From Magnus Eze, Enugu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Fred Ezeh, Adanna Nnamani, Abuja and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, has admonished Nigerians to remain hopeful for a better nation especially as they prepare to take back their nation in 2023.
This is as Governors Babagana Zulum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Okezie Ikpeazu, Nasir El-Rufa’i of Borno, Ondo, Abia and Kaduna states respectively and others tasked citizens on love, tolerance, unity and hitch free elections
They made the call in their separate Christmas messages to Nigerians, yesterday.
Obi, former governor of Ananmbra State explained that celebration of Christmas birthed hope in the world and urged Nigerians to hold unto that firm hope for a better and more productive nation.
He restated that Christmas is a season of love and the celebration of the birth of Christ should be a constant reminder of how God gave His only begotten son for the salvation of humanity.
“We, as humans should therefore, endeavour to make sacrifice, even when it is painful, for the good of others and for our society.”
He encouraged Nigerians to go beyond the festivities and glamour associated with the Christmas season and strive to live out the true essence of the celebration. He stated that fraternal love and giving to the poor are the hallmark of Christmas celebration, and enjoined all to lend helping hands to one another.
Obi urged Nigerians to see 2023 as a significant year in the history of the nation as it presents Nigerians the opportunity to turn around the trajectory of the nation by giving only competent leaders access to power.
Zulum urges prayer for hitch free elections
Governor Zulum, in his Christmas message issued by his media aide, Mallam Isa Gusau, urged Nigerians to use the occasion for special prayers for hitch free elections nationwide.
“I happily felicitate our Christian brothers and sisters in Borno at the Christmas festival being held this weekend.
“In our shared creed of hospitality for which Borno has been known for, I respectfully urge celebrants, especially those with means, to extend compassionate support to relatives, neighbours and friends, with less means to enjoy the festival.
“As we know, in Borno, we are uniquely bonded by interesting instances of families, in which siblings from same parents, parents themselves and extended relatives are Christians and Muslims with the same blood in their veins.
“This, in addition to being fellow Nigerians, makes us one indivisible family in Borno for which we must continue to respect each other’s beliefs.”
The governor urged Nigerians, particularly religious leaders to commit the country to God for the campaigns and upcoming elections to hold peacefully across the nation- before, during and permanently after the polls.
“I humbly urge all Nigerians to pray for peaceful transition especially at the presidential level, pray for all parts of our country to fully regain peace and stability, pray for our continued unity, our economy and our overall prosperity. ”
Akeredolu: Best is good for Nigeria
Governor Akeredolu called on Christians across the country to embrace goals and ideals that would promote societal common good for national stability.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr Richard Olatunde, he charged the people to imbibe the lessons of the birth and life of Jesus Christ.
“We must reflect deeply on the reason for the season. The birth of Jesus Christ is significant in many ways. It teaches love, tolerance and sacrifice. Let us be deliberate in imbibing the lessons in this season. Our religion teaches us to extend love and embrace sincerity. As children of God, Let’s us show love and follow the path of Jesus Christ in selfless sacrifice. We all have a duty to perform in national development. Our dear country is at the point where we must allow God to guide us and open our eyes to see beyond our space,’’ he said.
The governor also charged Nigerians to understand that only the best was desirable for the nation.
“We must shun religion profiling and embrace quality minds whose track records are alluring to lead our nation. There is need for us all to be dispassionate about the choice of leadership. Let us all join hands to pray that God Almighty will continue to strengthen our resolve to do our best to transform our land and the people of this state. Christ’s birth was the mingling of divinity with humanity. We must put humanity first.
“In the spirit of the season, let us take time to reflect on the essence of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. Let’s love one another and promote the happiness of all. We have every reason to thank God for what we are able to achieve in 2022. The year 2023, I’m sure, with our prayers, will usher in peace, progress and prosperity for us all,’’ Akeredolu stressed.
Ugwuanyi calls for peace, renewal of faith in God
Governor Ugwuanyi of Enugu State urged the people of the state and Nigerians in general to renew their faith in God by remaining steadfast in prayers.
He stressed that the significance of Christmas and its symbolism in reaffirming God’s timeless love was by sending His only begotten son to the world, to bear humanity’s sins, and be sacrificed for the salvation of mankind.
Appreciating God’s goodness and mercies, Ugwuanyi prayed for the peace, love, unity, security and progress of the state in particular and the country in general, especially as “we transit to another democratic dispensation through the 2023 general elections”.
He, therefore, wished the people of Enugu State and all Nigerians “Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year”, urging them to remain resolute in their prayers for the state in particular and the country in general.
He reassured the people of the state of his firm commitment to continue to serve them with the fear of God and work to sustain the tempo of peace and good governance, in spite of the nation’s economic and security challenges.
Ikpeazu tasks Christians on importance of Christmas
Governor Ikpeazu urged Christians to reflect on the significance of Christmas celebration by upholding the virtues of love, peace and unity.
He said Christmas was a season to imbibe virtues that promote love, and urged the citizenry to avoid acts capable of causing social unrest in the state.
He described Christmas as the most significant celebration in Christendom, adding, ”it marks the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ, an event that heralds the commencement of the redemption of man from eternal damnation.”
He expressed gratitude to God for the prevailing peace and security in the state which had made it possible for people to move about their businesses without fear and thanked the people of Abia for their support.
Ikpeazu said the peace and tranquility in the state could be best described as a miracle and love of God, especially as many parts of the country were battling with security concerns of different kinds.
He said the state government would continue to collaborate with security agencies in securing the lives and property in Abia.
Ikpeazu said a lot of progress had been recorded by the present administration under his watch, especially in the area of peace, security and infrastructural development.
He added that he was prepared to do more for the state and promised to keep working till his last day in office in May,2023 to ensure that he fulfills his desire to transform Abia.
El-Rufai preches compassion, forgiveness
Governor El-Rufa’i stated that despite the difficult times in which Christmas is being celebrated, the timeless values of compassion, love, tolerance and forgiveness exemplified by the birth and life of Jesus Christ endure.
He said the examplary life of Jesus Christ and His birth as the Prince of Peace “gives us the optimism of hope that we can be better than our current circumstances.”
He called on all communities in the state to do their best to uphold peace and harmony, and to work with the security agencies to maintain law and order at all times.
New Nigeria possible – Methodist Archbishop
The Methodist Archbishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Christopher Ede, has expressed hope that a new Nigeria is possible, if Nigerians vote wisely in 2023.
In his Christmas message in Enugu, he said Nigerians were praying and looking forward to a nation where peace, justice and love would prevail.
According to him, there is need for Nigerians to keep hope alive as a new Nigeria is possible and coming. Ede, chairman, Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Enugu State chapter, urged Nigerians to remain hopeful in the face of myriad challenges in the country. “I urge Nigerians not to lose hope in the face of present security and economic problems and remember that 2023 is critical to the survival of the country.
“I also admonish everyone to be ready to vote wisely and be prepared to defend their votes.
“We must re-engineer the destiny of our country to greatness once more,” he appealed.
Emulate Christ’s virtues beyond Christmas – Akobundu
National Coordinator, AUDA-NEPAD Nigeria, Gloria Akobundu, urged Christians to emulate humility of Christ, examplary love for one another, and other virtues that Christ represent and reflect in making the world a better place.
In a Christmas message by her media aide, Abolade Ogundimu, she urged Nigerians, especially Christians to remember that Jesus Christ was born in a manger and became the King of Kings, stressing that someone’s social or economic background should not serve as hindrance to one’s ambition for personal and societal development.
“While Jesus was living on earth, He showed love to people around Him. He humbled Himself, showed forgiveness and other great virtues that endeared Him to Christians and non-Christians alike. Those virtues should not be rhetorics but everyone’s culture for better living.”
She, however, urged state and non-state actors that would be involved in the 2023 electoral process to be committed to free, fair and credible elections, advocating violence-free and credible elections.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to good governance and socioeconomic development, stressing the need for more collaborations and cooperations of strategic and other stakeholders in the programmes and activities of the agency.