The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has charged the state delegation to the 2023 Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to pray for the country’s leaders and for the nation to overcome its numerous socio-economic challenges.
The State has 432 pilgrims, including 190 females and 242 males, and two officials from the Board who will be visiting the Holy Land for the 2023 pilgrimage.
Addressing the pilgrims ahead of the departure at the Edo Muslims Welfare Board Office, in Benin City, Obaseki said, “Every year since I became governor, I make sure I come here to bid you farewell as you embark on your pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, which is one of the key cardinal points or principles of Islam.”
He continued, “I am the governor of Edo people, both Muslims and Christians. Whichever the religion, I am your governor, as everyone voted for me to become Governor of Edo State.
“I have a divine responsibility to take care of you and I am just fulfilling that responsibility, which is why I don't joke with any issue relating to religion. I have come to realize that over the last six years, the progress recorded is as a result of God's grace and we will always give Him thanks and always make sure we fulfill our part.
“No matter how difficult the economic situation is, we try to provide support and I am glad that it's appreciated. Before I became governor, we didn't have this building or hall to use to bid you farewell, we do not have offices. We have much more to be done as our population keeps increasing. We need to improve the facilities here.”
The governor charged, “This year's Hajj is significant and important for Nigeria as the Country is challenged from all fronts and Nigerians are concerned about the many challenges facing the Nation.
“As you go to Mecca, don't forget to pray for our land and ask God to show us mercy and the way out of these challenges.
“This year’s Hajj is one of patience, sacrifice, supplication, prayers, and charity to help us pull Nigerian and Nigerians back from the brink and turn the hearts of those that have responsibility on Nigeria to understand that it's no longer about them but about the Country.”
In his response, Chairman, Edo Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Sheik Ibrahim Oyarekhua, thanked the governor for his commitment and support for pilgrimage in the State, adding, “Today is a great day in the history of Edo State and under your reign as governor of Edo State for the first time since the creation of Bendel and Edo State, the board is recording 432 pilgrims. The allocation for the State has never gone beyond 300.
“The increment in the numbers is a pointer to the fact that you have always assisted the board and the National Hajj Commission took note of this.”