as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) drawn from various churches in the state declared a seven-day fast and prayers for the president’s speedy recovery and good health. CAN’s president in the state, Bishop Mohammed Naga, led other clerics and faithful at the prayers at the Ekkliziyan Yan’uwa a Nigeria, (EYN) church.
Also, in Gombe State, prayers were held for the president. Worthy of note is the group which spear- headed the session, the Shiites. Although, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, a faction of the Shiite group, Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is still being detained by the Buhari-led federal government, the followers held a prayer session for the president.
The group’s spokesperson, Malam Badamasi Adamu Ali, said their concern over the president’s health warranted the prayers. He said: “Many states across the nation have come together to pray for the speedy recovery and return of President Buhari, who is still in London without a return date”.
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General Jama’atu Nasirl Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, also declared prayers for the quick recovery of the president Muhammadu Buhari and an end to Southern Kaduna crisis.
The prayers held on March 5th in Kaduna, was led by the National Headquarters of JNI and Council of Imams and Ulamas, Kaduna State branch.
State chairman of the Council of Imam’s and Ulamas, Dr. Khalid Aliyu Abubakar and Sheikh Baban Tune, described the event as a religious duty for all to work together in order to seek Allah’s intervention to relieve trial moments.
It was no different in Kano, where CAN held a special prayer session for the restoration of President Buhari’s health and his safe return to Nigeria.
The state’s chairman, Bishop Ransom Bello, who spoke to journalists, said the session was convened out of their sincere concern for the health of the president and in obedience to the scriptural injunction that Christians should pray for their leaders.
He said: “We prayed to God that he regains his health because we believe most sincerely that when a leader is sick, it is like the whole nation is sick.”
Just like religious organizations, other groups, including the House of Representatives have held prayer sessions for the president.
A two-hour prayer session was also organized by Christian members of the House of Representatives, for Mr. President’s healing and the “salvation of his soul”. The session was presided over by Tajudeen Ayo Yusuf, representing Ijumu/Kabba-Bunu Federal Constituency of Kogi State, who said: “when the president is sick, Nigeria is sick. Praying for the leaders is Biblical in His commandment.”
The president’s kinsmen were not left out of the exercise, in Katsina, his home state, prayer sessions were held Funtua, Daura and the capital city.
In Katsina, the prayer session was held in the Emir Abdulmumini Kabir Usman’s palace and Senator Abu Ibrahim chaired the prayers in Funtua.
Imams from all the local government areas in the state converged on the state capital for the exercise. The governor of the state, Aminu Bello Masari, noted that the prayers were not solely for the quick recovery and return of Buhari, but for peace and stability of the country also.
He flayed all those criticizing the president for staying away for this long, noting that he had taken care of his constitutional obligations. He urged citizens to focus on the president’s well being rather than negativity.
In Daura, Buhari’s hometown, prayers organized by the Daura Emirate Council have been ongoing, chaired by the Emir of Daura, Umar Farouk. Amongst other spiritual activities, the recitation if the Qur’an was also done 11 times.
Farouk also emphasized the need to pray to God to guide President Buhari on the task of governing the nation. He maintained that there was no cause for alarm, as the prayers were only to improve the current state of things. The prayers included participants from neighbouring towns like Zango, Baure, Mai’adua and Sandamu.
In the past one week, other groups have joined in the spiritual exercise for the president. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), called for three-day prayers beginning, last Wednesday, for Buhari’s quick recovery and return home.
In a statement issued on Monday, NANS President, Chinonso Obasi, said: “As leaders of tomorrow and champions of a better Nigeria, we should not be left out in the national call for prayers for the President, especially now that his presence is needed for the country to navigate its way out of economic recession and political despair.”
With March 7 making it 47 days since Mr. President left on vacation, Obasi said the prayers of 40 million Nigerian students would bring quick recovery and rejuvenation to the president and encouraged all students in tertiary institutions to join in the spiritual exercise.
The prayers were not limited to the country, as in far away Jerusalem, Israel, Nigerians on pilgrimage gathered to seek God’s intervention on the president’s health. A statement by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), on Tuesday, said Nigerians prayed for the restoration and perfection of President Buhari ‘s health and acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Mount Zion, Jerusalem during a session themed - ‘Building A Covenant Nation.’
After returning early in the morning yesterday, President Buhari, after reaching Abuja, said he was deeply grateful to all Nigerians, Muslims and Christians alike who had prayed and continued to pray for his good health, affirming that “This is a testimony that in spite of the hardship being experienced, Nigerians support the government in its efforts to tackle our country’s challenges.”