As part of its efforts towards promoting religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, the Bayelsa State Government, at the weekend, hosted the Muslim community in the state to a lavish banquet to mark this year’s Eid-El Maulud celebration.
Speaking at the ceremony held in Government House, Yenagoa, the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that the Eid-El- Maulud, which is the birthday of Prophet Muhammed, is being celebrated by Muslims all over the world because of the sacrificial and exemplary services he rendered to humanity and Allah.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor, Mr Doubara Atasi, said Senator Ewhrudjakpo practically demonstrated servant-leadership by personally serving dinner to more than a hundred muslims at the event.
The statement further quoted Senator Ewhrudjakpo as emphasizing the need for all Muslim faithful to imbibe the redeeming virtues of Prophet Muhammed to live impactful lives for which they would be remembered even after they had gone to be with Allah.
He thanked the Muslim Ummah for their prayers and continued support for the policies and programmes of the Prosperity Administration in Bayelsa.
The Deputy Governor, however, urged them not to relent but rather show more love and patriotism by praying and contributing in whichever way possible to the peace and development of the state and nation.
According to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, only untainted love could close the yawning gap of disunity created by primordial interests and conflicts in the country.
The Bayelsa number-two-man also seized the opportunity to call on both Christians and Muslims to talk to their children and wards not to allow themselves to be used by self-seeking politicians for violence in the forthcoming general elections in the country.
His words: “We believe the most important day in a person’s life is the day he is born. If Allah’s prophet Muhammed had not been born on this day, then we wouldn’t be sitting here to celebrate.
“Prophet Muhammad made impact. Therefore, what is important is whether or not we are making impact in life.
“I want to encourage us today, as we continue to mark his birth, let us make effort to get close to what he was. It goes to all of us as Christians as well.
“Let us remind ourselves at this moment of celebration that we need to show love, so that the gap that has been created by conflict and hatred can be closed.
“Love doesn’t hate nor discriminate; love doesn’t know you are Yoruba, Nupe, Ikwerre, Ijaw, Hausa, Igbo or Fulani. It does not even know what is religion. So let us not discriminate on the basis of tribe, ethnicity or religion.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Matters, Reverend Godspower Asingba, thanked the State Government for organizing the dinner, and congratulated the Muslim Ummah on the Eid-El Maulud celebration in the state.
Similarly, the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Yakubu Otobo, expressed their appreciation to the Governor Douye Diri-led Administration for always giving the Muslim community sense of belonging.
He pledged the continued support of the Muslim Ummah to the policies and programmes of the administration, and to continue offering prayers for the peace, stability and development of the state.