For the first time, President Muhammadu Buhari celebrated eid-el-kabir outside Daura, his country home, no thanks to COVID-19.
Since he assumed the mantle of leadership in 2015, he has consistently celebrated the eid-el-kabir in the ancient town.
From his residence on Sallah Day, residents will troop out to follow him to the eid ground.
The same thing is repeated after the prayers. At the eid ground, the president will slaughter his ram.
Aside from providing the opportunity to reconnect with relatives, the president hosts dignitaries from across the country and even beyond.
Last year, he hosted Guinean President, Alpha Conde.
But this year, Buhari celebrated Sallah in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The president observed the eid el-kabir prayers at home with his family.
Compliance to protocol
President Buhari said the action was taken in order to adhere to the advisories from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
The two units (rakaat) of prayers was led by the Chief Imam of the State House Mosque, Abdul-Wahid Sulaiman.
Two big rams were slaughtered after the prayers in keeping with the tradition of the festivities.
Subsequently, the president took pictures with members of his family.
Last Wednesday, a presidential aide, Garba Shehu, had announced in a statement issued that President Buhari would again not be receiving Sallah homages by religious, community, party and government leaders in order to stop the spread of the COVID-19 infectious disease.
Shehu said President Buhari would observe the eid el-kabir prayers with his family at home, just as he did during the eid el-fitr a little over two months ago, in line with advice from NSCIA and PTF.
The president renewed the protocols as issued by the PTF that large gatherings, as much as possible, should be discouraged.
We missed our president — Daura Emir
Meanwhile, the Emir of Daura, Umar Faruk, on Friday said Daura Emirate missed its respected son – President Buhari, at this year’s eid celebration due to COVID-19.
Faruk, who was addressing his people during this year’s eid celebration, said Buhari has never missed coming home to celebrate Sallah, especially Eid-el-Kabir.
According to him, “Though we miss his physical presence, the president is with us in our hearts and we wish him the best and prayers to continue to steer the country to greater heights.”
Daily Trust Saturdayreports that President Buhari has never missed eid el-kabir celebration at his home town, even when he was a military officer.
Our reporter gathered that the president would rather stay for a day and depart the following day instead of missing the celebration.
The president’s country home during Sallah used to be busy with local and international guests. But this year, it was empty with only few security guards at their duty posts.
This year’s celebration held at the Kofar Arewa eid ground where the emir and the president used to observe prayers in the ancient town was attended by many Muslim faithful.
Unlike in the past where the emir alongside his district heads and other traditional title holders rode on horses back to the mosque, this year, the emir arrived in a car and returned to his palace in the same vehicle as all festivities had been suspended due to coronavirus pandemic.
The traditional durbar that draws spectators from across the globe was missing as people walked back home to continue with their low-key celebration.
Emir of Daura said this period required intensified prayers for peaceful coexistence across the country and commended the government’s efforts towards restoring peace in crisis-ridden places.
He called on wealthy individuals to continue to assist the less privileged ones in society, given the economic situation of the country.
The emir also assured his people of his continuous readiness to lead with justice and fairness.
Pray for the nation
The Dan Sanwai Daura and Chief Imam, Safiyanu Yusuf, in his sermon, called on people to live their lives as taught by Prophet Muhammad (SAW), especially by fearing God in their daily activities.
Yusuf prayed to Allah to see the country through the pandemic successfully.
Chairman of Daura Emirate Development Association (DEDA), Aliyu Daura, who spoke on President Buhari’s absence, said “as a father to us, we usually feel elated whenever he comes home for Sallah, but his absence this year will be greatly felt.
“We can only keep praying for his well being and that of the nation.”
Another resident, Bishir Mammam, said the absence of the president and the durbar had made the Sallah celebration in the town to be at its lowest ebb.
“Whenever he is in town, we get to see VIPs, ministers, visiting Heads of States and so on. Special durbars organised for them add glamour to the Sallah festivities, but the COVID-19 has altered everything,” Mamman said.