By Suleiman Yakubu 

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The Eid el-Fitr celebration, June 15, which marks the end of Ramadan fasting, witnessed a large turnout of Muslims rejoicing and felicitating with fellow Muslims for successful completion of another  annual holy month of fast. However, for many Nigerian Muslims, this year’s Eid el-Fitr festival was ‘low keyed’; as the economy still bites very hard and people still finds it difficult to make ends meet. Even the government’s customary two days public holidays, Friday and Monday, did little to cheer them up due to the present erosion of their purchasing power.

Needless to say, but things ought not to be this way if year in year out we truly imbibe the lessons of Ramadan.  Therefore, one can only hope that this air of piety extends beyond the period of celebration; because there seem to be little or no sign that our religiosity has any impact on our public life. Or how else does one explains the strong stench of corruption, injustice, criminality, and insincerity that pervades our land. Without doubt, if we all practice our faiths according to the dictates of the holy books, our nation would be a much better place to live in.

For instance, if only the ruling class have made little more sacrifices over the years, this country would have been truly great in every ramification. In fact, even if they didn’t make any sacrifice for the good of their fatherland, but were at least more honest in the execution of the sacred duties that they swore to undertake; there is no way that we would find ourselves in this sorry state. I sometimes wonder if they know that we are but mere vicegerents of God on earth, and therefore, shall give account of our stewardship here on earth to Him.

The self-serving nature of most Nigerians is the bane of our nation, for nothing has done greater damage to the Nigerian economy than wastages. For instance, it is on record that the cost of constructing roads in Nigeria is higher than anywhere else in the world; yet, our roads are among the worst in the world. The story of Nigeria is full of instances in which we expended so much for so little; usually because of the misappropriation of public funds by public officials who are supposed to manage them.

It is sad to note that at this period, some traders inflate their prices unnecessarily just to exploit the fact that such commodities are in high demand; forgetting that their action could stop someone from carrying out crucial religious obligations. It is clear that the love for money has taken over the fear of God in Nigeria.     

Eid el-Fitr is also another period to rededicate oneself to those essential lessons of the occasion. Although we have come to the end of the month-long fasting, its lessons should remain with us. As we have observed Ramadan, the period of self-emptying, prayers, and abstinence from all forms of worldly comforts  pleasures; it should enhance our spiritual growth and lead to greater acts of charity and brotherly love.

As Muslims therefore mark the end of another Ramadan, it is desirable that the outcome will be of great importance to the nation. As individuals, there is need to reach out to the less privileged and the needy especially now that millions of Nigerians are living from hand to mouth. As a people, if we can think more of others as ourselves, if we can start thinking of our collective goals than parochial needs, we will make more progress.

Our leaders can also take a thing or two from the lessons of Ramadan. If they can curtail their selfish and materialistic desires and give more attention to people oriented programs,  the country will certainly become a much better place for everyone. Our leaders will therefore do well to imbibe the lessons of Ramadan.

To all my Muslim friends, Eid Fitr! May Allah reward your sacrifices, grant you peace, and long life.