Makinde Charges Intending Pilgrims To Be Good Ambassadors

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Wednesday charged the 1,007 intending pilgrims performing 2024 Hajji to be good ambassadors by displaying good behaviours, following laid down rules and avoiding any act capable of tanishing the image of the state and the country.

He charged them to focus on the main purpose of their travel to the Holy Land, spend their money wisely and look out for one another.

The governor, who stated this during the farewell ceremony for the Oyo State Hajj 2024 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, held at the Exhibition Ground of the Broadcasting Service of Oyo State, Orita Basorun, Ibadan, also tasked the intending pilgrims to make supplications to Allah for the government, the state and Nigeria.

He congratulated the intending pilgrims for being able to embark on the Hajj pilgrimage, saying his government supported the Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing) under the chairmanship of Sheik Wahab Hashim Ateere, to plan a seamless Hajj 2024.

He also tasked the state’s Hajj officials not to compromise the welfare of the pilgrims, admonishing them to ensure the safety of all pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

He added that since his assumption of office in 2019, his administration has been doing everything possible to ensure religious fairness and that he will continue to make sure every religion in the state gets its due.

He said: “I am happy to be here this afternoon. We are supposed to be at the Hajj Camp at Olodo. The only reason we are here today is because we had to demolish the bridge that links Olodo but by the end of this week, one side will be open for vehicular movement.

“Before the 2025 Hajj, the two sides would have been opened and the road from Iwo Road to Olodo would have been completed. So, this is a make-shift arrangement. That of next year will be better.

“Also, the first time I went to Olodo, I said our pilgrims will be airlifted from the Ibadan Airport before I leave the seat of power. Yes, we have been at it and it’s been five years now. They have agreed to airlift from Ibadan but they said they would have the first stop over at Lagos for processing of your documents, which negates my vision.

“My vision is for you to do all the processing here; airlift here and touch down in Saudi Arabia. We have done some of the things they requested us to do at the airport. But the only thing left is for us to extend our runway by another 600 metres, install Instrument landing System (ILS) and add another terminal. And the target is, within the next 18 months, these will be done.

“I want to use this opportunity to tell the officials involved in this Hajj mission that the welfare of our people cannot be compromised. So, you must look after every pilgrim from Oyo State.”

The governor bade the intending pilgrims’ farewell and prayed for their safe return from the Holy Land.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, Oyo State Pilgrims Welfare Board (Muslim Wing), Sheikh Atere, appreciated Governor Makinde for his unflinching support for the board towards a smooth 2024 Hajj exercise.

He explained that as part of the governor’s support, the state has got the visas for all 1,007 intending pilgrims, who will all be airlifted in two batches and without any delay.

He added that the board has also been able to secure befitting accommodations for all the intending pilgrims and that their hotels, floors and room numbers are already known to them and imprinted on their identity cards.

Atere said, “the governor always approves our demands promptly without hesitation and often asks for what more we need.

“As a result of the governor’s support, we have secured accommodation and local meals have been included in the pilgrims’ meals. All our intending pilgrims have been granted Hajj visas without exceptions since a week ago and all our yellow cards are already in Oyo State.”

In his lecture, the Chief Imam of Ogbomosoland, Sheikh (Dr.) Teilat Ayilara, enjoined the pilgrims to be devoted during the Hajj exercise.

In their separate goodwill messages, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu; Chief Bayo Oyero; Chief Nureni Akanbi and Professor K.K. Olosho, charged all the pilgrims to pray for the success of Governor Makinde’s administration.

The event had in attendance a wife of former Oyo State governor, Alhaja Mutiat Ladoja; Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Mohammed Fadeyi; Chief of Staff to the governor, Hon. Segun Ogunwuyi, and the Head of Service, Mrs Olubunmi Oni, mni.

Others were the Chief Imam of Ibadanland and Grand Imam of Oyo State, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Agbotomokekere; League of Imams and Alfas and other top government functionaries.

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