Senate President David Mark
By Our Correspondents
Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and state governors Saturday urged Nigerians to use the Easter season to promote tolerance, peace and harmony in the country as demonstrated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Mark, in his Easter message contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, reminded Christians of Christ's death on the cross of Calvary not just as a sacrificial lamb but also to engender the forgiveness of sins of mankind.
He urged Nigerians to see this season as a period of reconciliation with one another as exhibited by Christ in his death.
The Senate president tasked the Christian faithful to emulate the virtue of Jesus Christ, which, according to him, "is anchored on forgiveness and willingness to help others."
Tambuwal called for mutual respect among adherents of various faiths in Nigeria.
In a goodwill message to mark the occasion, the House Speaker said mutual respect among Christians, Muslims and other religious groups was the only path to peaceful coexistence among different ethnic and sectarian groups in the country.
Tambuwal urged all Nigerians to unite in confronting the security challenges currently facing the nation.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said Nigerians should not squander Christ’s sacrifice, but rather pray for the nation and imbibe the Saviour’s virtues of self-sacrifice and unconditional love at Easter.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu advised Christians to be prayerful, saying “a praying nation is a winning nation but we must match our prayers with good work, fervent patriotism and unconditional love for others so as not to squander Christ’s sacrifice."
The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, called on all Nigerians to remain steadfast in prayers for the unity, peace and progress of the country.
In his Easter message to Nigerians signed by his Special Adviser Media Oke Epia, the deputy speaker said the spirit of the risen Christ, which the season symbolises should be imbibed by Christians in their devotion to God Almighty.
Senate Minority Leader George Akume, in a statement by his media aide, Beckie Orpin, advised Christian faithful to "see this Easter not as a festival of foods and wines only but as a solemn opportunity for Nigerians to take stock and reflect deeply over our actions and inactions."
Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola reminded Christians of the selflessness, love and tolerance of Jesus Christ throughout his earthly sojourn, saying “it was a difficult period but he persevered.”
According to Fashola, “It is a season when we should pause and reflect on our individual and collective roles towards promoting and sustaining that foundation of love, peace and harmony in our society.”
Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria, said Nigeria would attain her full potentials when her citizens resolve to live a life of sacrifice and righteousness.
Delta State governor Emmanuel Uduaghan urged Nigerians not to despair in the face of the challenges confronting the country. The governor, while urging Christians to reflect on the import of Easter celebrations in their dealings, not only with other Christians, but with people of other religions, said Nigerians must eschew bitterness and all forms of violence.
Abia State governor Theodore Orji urged Nigerians not to relent in praying fervently for peace in Nigeria. A statement by his chief press secretary, Ugochukwu Emezue, quoted the governor as saying that prayer remains one of the most effective solutions to the nation’s current security challenges.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State used the occasion to warn those bent on causing confusion in the state under the guise of religion to desist from such evil plans.
The governor, who was speaking at the swearing-in of the executive secretaries of the 30 local government areas and one area office, said religion is too sensitive an instrument to use to cause sectarian violence.
From Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, togetherness and renewed commitment to Nigeria’s unity and peaceful co-existence. The governor, in a message issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, said it is only in the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that Nigeria could witness an all-round development.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, in his message, called on all Nigerians to live the lessons of the author of Christian faith, Jesus Christ, especially in season of Easter to enable the country move forward.
“Easter is a period which calls for sacrifice just as our Lord Jesus Christ exemplified when He shed His spirituality and assumed a human form in order to save humankind from sin and eternal damnation,” Obi said.
Rivers State governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi, enjoined Christians to pray fervently for the nation and its leaders and take advantage of the Easter period to show love and forgiveness.
A statement signed by Amaechi’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, said the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ was a clear indication of the love of God for mankind and urged Christians to always emulate Jesus Christ and imbibe the virtues of love and forgiveness.
Former governor of Kwara State and senator representing Kwara central senatorial district at the National Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki, enjoined Christians to use the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to pray for the unity, peace and oneness of the country.
The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Abdulrasaq Atunwa, urged Christians to continue to pray for sustenance of peace in view of the security challenges facing the nation.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has reiterated the commitment of the Muslim community in the country to a strong, prosperous and united multi-religious Nigeria where justice, peace, progress and national cohesion shall prevail.
The NSCIA's Easter message was sent to the Christian community, through the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and signed on behalf of the NSCIA President-General, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, by Prof. Is-haq Oloyede.
The Council said, “In this trying period of unnecessary strive, tension, mutual suspicion and wanton destruction of innocent lives and precious properties, Muslims in Nigeria shall continue to strive to strengthen the co-operation and collaboration between our two bodies - NSCIA and CAN - for our mutual benefits and to the glory of God and Nigeria."