Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has called on Muslims in the state to extend hands of friendship, he enjoyed, to the incoming administration of the governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Ambode made the call while delivering a Goodwill Message to Muslims during the Iftar/Tafsir and Ramadan special Prayer at the Lagos State House, Alausa, Ikeja.
The governor expressed appreciation and commended Lagos Muslims for their unwavering support to his administration in the last four years.
The support, he said, has contributed significantly to the unprecedented achievements recorded so far in the state.
Ambode also thanked Islamic Ulamas, divisional Imams, including the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos, Sheikh Sulayman Abu Na Allah and other Islamic leaders for their total identification with his administration’s policies, programmes and activities.
Speaking further, the governor said by the prayers and collaborations of Muslims and other well-meaning Lagosians had been achieved by his administration and solid foundation to sustain further growth and development had been laid.
“You welcomed me, a Christian governor, totally; you lift me up and further uplift me.
“Whatever, I was able to achieve, is by the foundation you had laid.
“Please accept and extend same hands of fellowship to the incoming administration, as any achievement in Lagos is for the benefits of all Lagosians,” Ambode said.
He enjoined all Muslims to rededicate themselves to the righteous ways and uphold the key pillar and lessons of Ramadan.
The governor advised all to reflect on their lives and think of how they “can be better persons, how better they can serve their family, community, society and Nation”.
In his welcome address, Dr Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef, the Commissioner of Home Affairs, thanked the governor for his total commitment to Islamic activists, unwaveringly identifying with Islamic religious festivals and his total support for all initiatives in pursuant of peaceful coexistence and religious harmony in Lagos State.
AbdulLateef said that this particular Iftar and Special Ramadan prayer of 2019, was the fourth by Ambode’s administration, organised by the First Family to host Muslims at the Lagos State House to a breakfast meeting every day throughout the month of Ramadan.
“Therefore, with this last one by the administration, we Muslims are celebrating a true friend of Muslims and supporter of Islam’
“We are celebrating a compassionate man, a promoter of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and religious harmony,” the commissioner said.
Speaking on the unprecedented level of peace and religious harmony prevailing in the state, Abdul Lateef said, Lagos had not witnessed any religious crisis, because of the noble initiatives of Governor Ambode.
He listed some of the initiatives to include: engagement of over 700 clerics- Muslims and Christians to jointly nip religious crises in bud; Quarterly Inter-Faith Parley and decentralisation of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), Lagos State Chapter, to the local government levels.
The initiative also included incorporating participatory governance in religious policies, such as Id-El-Fitri Get-together, where the governor feted and celebrated with Muslims at the grassroots during the great Islamic festival.
The governor, at the occasion, received a Letter of Recognition for Excellence for his friendship and generosity to the Muslims in the State, from the Director of Muslims’ Right Concerns (MURIC), Prof. Ishaq Lakin Akintola.
Akintola expressed appreciation of all Muslims to Gov. Ambode’s, as he commended him for his “gentlemanly attitudes” to Muslims and for his novel achievements in infrastructural development of the state.
“You achievements are indelibly and no one can erase it,” Akintola said.
In his comment, the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos, Shaykh Sulayman Abou Na’Allah commended Gov. Ambode for his achievements, hard work and dedication, which he said “are the hallmarks and reasons for his many great successes”.
In his lecture, Dr M.A. Shittu, a lecturer at the Muslim College of Primary Education (MOCPED), said if people, especially the Muslims, “know Qur’an very well and abide by its tenets, there will be peace and tranquillity in the country and there would not be kidnapping and all other vices plaguing the country”.
In another lecture, Imam Shakiru Gafar, Moufazir Lagos Central Mosque, Lagos Island, enjoined Muslim to have unshakable faith in Allah to have His pleasure, and that “fasting is a way of showing unflinching faith in Allah’.
He said Muslim must continue to be just, good, truthful, upright and be pure of mind.
In her own remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs Toyin Awoseyi, appreciated and commended the media practitioners for contributing to the development of the state.
“The press has been playing crucial roles in publicising and promoting the state objectives of sustaining the level of peaceful co-existence and religious harmony,” Awoseyi said.
By our correspondent