The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged Muslim youth to take advantage of all the training programmes being rolled out by the government to equip themselves with the skills necessary for making a meaningful contribution to national development.
Addressing fellow Muslims at the Black Star Square in Accra yesterday after this year’s Eid ul-Adha prayers, Dr Bawumia also impressed upon Muslims to seriously pay attention to the education of Muslim girls by taking advantage of the government’s Free Senior High School (SHS) policy so that within a generation, the Muslim community can wipe out poverty, ignorance and disease.
“I all calling on the Muslim youth to take advantage of all the training programmes that are being rolled out by the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development to equip themselves with the skills necessary for making a meaningful contribution to national development.
“Let us also take advantage of the Free SHS programme to make sure that within a generation, we can wipe out ignorance, poverty and disease from our Zongo communities,” the Vice-President emphasised.
Eid ul-Adha prayers
This year’s Eid uI-Adha prayers, which started at exactly 9a.m., attracted a large number of Muslim worshippers, including the Minister of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, and the Minister of Business Development, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal.
Others included Muslim chiefs and clerics from across the various Zongo and Muslim communities within the nation’s capital, all of whom converged on the Black Star Square to offer prayers and sacrifice to God.
The occasion was also used to observe and re-enact the obedience by Prophet Abraham to obey God’s command to sacrifice his only son, Ismail, centuries ago. Symbolically, a ram was sacrificed after the prayers.
The congregation was led in prayers by the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, who later offered special prayers for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the nation.
Eid ul-Adha is a day for Muslims to reaffirm their commitment to worship God and also to emulate the unwavering display of obedience to God by Abraham centuries ago when he heeded God’s command without hesitation to sacrifice his only son.
While admonishing Muslims in the country to take advantage of the government’s programmes, the Vice-President also announced plans by the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to build a medical university in the northern part of Ghana as well as 42 secondary schools.
“On my return from Cuba recently, I discussed with the Minister for Inner Cities and Zongo Development about a programme that will allow us to seek medical training in Cuba for at least 40 Zongos, inner cities and deprived community youth per year starting next year.
“With this arrangement, we can be assured that at least with the next decade, 400 of our medical doctors brigade in Ghana will come from Zongo, inner cities and deprived communities and so when the modalities and discussions are complete, we will wish that the majority of the beneficiaries chosen in this programme will be women.
What we are saying is that at least 50 per cent should be women and 50 per cent men,” Dr Bawumia added.
Touching on the hitch-free organisation of this year’s Hajj, Dr Bawumia thanked the board and all who contributed to the successful organisation of the pilgrimage and said this year’s Hajj was so well organised to the extent that many people did not notice the pilgrims had left.
The Vice-President further asked for prayers and God’s guidance for the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, and Muslims in general, stressing that “the nation and indeed the whole world bears testimony to the fact that the Chief Imam has been a good shepherd to the Muslim flock in Ghana.”
“Today, in addition to all the things Ghana is famous for, we have also become the envy of the world because of the religious tolerance that we exhibit towards each other and a lot of it has to do with the inclusive leadership the Chief Imam continues to exhibit,” he added.
Peace and unity
The Vice-President also called for continued display of togetherness and unity among Muslims as well as the peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims, especially within Zongo communities, and said without that remarkable display of peace and unity in Zongo communities and in the entire country, the government’s Zongo development agenda would be difficult to achieve.
He, therefore, urged the citizens to remain vigilant in their communities and neighbourhoods and watch out for provocateurs who would want to breach the peace in order to undo all the successes that had been chalked up in the developmental journey so far.
National Chief Imam
In a speech read on his behalf by the Chairman of the Eid ul-Adha, Planning Committee, Alhaji Alhassan Sulley, the National Chief Imam called on all, particularly the youth of the country, to be vigilant as the election year approached.
That, he said, was to ward off unpatriotic, selfish and misguided politicians who would want to infiltrate and use the youth to cause violence during political campaigns.
He described Eid ul-Adha as the day to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Abraham to do God’s will to sacrifice his son, indicating that the day also brought to the end the Islamic calendar which corresponds with the historic migration of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina.