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Easter: Jonathan urges Nigerians to pursue forgiveness

*Okogie, Oritsejafor, Ademowo ask govt to adopt Uwais report

By Sam Eyoboka, Daniel Idonor & Inalegwu Shaibu

ABUJA—ACTING President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has urged Nigerians to serve God and humanity selflessly, while promoting unity and peace across the country.

In a goodwill message to the nation at Easter, Dr Jonathan asked Nigerians to pursue reconciliation and forgiveness, put the past behind them and forge ahead towards a bright new dawn.

He said: “We must dedicate ourselves to the service of our country, continuing in love for one another even as Christ loved us. We must resolve to do what is right at all times, and uphold the virtues that strengthen our bond as a nation.”

The Acting President enjoined Christians to emulate the sacrifice of Christ who laid down His life for the salvation of mankind, noting that the significance of His death and resurrection manifests in renewed hope and joy to the world.

A statement by Mr. Ima Niboro, Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, said that Jonathan urged Nigerians “to use the period for spiritual rejuvenation, and rededicate themselves to the service of God and humanity.”EMINENT Nigerian Christian clerics have urged Acting President  Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to hearken to the clarion call of the majority of the nation’s citizens and rise above partisan politics to adopt the Muhammadu Uwais Electoral Panel report in its entirety before next year’s general elections.

Specifically, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, National President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie and his Anglican counterpart, Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo also enjoined the National Assembly to move beyond the doctrine of necessity in instituting the Acting President to also invoke relevant portions of the 1999 Constitution to evolve another arrangement that will give the nation a vice president before the next elections.

In separate Good Friday goodwill messages to the nation, the three clerics enjoined Nigerians to emulate the exemplary qualities displayed by the progenitor of the Christian faith, Jesus Christ, and resolve to be humble, truthful and eschew violence to maintain peace with their neighbours.

Oritsejafor asks northern govs to resolve Jos crisis
Pastor Oritsejafor said:“The greatest problem of this country today is that we are not prepared to say the truth. The day we all learn to say the truth to ourselves, the destiny of this country will definitely change and people will live in harmony with one another.”

He commended the Acting President for the steps he has taken thus far to resolve the perennial killing of innocent women and children in the North, noting that the involvement of the northern governors was crucial to the resolution of the crises.

He added:“For long I have advocated that the southern governors should meet their northern counterparts with a view to resolving this crisis. I am, therefore, happy that, at least, the Federal Government had decided to make mandatory for the state chief executives to find a way out of the quagmire which is fast painting the nation in bad light in the international community.”

He also called on the Federal Government to urgently address the Niger Delta question, adding that what happened in Warri a few days ago when two bomb blasts exploded during a seminar on the Post-Amnesty programme was an indication that the militants were losing patience over government’s action plan.

Okogie seeks pragmatism
Okogie, in his message, said while the nation awaited the National Assembly on the nagging issue of a vice president, the Acting president must be pragmatic and make haste to reduce the Yar’Adua seven-point agenda to just few including electricity, electoral reforms, security and the Niger Delta.

He said: “The bomb blast at Warri is a serious indictment on our security operatives especially the Nigeria Police, State Security, SSS, and the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA. Our security system is very porous; our security operatives performed dismally in Boko Haram saga, the NYSC girl who was raped and killed in Maiduguri, etc.”

On his part, Ademowo advocated what he called “the instruments of calculative doggedness and consequential vision to sail the country out of the waters of bondage. It is called ‘stooping to conquer.’”

According to him, as we approach a most decisive election year, the political class should allow peace, love and concord to reign in our country, stressing “they should collectively adopt systemic modes of conflict resolution rather than volcanic methods that will undermine and threaten our democratic endowments.”

Mark advocates faith and loyalty to Nigeria
Senate President, David Mark, yesterday, charged Nigerians not to allow the recent political and ethno-religious crises in the country sway their faith and loyalty to the nation.

Senator Mark said in his Easter message that every Nigerian should believe in the indissolubility of the country despite the recent outbreak of many ethno-religious and other social crises in the nation.

In the statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, the Senate president said: “The challenges facing the nation, especially the outbreak of fresh ethno-religious conflicts in some parts of Nigeria are not insurmountable. All we need is sincerity of purpose and commitment to brotherhood.”

Senator Mark called on religious and traditional leaders to continue to preach and demonstrate the virtues of peace, love, piety and peaceful co-existence in their communities, adding that only through lasting peace can Nigeria attain the much needed development.

While reiterating the commitment of the National Assembly to deliver on its promise of laying a solid legislative framework for the good governance of the country, the Senate president added: “the passage of the amendment of the 1999 Constitution and the electoral reform bill are clear manifestations that the Senate is making progress in the interest of the nation.

“We are very confident that the forthcoming general elections in 2011 would benefit from the constitution amendment and the electoral reform bill so that those encumbrances that be-devilled the system in the past would not resurface.”

Ogbulafor seeks prayers for Nigeria

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor has urged Christians in the spirit of Easter not to relent in praying for Nigeria, just as he said that it was an opportunity for Nigerians to thank God for His continuous blessings.

In an Easter message to Nigerians, Ogbulafor said: “In this joyful moment of Easter celebration, I urge all Nigerians, both Christians and non Christians, to remain peaceful, united, steadfast, focused and above all prayerful as we march on to greatness as a nation.”

Ogbulafor who noted that Nigerians have always triumphed amidst ups and down, said, “as a nation and as a people, we have had our share of ups and downs but because of our grim determination to succeed in the face of temptations and trials and, above all, our abiding faith in the will of the Almighty God who in His wisdom made us to live together as a people and as a nation, we have always triumphed and will always come out from every setback in our journey to nationhood.”

Part of the statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, Edmons Chijioke Adindu stated: “This solemn occasion of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ offers Christians great opportunity to reflect on the great love that the Almighty God has for us as He sent His only begotten son to die in order to redeem us. It is also another opportunity for all Nigerians to thank God for His abiding love and continuous blessings to our dear country Nigeria and to us as a people.

“We must never lose hope in the capacity of this country to bounce back on track to take her rightful position in the comity of nations neither can we afford to diminish our expectation and trust in our leaders and government to provide quality leadership and good governance which will translate our collective dreams into reality.  This is why we must support the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in his effort to move this country to the next level.”


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