Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has cautioned the intending pilgrims to Mecca and Medina from the state not to engage in any unholy acts capable of tarnishing the image of the state and the country.
Abiodun gave the warning on Friday while inaugurating the Ad-hoc Committee of the Ogun State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, held at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
He noted that pilgrims from the state had no criminal records in the Holy Land, hence the need for them to sustain the records.
“You should also remember that you are ambassadors of Ogun State and Nigeria. You should therefore desist from all illegal and immoral acts that could tarnish the image of our dear state and our country.
“We are proud to say that we do not have records of pilgrims of Ogun State in conflict with the laws of the Holy Land. I charge you to sustain this enviable record. Obey the laws of the land. Do not take into the land anything they do not wish to be taken into their land; and when you get there, do not do anything they do not wish to be done in their land.
“My dear intending Alhajis and Alhajas, as you proceed on this Year Hajj exercise, I want you to know that you are carrying the flag of Islam and you are also ambassadors of your family, Ogun State and Nigeria. You will have first-hand experience of the spiritual might of Almighty Allah, it is also an opportunity to offer prayers at the holy sites. Pray for yourselves, pray for your family, pray for Ogun State and pray for Nigeria”, the governor advised.
Abiodun explained that the committee members were carefully selected from a pool of equally dedicated and spiritually upright Muslims, hence the need for them to commence work in earnest to have an improved Hajj operation this year.
He further admonished members to realize that they are not performing a duty to people, but to God, the Creator.
“You must build a working team with the Civil Servants in the Board so that pilgrims from Ogun State will have an enjoyable and spiritually-uplifting Hajj exercise”, he counselled.
The governor who described Hajj as a once in a life time opportunity in the life of a Muslim, said it was expected that it must be done with all seriousness and in observance of all the tenets of the religious exercise just as same was expected of the organisers of the Hajj and the leaders of the pilgrims to the Holy Lands of Mecca and Medina.
He further pointed out that the inauguration of the Committee to handle the 2022 Hajj exercise for the state pilgrims was a demonstration of the seriousness that his administration attached to Hajj operation and its import on Muslim faithful in the state, just as it was also part of government commitment to the fulfillment of our “Building our Future Together” agenda.
He said it was important for the people to have the fear of God in their minds, saying such would make the people readily and commitedly perform their civic responsibilities and make positive contributions voluntarily.
The performance of Hajj, the governor posited, “has remained a veritable avenue to reinforce the confidence of the people in their capability to accomplish and brings a unique spiritual fulfillment while on the economic plane, it affords the people an opportunity to see the greatness and economic viability that their cooperation and support to their government could bring to our dear state”.
He charged them to remain committed for the purpose of spiritual development for which they have gone to the Holy Land, praying Allah to accede to all their prayers.
Responding, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Alhaji Kehinde Lawal, appreciated the governor for the confidence reposed in the members, assuring they would not disappoint the government and people of the state as they would put in their best to achieve their goal.
The Amir Hajj, Prof. Kamal Balogun, in his remarks, noted that it was the first time an Amir was chosen by government without political consideration, assuring that the Committee would live up to the expectations of the government and people of the state.