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Reflections on Ramadan 6: Keeping the Spirit Alive

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By Babatunde Jose

What have we gained from Ramadan? Have we been spiritually rejuvenated? Has it been morally fulfilling? Have we been able to shed many of our iniquitous baggage? Have we relinquished the sins of fornication, covetousness, and a life of deceit? Have we been able to move nearer God in an atmosphere of God-consciousness? Have we been doing the needful in our homes and to our fellow man? Have we given the orphan his due? Have we entrenched Justice, Fairness and in our daily living? What of compassion and empathy? Do we feel the pains of our fellowmen, our subjects and followers? Have we taken steps to right the wrongs we wroth on the people around us? Have we been fair to our wives, children, relations and neighbors? Are we satisfied with our new lease of spiritual awakening? Must all the gains of Ramadan end today? Are we returning to our old ways of cheating, backbiting, slander and wickedness? Today is therefore, a day of decision. Are we going to consolidate on the gains of Ramadan or descend back into the abyss of a sinful life? The choice is ours. Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem.

Ramadan has rightly been described as a school of Iman and a stop to recharge our spiritual batteries. Must we allow that battery to die by going back to the old ways? The choice is ours.

Unfortunately, the fall and descent into a life of sin and iniquity starts a few days after Ramadan; when we say ‘fasting is finished, the nightly prayers are over; the group gatherings to break the fast have vanished. We can eat, drink, and be merry again when we like.’ And that special feeling of God consciousness gradually fades away. The spiritual high evaporates, and all we are left with are the bad habits we tried to shed during Ramadan which mysteriously rear their ugly heads once it is over.

Ramadan is supposed to increase your faith and God-consciousness:

“Believers! Fasting has been prescribed for you-as it was prescribed for those before you-so that you may be conscious of God.” (Quran 2:183).

The lessons learned and spiritual benefits gained during that month are intended to carry over for the rest of the year until next Ramadan.

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions [while fasting], God is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.”

Ramadan is a month of training for us so that we may become doers of good and refrain from evil throughout the year. Each and every year this blessed month helps to train us to become better Muslims. But now that Ramadan is over are we going to continue doing the good we acquired from it or are we going to go back to the way we were before it started? That is the question.

Many of us did not say our prayers before Ramadan but during the blessed month we found it easier to pray. We cannot continue our lives without praying; otherwise we are not fulfilling the purpose of our lives.

Allah says: “I have created the jinn and humankind only for My worship” (Quran; 51:56)

We will not be successful in this life or the next without prayer. The Prophet (SAW) said, The first thing that a person will be questioned about is his prayers.” Missing prayers intentionally is so serious that it is tantamount to disbelief: The Prophet (SAW) said: “What lies between a man and disbelief is the abandonment of prayer.” (Muslim). Unfortunately, there will be many Muslims in Hell who did not say their prayers.

Many of us left the Quran on the top shelf throughout the year but when Ramadan came we picked up the Quran and blew off the dust and began to recite it again. By returning the Quran to the bookshelf, we will be missing out on receiving intercession from the Quran on the Day of Judgment: The Prophet (SAW) says: “Recite the Holy Quran as much as you can for It will come as an intercessor for its reciter on the Day of Judgment” (Muslim)

Allah the Most High said,

“Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of the night, and (the recital of) the Quran at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Quran at dawn is ever witnessed. And some part of the night awake for its recital, as voluntary worship for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised estate.” (Quran 17: 78-79)

During the blessed days and nights of Ramadan we were given the ability to repent and ask Allah for his mercy and forgiveness and to thank him for his infinite favors upon us. But now that Ramadan is over we must not stop repenting to Allah for our sins and we must continue to be thankful to Allah for his infinite favors upon us.

Truly Allah loves those who turn [to Him in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves in purity. (Quran 2:222)

Our Lord! (they say), Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own Presence; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure (Quran 3:8)

Eid Mubarak and Jumuah Mufeedah!

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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