By Ebenezer Ishola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folasade Jaji, members of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), political and religious leaders on Wednesday held a thanksgiving service and special prayers in different parts of Lagos to celebrate the 71st birthday of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The thanksgiving service and special prayers were held simultaneously at Chapel of Christ the Light and Secretariat Community Central Mosque, Alausa, Ikeja as well as in the Central Mosques of the five divisions in the State – Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos and Epe.
During the special birthday thanksgiving and special prayers, Governor Sanwo-Olu and members of his cabinet, GAC members, political and religious leaders showered encomiums on the President-elect for his leadership, mentorship and passion for Lagos and Nigeria. Islamic and Christian clerics also prayed for the celebrant, Asiwaju Tinubu; Peace, Progress, Unity and New Nigeria. Prayers were also held for a successful Inauguration Day (May 29) and for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
Speaking at the Special Prayers held at Secretariat Community Central Mosque, Alausa, Governor Sanwo-Olu, reiterated calls for Nigerians to be steadfast in their prayers for the President-elect to succeed as the president of the country.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented at the event by Dr. Hamzat stated that no leader has the intention to fail but sometimes get overwhelmed by challenges and unexpected issues upon assumption of office.
He, therefore, seeks the continuous prayers of Nigerians that the President-elect be surrounded by good people as advisers and aides who have the interest of the country and the citizens at heart.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that Tinubu has a lot of good plans for Nigerians and will surely perform well in office. He, however, solicited the support and understanding of Nigerians as Asiwaju Tinubu leads the country to greater heights.
“Asiwaju himself is very grateful to Almighty Allah for what He has done for him, my prayer for him is for Allah to be with him, to guide him to achieve those things he desires for this country because he has a lot of plans. I just pray that all those plans will materialize to impact people and this country positively,” he said.
The Governor described Asiwaju as a very bold and determined man who has persevered a lot. “He doesn’t run away from challenges. So he is a man that understands what he needs for a nation to be developed and I just pray that he will be able to do all those things in his mind for development,” he said.
Speaking at the Thanksgiving Service held at the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was also represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, praised God for Tinubu’s life, and prayed that the “visionary leader would be strengthened to bring about development and programmes that would uplift the people.”
Ayinde, who read the first lesson from Psalm 111: 1-10, said the birthday Thanksgiving Service is not just to express gratitude to God on Asiwaju Tinubu’s birthday, but also to appreciate Him for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate’s victory in the last elections.
He prayed that God will give the President-elect His wisdom, guidance and direction for Asiwaju Tinubu as he prepares to take the reins of leadership in Nigeria.
“Today is an auspicious occasion because we are gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of a great man, a visionary, transformative leader. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a pride to us in Lagos and a priceless global icon; an unrelenting fighter for democracy, an inextinguishable guiding light to the nation and an inspiration to me as well as the progressive’s family.
“We give glory to God for answering all the prayers as evidenced in the declaration of the celebrant of today, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President-Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We also beseech the Almighty God, especially in this Lenten season, to strengthen him, grant him good health, wisdom, inspiration and all that he will require to accomplish all the laudable plans, programmes, and policies that will uplift our dear country and all Nigerians to greatness,” he prayed.
Speaking during the Thanksgiving Service, the Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Sunday Makinde, said Asiwaju Tinubu was elected to rebuild Nigeria, raise Nigeria to enviable heights, and re-establish peace and unity in the country.
Makinde in his exhortation during the service described Tinubu’s election as a destiny for a purpose. He, therefore, sought ardent prayers for Tinubu for “divine wisdom, robust good health, victory over his enemies, and for him to finish his terms successfully.”
The Prelate Emeritus also congratulated Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, for their victory in the March 18 gubernatorial poll, saying their re-election was possible because of their hard work and people-oriented programmes.
“I will advise Tinubu to choose his team of ministers, advisers, and ambassadors under divine prayers. He should consult God before man. He should use the best brains and professionals, even from the opposition parties to actualise his dreams of a better Nigeria.
“Tinubu must work on achieving religious tolerance, ethnic and tribal unity. He must ensure that social amenities are in abundance -water, electricity, educational and medical rehabilitation, agricultural revolution and development, and ensure massive job creation to reduce unemployment and brain drain,” Makinde advised the President-elect.
Also speaking, the Chief Imam, Alausa Secretariat Community Central, Imam, Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Gafar, during his lecture stated that the gathering was to give thanks to Allah for permitting Asiwaju to emerge as the President-elect at the concluded presidential election and for preserving his life to witness his 71st birthday which comes up in the Holy Month of Ramadan.
In his remarks, the National Missioner of the Ansar- ud- deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh AbdurRahman Ahmad, charged Nigerians to continually pray for the President-elect that Allah should help him, lead and guide him in the journey.
He added that the people need to be supportive by being constructive, truthful and privately correcting him and not continually praising him.
Sheikh Ahmad also urged them to acknowledge that Asiwaju Tinubu is not a magician knowing that the few months ahead may be tough and therefore, the people need to be tolerant as there will be light at the end of the tunnel.