By Our Reporters
ABUJA—AS Nigerian Christians join other faithful across the world today to celebrate Christmas, Senate President Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and former Senate President, Senator David Mark have urged Christians to pray for peace, love and unity of the country.
Similarly, state governors also urged Christian faithful to exhibit the spirit of peace, love and forgiveness, all through the Christmas celebration and beyond.
This came as Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, enjoined faithful to remain fearless irrespective of the socio-economic and political situations in the country.
This is an opportunity to love, share and forgive — SARAKI
Saraki in a statement yesterday in Abuja by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said: “The yuletide season presents us an opportunity once more to love, share and forgive. I urge all Nigerians to utilize the period to pray for unity, peace and prosperity in the nation.
“We must also rededicate ourselves to the true virtues of faith in God, love for one another, honesty and peaceful coexistence. It is time to make these virtues more evident and practical in our daily lives.”
The Senate President who noted that the 8th Senate and indeed the National Assembly would continue to strive to make life meaningful for all Nigerians, stressed that “the legislature would at all times work to ensure that Nigeria takes her rightful position in the League of Nations through relevant legislations and timely interventions.”
Let’s build a nation where no man is oppressed, says
On his part, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, in his message through his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, said: “Christmas is a lesson in unusual humility of the divine born as man, and of a king born in a manger. It is a reawakening to that unconditional love and self-sacrifice, which we must all embrace in order to move Nigeria and humanity forward.
“I believe that like Nazareth, many good things will still come out of Nigeria because this is a land of boundless opportunities and great possibilities. But we must first build a nation where no man is oppressed, where justice reigns, where each man is his brother’s keeper, and where every citizen has the latitude to become the best he could irrespective of ethnic, religious, and political background and social status.”
In the same vein, former Senate President, Senator David Mark, in a message by his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, said the birth of Christ should be the elixir needed to confront the challenges and provide the road map for economic recovery.
The former Senate President who noted that Nigerians had triumphed over challenges in the past called for the reinforcement of that indomitable spirit that had seen her through various travails. He hwever implored Nigeria citizens to embrace the teachings of Christ, chief of which is perseverance, tolerance, love and forgiveness.
Reflect on virtues, teachings of Jesus, says Okowa
In Asaba, Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said “I call on all Christians; indeed, all Deltans and all residents in Delta State, to reflect on the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ in their lives and activities so that Nigeria and indeed the world would be a better place for all of us. I congratulate all Christians for witnessing yet another Christmas season. I advise all of you to use the festive period for sober reflections and total spiritual renewals and devotion towards living in peace and harmony with adherents of other religions.
“The birth of Jesus Christ being celebrated at Christmas, should be used to promote peace, love, understanding and unity, including the display of the spirit of tolerance in the accomplishment of our vision of building a better State and country. I wish to admonish all Christians to emulate Jesus Christ in words and deeds, imbibe the core lessons of freedom, love, tolerance, sacrifice, generosity and peaceful co-existence, which Christ stood for.”
Spread love and be our brother’s keeper — AMBODE
Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, in a message through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, said: “Christmas is a season that explains the depth of God’s love for mankind and exemplary sacrifice that we should emulate in our relationship with our neighbours irrespective of status and creed. This season is another opportunity to increase our acts of kindness and touch the less privileged in our society.
“Therefore, this Christmas means so much more than just mere merriment. It is a veritable avenue to extend love to the less-privileged who are disadvantaged in several ways. In this special season therefore, I urge you all to spread love and be our brother’s keeper. Let us reach out to those who struggle to provide for their families. Let us put smiles on the faces of the weak and vulnerable. This is the real essence of Christmas.”
Remember the reason for the season — AMOSUN
Similarly, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, in a message, by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye, recalled the values that Jesus preached and exhibited all through his sojourn on earth.
According to him, “as we mark the Christmas, all true Christians must remember the reason for the season as well as the person, whose birth we are celebrating, who is Jesus Christ.”
Akeredolu: Beauty of Christmas is the promotion of love and sacrifice
For Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, in his Christmas message through his Chief Press Secretary, Segundo Ajiboye in Akure, said: “The beauty of Christmas is the promotion of love and sacrifice. I wish the Christian community Happy Christmas and congratulate them for the success of this year’s Christmas. My sincere message to the Christian community is to continue to show love to one another which the birth of Jesus Christ symbolises.
“The indisputable maxim that love is superior to law should serve as a guiding principle which our state and country requires at this critical time to forge ahead amid needless agitations by some people among us.
“I therefore urge everyone to remember that with love, which the birth of Jesus Christ symbolises, we can overcome our limitations.
Lalong wants Xtians to love one another
In Jos, Plateau State, Governor Simon Lalong, in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Emmanuel Nanle, said the world would be a better place if the values and virtues reflected by the Holy birth of Christ, especially the love for one another were imbibed and practiced faithfully.
According to him, “The virtues of love which is the essence of Christmas should be seen to radiate and reflect on the lives of Christians when every dark path and corner of society is lighted up with the love of God for humanity.”
Live Christ-like lives — DICKSON
Similarly, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, in a statement urged Nigerians to live a Christ-like life, which he noted was a life of sacrifice, selfless service, love and forgiveness.
He said: “Service to man is service to God; he that serves man well, serves God well. Jesus Christ used his earthly ministry for the common good of humanity and above all, died for our sins. Our faith would have been in vain if Jesus had not sacrificed himself for us all. I therefore call on political actors and privileged Nigerians to always work for the good of the people and do things that would foster unity in the country.”
Fear not, be hopeful, CAN enjoins Nigerians
Meanwhile, while urging Christian faithful to remain fearless irrespective of the socio-economic and political situations in the country, CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement said “to us, the joy of Christmas is not limited to His unprecedented and miraculous birth. It is built even more on the triumph of His death and resurrection that gave meaning to His birth because it was His resurrection that gave us hope against every hopeless situation.”
Making reference to the current hardship Nigerians are going through now, the CAN President said: “I am not unaware of the hardship Nigerians are facing today as many could not travel for the Christmas celebration despite the holiday due to the fuel scarcity, unpaid salaries and other economic factors. But the major theme of the Christmas remains FEAR NOT, no matter what we are seeing or hearing.
That was what the angel who broke the good news told the shepherds. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’’
Emulate Jesus Christ, says TUC
Also, Trade Union Congress, TUC, urged Nigerians to emulate Jesus Christ, the symbol of peace to have a peaceful and prosperous country.
TUC in a message by its President,Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, said: “Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when we celebrate faith, family, our togetherness as a country and the tradition of giving and receiving gifts. Many things make this season special. One is the fact that as individuals we are alive.
Two, as a country we have been able to weather the myriads of storm that threatened our very existence as a country. Jesus Christ is the symbol of compassion, peace, and sacrifice and we are enjoined to emulate him if we must have the country we earnestly desire.
“Travelling is microcosmic component of the Christmas celebration. Unfortunately it has become almost impossible for people to visit their loved ones because of the yearly hike of price of fuel. Sometimes one wonders why everything that tends to bring joy to the ordinary masses is always denied them.
Every Christmas season the price of fuel must hit the roof and nobody will say anything let alone do something about it, irrespective of the ripple effect it will have on other commodities (especially food).’’