Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, on Monday bade the 1,323 state’s contingent to Mecca for this year’s hajj farewell, urging them to pray for the economic revival of the state and the country at large, as well as the spiritual rebirth of the citizens.
The governor gave the advice while congratulating the intending pilgrims during a farewell ceremony organised for the contingent at the Hajj Camp, Olodo, Ibadan.
He implored them to use the opportunity of their visit to the holy land to seek the face of God for positive change for the country’s depressing economy and spiritual rebirth in the land.
“You should use this period to seek the face of your creator for this country, Nigeria and Oyo State in particular. This nation is going through a difficult period in her history as a sovereign nation.
“It is, therefore, the duty of all of us to intercede through prayers and supplications to Allah to give us the positive change we are yearning for and spiritual rejuvenation.
“Use this opportunity to serve the Lord with sincere repentance and seek forgiveness from your past sins, because only God is the forgiver of sins. Please consider yourself as ambassadors of Oyo State and refrain from acts that will not glorify Almighty Allah.”
The governor assured the intending pilgrims that the state government would work with other regulatory authorities to ensure that their journey to and fro Mecca was memorable and hitch-free.
He admonished them to endure during the exercise and stay off sinful acts like drug trafficking, hard drug use, which, he said, could tarnish the image of their families as well as the state and the country.
While praying for the safe return of the adherents, the governor advised them to be patient and cautious while at the holy land to forestall any untoward occurrence.
The governor used the opportunity to thank labour leaders in the state for calling off the seven-week strike embarked upon by the workforce, which crippled government business and caused a lull in commercial activities across the state.
Ajimobi solicited the continued support of citizens of the state for the government programmes, while he expressed optimism that the state would bounce back from its current financial challenges in the next six months.
The Chairman of the state’s Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Taofeek Akewugberu, appreciated the governor for his support for the board towards a smooth hajj exercise.
He saluted the courage and resilience of the governor in the face of the current economic meltdown and his ability to successfully paddle the canoe of the state at this critical period.
Akewugberu disclosed that 400 of the intending pilgrims would be airlifted on Tuesday to the holy land.