IT is Christmas today, a day for the expression of peace, love and goodwill to all mankind. It is a day for the celebration of the birth and essence of Jesus Christ, around whom the Christian faith is built. Christians in Nigeria are today joining their counterparts the world over to mark the birthday of Jesus Christ. They will partake in the rituals and festivities of the occasion, but we advise that they focus more on its spiritual significance.
Nigerians are celebrating this Christmas at a period of economic recession when spiralling inflation, massive unemployment and unpaid salaries have dulled the joys of the occasion. The celebration is usually marked by giving and sharing, which have become quite difficult for many on account of the biting economic downturn.
Nevertheless, we enjoin the Christian faithful to hold firmly to their faith and be hopeful of better years ahead. With prayers and a strong determination by all Nigerians, especially our leaders, to pull the country back from the brink, the country can look forward to happier years.
But for the difficult times in which many Nigerians have found themselves, Christmas, beyond the church services, is usually associated with much revelry, dancing and merriment. For those who can still afford such activities, we urge caution and restraint. The economy is in deep recession and most Nigerians are experiencing economic hardship. With the cost of food items rising beyond the reach of the poor in the country, and many families unable to buy a bag of rice because of its prohibitive cost, we advise moderation and eschewing of all ostentations.
We, however, enjoin Christians and all other Nigerians to remain cheerful. They should allow the joy of Christmas and the love of Jesus to be shed abroad in their hearts to their fellowmen and women. The Christian faithful in politics should eschew corruption and work for the peace and unity of the country.
Let our leaders administer the country with love, humility, simplicity and a sense of sacrifice. The lawmakers should make laws that will improve the living conditions of Nigerians and ensure that their constituencies are adequately represented.
We urge all Christians to eat and drink in moderation. They should also drive carefully. As they enjoy the occasion, they should remember the needy, the poor and the less privileged in the society and show them love.
They should pray for peace and good neighbourliness in the country. The Christian faithful should use this season to demonstrate that they are their brothers’ keepers. Let them remember those in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the North-East of the country. Those in government should also shower them with gifts. We must also use the occasion to pray for the safe return of the rest of the abducted Chibok girls.
Nigeria’s leaders should show love and care for citizens. This is the time for them to pay more attention to the plight of Nigerians and address the socio-economic problems facing the country. Government should put in place palliative measures to assuage the sufferings of the masses.
The level of poverty and unemployment in the country is so high. Government should frontally address them. All workers should be paid their salaries as due so that they can meet their financial obligations. Government should also not neglect to pay pensioners.
We call on our leaders to remember the orphans, the aged, the sick and others in need during this season so that they will appreciate the reason for the season. Above all, the government must do everything in its power to ensure that Nigerians do not witness this type of bleak Christmas next year. It must ensure that the country gets out of this economic recession into the path of prosperity. We wish all Christian faithful a joyous and spiritually rewarding Christmas.