BY DAYO JOHNSON, SIMON EBEGBULEM & JIMITOTA ONOYUME
President Goodluck Jonathan, state governors and clerics Sunday charged Nigerians to embrace love and peace and make the necessary sacrifice towards the development of the country.
They gave the charge in separate Easter messages marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
President Jonathan in his goodwill message delivered at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS, Lagos said, “We are here today because Christ was killed, buried and rose from the dead. We have hope that he will come again”.
Jonathan said he decided to celebrate 2013 Easter with Lagosians and to sincerely thank all Christians for their prayers. “Through the various intercessory prayers, God has continued to stabilise the country. If not, it would have been worse,” adding that the country had challenges, “especially in these days of terrorism”.
The president said the government was working hard to check terrorism, noting that such incidents should make Christians wonder the kind of social environment that existed during Jesus Christ’s time.
He said as a mortal, he would do his best within the nation’s limited resources, to fix infrastructure such as railways and roads, as well as stabilise the power sector.
Also speaking, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, urged Christians to continue in the faith.
Gowon, who is the leader of ‘The Nigeria Prays’, told the President that, if he continued in the faith things would be well with him. “Trust in the Lord. He is all sustaining. He did, when I was ruling the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to rise above the challenges facing the country and deliver his electoral promises to Nigerians.
The prelate gave the charge at a media briefing where he condemned the level of insecurity, corruption and unemployment in the country.
Martins urged the president to address the contending issues of good governance and commit all available resources to address them.
“Nigerians are tired of mere promises, they want concrete action. They want to see in practical terms that this government is committed to fighting insecurity and restoring the country to its past glory. Events of the past few weeks, particularly the spate of insecurity in the land, leave much to be desired.
Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State in his message called on Christians to pray for leaders of the nation, stressing that the Easter celebration should be used to renew love for one another.
The governor who spoke through his Chief Press secretary, Mr Dave Iyofor, said the death and resurrection of Christ was a clear manifestation of the love of God for mankind, adding that Christians should emulate Jesus Christ and imbibe his virtues of love and forgiveness.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State has asked Nigerians to reflect in the spirit of Easter, on what further personal sacrifice they can make to the development of the country and mankind.
According to him, “Christ, the person in the centre of Easter, epitomised sacrifice of self for the good of all. Celebrating him therefore must be with a deep understanding of the need to put the pursuit of selfish and parochial goals aside and devoting time and energy to societal goals.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State said Nigeria will attain her full potentials when her citizens resolve to live a life of sacrifice and righteousness.
Governor Oshiomhole in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria, said: “As we commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who gave his life as a sacrifice for mankind, I enjoin the Christian faithful to toe the footsteps of their progenitor and emulate his spirit of peace, love, sacrifice and righteousness”.
The Bible teaches that ‘righteousness exalts a nation’. We must therefore be ready to wear the garment of righteousness in our dealings with one another; we must imbibe the spirit of love for one another and forgiveness to heal the wounds of the nation. I urge the faithful to forget the past, forge ahead and live in peace, love and harmony with their neighbour in line with Christ’s teaching on the greatest commandment: ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’”.