By Sam Eyoboka & Kolade Larewaju
BENINâ€”Governors Adams Oshiomhole and Gbenga Daniel of Edo and Ogun statesÂ respectively, and other Christian leaders across the country have urged Nigerians, to, in the spirit of Christmas, pray for the recovery of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, just as they lamented that over 70 per cent of Nigerians are currently living below poverty line.
They also enjoined Nigerians to use the occasion to reflect and pray over the socio-political challenges facing the country and stressed the need for all to imbibe the values of tolerance and patience Gov. Daniel, in his message, urged Christians to remember that the season was not all about festivities and merriment but more about the goodness of God to humanity and the birth of the founder of the Christian faith whose life of humility, sacrifice, obedience, love and patriotism should be emulated by all.
â€œThis is a time for us to reflect on the lowly birth of Christ, His immutable teaching, His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection which showed the supremacy of the power of the Almighty God and His willingness to intervene in the affairs of men.
Govs urge more prayers
â€˜â€™We should all imbibe and put to practice Jesus Christâ€™s teachings, share the joy of the season with the less-privileged and renew our commitment to the cause of building an enduring and prosperous nation.â€
While urging Nigerians to remember President Yarâ€™ Adua in their prayers, he said only the Almighty God had the power to heal and preserve the lives of all mortals.
In his message, Oshiomhole described Christmas as an occasion to celebrate the love of God and to rekindle our faith in God. â€œIt is a season of charity, making peace, forgiveness and the celebration of our common humanity as Godâ€™s children. We must remember to fend for the poor, the un-empowered and the needy in line with Godâ€™s injunction to be our brotherâ€™s keeper.â€
According to a statement signed by the governor, â€œChristmas is also a season of supplication to God and intercession for self, family and nation, adding â€œwe need to remember to put our state (Edo), our region and the nation as a whole in prayer. Our state and country need peace, unity and the touch of God on the hearts of our leaders, so that they will be guided aright by the wishes and welfare of the people.
â€˜â€™We, in Edo State, in particular, are passionate about Mr. Presidentâ€™s recovery and return to office, because he has been very kind to us and has supported our efforts to restore her to glory.â€
Christian leaders lament poverty
Also, the President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Sunday Ola Makinde; Spiritual Leader, St. Josephâ€™s Chosen Church of God, Apostle Hayford Alile; Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie; his Anglican counterpart, Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo; have also lamented that over 70 per cent of Nigerians are currently living below poverty line despite the huge godly endowments.
â€œPresent calls by certain individuals for the resignation of the president are unwarranted because no human being is immune from sickness and, therefore, all we needed to do as a nation is to offer fervent prayers to God on behalf of Mr. President,â€ Oritsejafor said in his Christmas message.
Makinde believed that Nigeria was lying prostrate because of high level corruption among public officers who had been put in charge of the nationâ€™s resources, saying â€œcorruption thrives today because the rich wants to keep getting richer and desires the poor to keep getting poorer.
â€œIt is my prayer that we will all imbibe the sacrificial spirit exhibited by our Lord through his birth which is to redeem mankind and reconcile us with God. Without sacrifice and love, our harmonious and peaceful co-existence as a country will continue to be elusive. May the grace of God see us through all our journeys in this life and in the life to come,â€ he said.
Apostle Alile urged Nigerians to remember the suffering of the Son on Man on the Cross and celebrate with utmost moderation because, according to him, it does not help us as individuals or the nation if we busy ourselves drinking, eating, womanising and committing abortions a few months later.
Okogie urged the government to be up and doing, especially during this Christmas, to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people, saying that many citizens are hungry and suffering in a land flowing with milk and honey all due to the mismanagement of our resources.