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By Onogwu Mohammed Galacticus.
The Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor, Hon Edward Onoja has said tolerance in religious belief and respect for different faiths have been the sources of unity among the people of Kogi State.
Edward Onoja made this known at Okpo, the headquarters of Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State while presenting construction materials, on behalf of his friends from within and outside the state for the reconstruction and completion of the area’s Central Mosque.
The visibly elated Onoja, who stressed that the working document of the present administration captures all the areas of needs of the people of the state, said in time, the present Kogi State government would address the needs of the people in all sectors.
Speaking about the former status of the Mosque, Edward said “I have known this Mosque for a long time in its current state. When I came home last time, I promised myself that this Mosque must be given a facelift. I discussed it with my boss; His Excellency Yahaya Bello and he promised total support for the reconstruction. I have made contact with my friends where I worked before and they also promised to be part of any project I want for my people.
We are all traders in this world; when we die, what we did while on earth will remain for generations to see. In Igala land in particular and Kogi in general, people outside our state are proud of us because of the way we practice our religions. We are very peaceful people because we never allowed religion to divide us and by the grace of God, we shall continue to live like that. The governor has said, he will Commission this Mosque when completed and will be part of Olamaboro Muslim community that will first pray in it”.
Edward said completion of the mosque project would not only provide Muslim faithful with suitable place of worship, but also would add to the architectural beauty of the area, and urged those in charge to complete the project within the 90 days scheduled.
The Chief of staff, who also promised to give those in charge of the project necessary support to ensure that the vision for the project are actualised, called on the people to guide against any act capable of disrupting the peace of the area.
Expressing the age-long neglect of the Mosque; The deputy Imam of Okpo Central Mosque and a community leader, Alh Abdullahi Obera who was full of joy prayed for Edward Onoja and the success of Administration of Yahaya Bello. He said it was God that made them to queue behind Onoja politically today, adding that the world is yet to hear of Onoja’s success story.
Reacting to the development, an obviously excited Suleiman Zekeri described the gesture as one that helps Muslims in the area to practice their faith in a serene atmosphere.
He said the mosque project, when completed, would make meaningful impact on Muslims as well as the entire Okpo community and Olamaboro Local government, and bring about religious harmony in the area.
Mallam Zekeri, who bemoaned the abandonment that the mosque has suffered for more than fifteen years, said the people of the area would never forget the honour done them through the completion of the project by the Governor Bello-led government.
“There is no doubt that this project would go a long way in assisting us (Muslims) because instead of using the makeshift areas of the mosque and praying in it without being completed with necessary fittings, we cannot worship comfortably,” he told Inside Story.
Other Islamic faithful who spoke on the matter were also full of praise for the present administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, especially the Chief of Staff who they described as their worthy son.
The construction of Okpo Central Mosque which was flagged off by a non Muslim in the Person of Edward Onoja and supported by a non Igala in the Person of Gov Yahaya Bello was an eloquent testimony of the fact that Bello’s Administration is living up to its billing as a detribalised and non-religious government whose overall interest is total well-being of the people. The construction of the Mosque is due to be completed within ninety days.
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