The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III says Nigeria must emulate Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin by ignoring their differences and embrace harmonious relationship.
The Eminence, in his continued his advocacy on peaceful coexistence, made the call on Thursday when he paid a courtesy visit to Justice Babalakin, the pioneer President of the Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria (MUSWEN) at his hometown in Gbongan, Osun State.
The visit was part of the activities to mark the 10th years anniversary of the regional body, MUSWEN, an arm of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
Sultan Abubakar, who is also the President of the NSCIA said as a nation, all citizens bear a uniform title – Nigerians.
“We are all one, therefore, there is the need for us to live together as one; we need to stay together and work for the sake of humanity,” the Sultan said.
He lauded the 93 years old retired Justice of the Supreme Court, whom he said, has contributed his own quota to the nation.
“We give thanks to Almighty Allah for making today a reality. This visit has been in pipeline for so long but man proposes God disposes of.
“Justice Babalakin has paid his due and he has contributed his own quota to the development of Islam and Nigeria at large.
“Justice Babalakin is a true religious leader and the pioneer president of MUSWEN.
“We are in the Southwestern part of the country to celebrate ten years anniversary of MUSWEN and deemed it necessary to pay Justice Babalakin a visit as the pioneer president.”
The Sultan prayed God to give Justice Babalakin sound health.
Responding, Babalakin expressed warm appreciation to the Sultan for the support he gave to him during his tenure as the MUSWEN President.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome you to my humble abode in Gbongan, Osun State of Nigeria. I regard it a great privilege that you considered me worthy of a private visit.
“I pray fervently that the Almighty Allah will continue to guide you aright in the discharge of your onerous responsibilities.
“I want to specifically thank you for the great efforts you have made in uniting the Muslim Community in the whole of Nigeria.
“Your leadership in this area has been remarkable and must be appreciated,” he said.
Justice Babalakin also commended the Sultan for resolving the irregular celebration of Eids.
“From the time in memorial, we have been celebrating these festivals on different dates but since you came to the throne, we have been celebrating these events on the same day.
“It is worthy of note that the issue had divided the Ummah for a long time, but your spirited effort has enhanced the unity amongst the Muslim Community.
The elder statesman used the occasion to pass his legacies and guiding philosophies of life to the younger generation.
“Youth is a blunder; Manhood is a struggle, old age is regret. Beauty fades, opportunity vanishes and riches put wings to themselves and fly away.
The only quality of man that endures is his Character.
“I urge all men both great and small to allow these few words as a guide to their actions. I thank everybody that has found time to come and receive your eminence at my residence.”
Justice Babalakin prayed that Almighty Allah continues to bless and prosper the Sultan to greater heights, “The Lord will reward you abundantly, and internal peace shall be your portion in this world and hereafter”, he said.
The Sultan is billed to be the Guest of Honour at the grand finale of the 10th anniversary of MUSWEN holding in Ibadan on Sunday, Nov. 18.
Others eminent personalities at the occasion included the host monarch, the Olufi of Gbongan, Dr Adetoyese Oyeniyi, MUSWEN President, Dr Sakariyau Babalola, MUSWEN Secretary, Prof. Dawud Noibi and former Secretary of NSCIA, the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede among others.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo