2019 polls and prayers from Hajj

By Muhammad Ajah
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For the conscious minds amongst Nigerians, for those who love Nigeria and strongly believe in its existence and unity, prayers are required to achieve all these especially in this trying time for the country. Prayers can move mountains. Sincere prayers by patriots have been keeping us together. Wishing the best for Nigeria should be practically displayed by Nigerians. And although God answers prayers everywhere, it is a fact that God prefers places over places, as well as even some times over others. No one can compare the assurances of quick response for prayers to God in holy places.

It is unarguable, at least according to the Islamic faith, that the best places for God’s maximum Presence and rewards are three: the Haram of Makkah, the Haram of Madinah and the Mosque of Aqsa’ in Jerusalem. Hajj has started. Muslims now have access to the two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madinah for the greatest Islamic obligation. Hurray to lovers of Nigeria’s progress! Hurray to lovers of President Muhammadu Buhari! And hurray to lovers of Nigeria’s democracy!

This is also an opportunity to appeal to the federal government of Nigeria to take up with the Saudi Arabian government the challenges faced by the intending Nigerian pilgrims in the biometric data capturing which is going to definitely deny thousands of Muslims of Nigeria the 2018 Hajj if urgent measure is not taken. The process which was started very late has been reported to be very slow, with inadequate capturing centers and machines. With the recent development, the options dangling before the two governments are to postpone the process till next year’s Hajj or extend the closing date till the end of the month of Dhil-Qa’dah. These can be wise alternatives because necessity allows for adjustment in every human endeavour that is not divinely interpolated.

For Nigeria, 2018 Hajj exercise could be an opportunity that the 2019 general elections are coming few months after. This can be a very great chance for Nigerians, especially the Muslims to maximize the Hajj period to seek God’s intervention for the peaceful conduct of the elections and peaceful transition, like many Christian leaders: pastors, Rev. Fathers, Bishops and men of God wish for the country. The best from amongst the citizens should be elected to preside over Nigeria and states. There should be no bloodletting. There should be no money politics.

To me, instead of buying votes and distributing money to the electorates, politicians, including lovers of President Buhari, should sponsor a lot of Muslim faithful to Makkah as a national service to ensure the protection and preservation of our nation. Nigeria’s unity is cannot be compromised. I think, although Hajj registration is coming to an end, there are still ample chances for a lot of Muslims to be sponsored for the holy journey.

Apart from the general elections, there are very serious problems facing Nigeria that demand from Nigerians to go and cast them out. Every Nigerian is a casualty in the wanton killings across the country in whatever name, being it communal, religious or tribal. The political tension in the country is heightening as the elections draw nearer. The mistrust amongst Nigerians is a serious concern. The hate speeches being delivered to religious followers especially in Churches and in social media are terrible. The level of injustice, iniquity and corruption in the country is still unbelievable. The masses are suffering; there is wickedness and inhumanity being staged against the less privileged. The minority have no say in Nigeria. And the politicians are at war against Nigeria.

God has been for Nigeria, indeed. God loves Nigeria. Let Nigerians have trust in God. Let’s continue to praise Him for His favours on our dear country. He hears; He sees; He knows; He wills; and He gives and takes. No human effort can change His Ordination. All human efforts are perfectly geared towards His Will. Man can claim to be smart, wise and intelligent. Man can claim to be lucky. But all any human attains are God’s preordination. But human beings cannot be the same. Some are good; some are mildly bad; some are the devil amongst the human; some tall, short, deformed, physically challenged, white, red, black. All other qualities attributable to mankind! Yet, the heart is a sealed bag and only the bearer knows the contents. God created the hearts of men. He knows every man, his heart desires, his strength and his weaknesses in all the dimensions He created each.

As mentioned, a great event is expected to take place in Nigeria in 2019, less than seven months away. Nigerians, and by extension people of the world, look at the 2019 general elections in Nigeria with great expectations and yet mixed feelings. There have been prophecies of faith and prophecies of doom over the polls. Some Nigerians are optimistic that it will come and pass like before, this time with less tension. Some are pessimistic that it may come with a lot of challenges. Like some ardent pessimists predicted that the immediate past President Goodluck would have been the last to preside over a country called Nigeria, such predictors are at it again. However, no elections had been carried out in Nigeria without tension and some kind of fear and intimidation. With prayers, the 2019 general elections can be different.

That is why very sincere special prayers are required from all the citizens; the Imams and Church leaders should lead this national project. Imams who believe in Nigeria should syndicate this project amongst the Muslim faithful. Pastors who believe in Nigeria should do same. Traditionalists who believe in Nigeria can do more by preaching good neighbourliness amongst their faithful. This is the time to push harder for good governance. Though, the incumbent administration is doing its best, God’s divine intercession is needed to overcome the evil plotters against Nigeria.

It is very sad that evil doers have overtaken worship places in many places in the country, thus the doubt over God’s response even to sincere prayers in the worship houses. It is even hard to differentiate the good and bad worshippers because majority have soiled their hands and deeply engaged in sins which are the wall that blocks God’s favours, not the acclaimed favours from the devil by some acclaimed powerful and influential. It is like God is far from the heavens surrounding Nigeria. But we must praise and adore Him for His Grace.

Everybody is calling for prayers for Nigeria. From Buhari to Osinbajo, Saraki to Dogara, members of the National Assembly, the governors of states of the federation, traditional, religious and business leaders. All are interested in prayers for this country. This is, therefore, the time to show real concern and love. Muslim governors, senators and Reps members can sponsor Muslims and community leaders to Hajj for this purpose; the same should be expected from their Christian counterparts to Jerusalem.

Buhari, on July 21 2018 in Abuja, said goodbye to Nigerian pilgrims on 2018 Hajj with the assurance of government’s support for their comfort and security from departure until they return to Nigeria after the holy trip. He advised the pilgrims to “fervently pray for Nigeria to overcome its security, socio-economic and political challenges”.

Represented by the FCT Minister and pioneer Chairman of NAHCON, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, he was optimistic of the success of the Hajj even while expecting that the pilgrims would be good ambassadors of Nigeria over there. Same massages of hope for Nigeria’s future and need for prayers were re-echoed by the Chairman House Committee on Nigeria-Saudi Inter-Parliamentary Relations, Dr. Abdullahi Silame and the Executive Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad.

The leaderships of the two apex governmental agencies, NAHCON and its counterpart the Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), have been on the same page advocating for serious prayers for Buhari and Nigeria. Chairman of NAHCON makes the call in every occasion to the extent that special prayer sessions are held by staff of the commission for those purposes at specific times. The Executive Secretary of NCPC, Tor Uja has also been a prayer warrior on same matters, especially when the two agencies meet for national mutual assignment and understanding.

Recall the quote by Alfred Tennyson that: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”, and my article on: “The prayers that healed President Buhari.” Mount Arafah with all the planes within its precinct is a place where prayers are answered. The whole day is spent by the pilgrims in pure and total worship: praying, supplicating, seeking for Allah’s forgiveness, seeking for Allah’s mercy and blessings and refining one’s thought to live a good life afterwards. This is between sunrise and sunset of the same day. Last year, as always, NAHCON organized a prayer session that was conducted in Arabic by Professor Ibrahim Ahmad Makari, in English by Dr. Mansour Ibrahim, in Hausa by Sheikh Musa Najmuddeen, in Yoruba by Professor Khalil Kayoyo and in Igbo by Dr. Aminu Igwegbe. Other languages included Fulfulde, Bini, Tiv and Kanuri, with many Nigerian senior citizens in attendance. Such prayers are answered. God knows best.

Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. E-mail [email protected]