As Nigerian Christians join other faithful across the world to celebrate Christmas, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus have urged them to epitomise the spirit of the season and also pray for better leaders, and peaceful election.
They all made this call in Abuja yesterday in separate Christmas messages to the nation’s Christian community.
Atiku in his message urged all Nigerians to spare a thought for the military and security forces who are on the frontlines in the attack against the war on terror.
He said, “I had cause to telephone Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sakaba’s widow this Yuletide season and I was touched by the devotion and love she had for her husband who paid the supreme sacrifice for Nigeria.”
The PDP presidential flag bearer urged all Nigerians to think about these heroes who made the relative peace Nigerians live in possible.
Atiku added, “They endure so that we all can enjoy. Because they gave their all, we all have some peace. So, when next you see a soldier, boost his or her morale by acknowledging their sacrifices and thanking them. Nigeria owes so much to the gallant officers and the men and women of our armed forces.”
On his part, Senate President, Saraki, urged Christians to pray for a hitch-free 2019 general elections in the country.
Saraki in a statement by his Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the fervent prayer of Christians was required at this point in the nation’s political history with the general elections few weeks away.
He congratulated Nigerians for their resilience in the face of the challenges facing the nation and urged them to pray for improvement in the social, political and economic condition of the country, in the New Year.
The Senate president urged Nigerians to make it part of their New Year resolution that they will play their constitutional roles to ensure that the country has a peaceful, credible, free and transparent elections in February and March 2019 and that the results of the elections will lead to rapid socio-political and economic development of Nigeria.
Similarly, Dogara charged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of Christmas, which he said is the love of God for humanity.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, he prescribed love as solution to humanity’s problems.
The Speaker noted that it was because of the love of God for humanity that He allowed His son to come into the world for the ultimate goal of redemption, saying such selfless love is what Christians should reflect in their dealings with one another. He further stated that God’s solution to humanity’s problems is love and embracing God’s Love will put an end to wanton killings, ethnic and religious clashes and other evils that retard the growth and development of the country.
Also Ekweremadu enjoined Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of love, fairness, selfless service, and commitment to public good as exemplified by Christ in order to ensure hitch-free conduct of the 2019 general elections.
He explained that the National Assembly had amended the constitution to quicken the dispensation of justice in pre-election disputes.
In his message, Secondus charged Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Christmas to offer special prayers for good leaders with love of the people to emerge.
He urged Nigerians to use this period to seek God ‘s mercy so that He could provide leaders that would bring comfort and peace to the country.
According to him, “We need political leaders that can bring smiles on the faces of the people and such leaders can only come from God through our sincere supplications.
Secondus noted that 2019 general elections provide the people the ample opportunity to rescue to rescue the country’s democracy.
“Yuletide time like this is therefore very auspicious for Nigerians to bury their political, ethnic and religious differences and go on their knees to seek God’s face in the country’s challenges,” he further said.
Okowa Preaches Reconciliation, Love, Charity
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has called on Christians to reflect on the lessons of the birth of Jesus Christ as they go about celebrating the yuletide.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, in Asaba, Okowa urged Christians to pray for peace, love and unity of the country and total reconciliation with God and man as they enter the new year.
The governor noted that the best way to celebrate Christ was to show love and to give like Christ did. He reminded Christians and indeed all Nigerians that Christ showed the greatest love by giving himself and dying on the cross, and therefore urged Christians to also give especially to the less privileged in the society.
He said Christians should use the occasion to exhibit Godly virtues and render humanitarian services to mankind for the betterment of the nation and the sustenance of peace.
Fayemi Greets Christians
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has congratulated Christians in the state and the country in general for celebrating another Christmas, urging them to continue to live by example in matters relating to love, peace and progress.
Fayemi said Christmas is a season to demonstrate love for one another, through giving and peaceful coexistence, adding that such love and generosity and craving for peace should extend beyond the season.
The governor in a Christmas message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, said it is only through a practical demonstration of love, peaceful co-existence with one another that Nigerians can unite and forge ahead in the crucial task of nation building.
Fayemi challenged the people to use the opportunity of the season to reflect on individual contribution to the peace and progress of their immediate community and the state in general.
While noting that being alive to witness another Christmas remains a privilege, which calls for celebration, he however advised that celebration should be done in moderation.
Ugwuanyi Prays for Peaceful, Credible, Violence-free 2019 Elections
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has called on Nigerians to take advantage of the religious event to offer special prayers for peaceful, credible and violence-free general election in the country.
Ugwuanyi in a message felicitated with his fellow Christian faithful, and wished all Nigerians Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, urging them to continue to dedicate their lives to the service of God and advancement of peace, unity and love.
The governor noted that Christmas as God’s gift to mankind to gain salvation, offers Christians a veritable opportunity to reciprocate His incredible act of love, by dedicating themselves to things that promote good virtues, peace, harmony and progress.
He therefore, thanked Ndi Enugu for their unceasing prayers, goodwill, solidarity and support and reassured them of his ultimate resolve to continue to serve them selflessly with the fear of God and sustain the tempo of peace and good governance in the state.
Ambode Preaches Love, Kindness to
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday urged Nigerians to seize the symbolic occasion of Christmas to extend acts of love and kindness to all mankind especially to the less privileged in the society.
The governor, in his Christmas message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, said the qualities that Jesus Christ represents, which include love, care, selflessness and compassion for persons, especially the weak, vulnerable and less-privileged was the real essence of the season, adding that his message to everyone at this period is to put a smile on the faces of persons who cannot afford to return the favour.
Ambode while commending residents for the peaceful atmosphere the state has enjoyed over the years, urged them to emulate Jesus Christ and continue to pray for continued peace in the state.
Amosun Preaches Love, Peace and Perseverance
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has admonished Christians faithful to imbibe the spirit of love, peace and perseverance. The governor in his Christmas message, admonished Christians to also exhibit the virtues of faithfulness, honesty and kindness, which Jesus Christ manifest.
He said as the 2019 general elections is fast approaching, all Christians must continue to pray for peaceful polls and the emergence of God fearing leaders. According to him, “we are all stakeholders in the project Nigeria, and so, we should not relent in lending our voices in prayer for a new Nigeria.”
Dickson Urges Christians to Emulate Christ
Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has called on Christians in Nigeria to be more prayerful as the country moves towards another round of crucial general elections.
In his Christmas message signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the governor said only prayers can avert any negative plan by enemies towards the country. He said Nigeria must remain united even after the elections, stressing that the outcome of the polls should not throw the country into chaos.
According to him, elections will come and go but Nigeria and Nigerians will remain and called on political leaders not to inflame the country with their misguided utterances and actions.
Dickson also called on Christians to eschew every form of acrimony but use the period of Christmas to show love to one another which is a major virtue of Jesus Christ, whose birthday is the occasion.
Obiano Admonishes Christians to Show Love
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has urged Christians to touch their neighbours with love this Christmas.
In a special Christmas message, Obiano observed that the meaning of Christmas is love which God demonstrated to mankind with the gift of Christ His only son.
“In giving us His Son therefore, God Almighty has demonstrated to us that our salvation and contentment on earth can only be guaranteed by the sacrificial love that Jesus Christ represents to us. Sacrificial love is the kind of love that comes at a huge cost to the giver and at no expense to the receiver,” Governor Obiano explained. He urged Christians to strive to live a life that enriches the lives of their neighbours; lifting up those that are down and bringing succour to the afflicted.
The governor also urged Nigerian Christians to use the opportunity offered by the feast of Christmas to reflect on their country and seek God’s intervention in Nigeria’s political leadership as the 2019 general elections draw closer.
Wike Preaches Love, Friendship, Peace at Christmas
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians to use this year’s Christmas to promote love, friendship, peace and reconciliation. In a Christmas message, Wike said the season exemplifies love, advising that Nigerians should always love one another. He particularly urged Rivers people to use this year’s Christmas to erect platforms of love, peace and reconciliation for the greater development of the state. The governor advised Rivers people to pray for the state to enjoy greater peace for the state government to consolidate on her developmental programmes that have made the state first amongst equals.
Kwara Gov Enjoins Christians to Have Faith in Govt
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has enjoined Christians to use the birth of Jesus Christ to rekindle, strengthen and reaffirm their faith in government’s ability and willingness to overcome all challenges.
A statement issued by the governor, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, however congratulated Christian faithful on the celebration of this year’s Christmas.
He advised Kwarans to reflect more deeply on the virtues and ideals which the Messiah espoused during his earthly mission.
Ahmed enjoined Christian adherents to internalise the virtues of love for fellowmen, tolerance, Godliness, honesty, fairness, selflessness, and peaceful co-existence for prosperous nation and humanity. The governor also urged the Christian faithful to use the opportunity of the celebration of the birth of Jesus to offer special prayers for a greater manifestation of divine peace in the state and vanquishing of all demons of hatred, divisiveness and disunity in the state.
2,046 Police Deployed for Security in Plateau
The Plateau State Police Command has assured members of the public that it has put in place comprehensive security strategies to prevent crime before, during and after the Christmas season.
It said a total of 2046 police personnel had been selected, trained and deployed to protect lives and property of members of the public, adding that the police is also in synergy with other security agencies in the state to ensure a crime free yuletide season. A statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Tyopev Terna, said it had professionally positioned its patrol vehicles in strategic areas day and night so as to respond promptly to distress calls from members of the society.
“The command wishes to re-echo her earlier ban on the use of fireworks, bangers, knockouts etc. This is because our officers and men are out to make sure that both Christmas and New Year activities are celebrated without any hitches and distraction. Consequently, we plead with parents/guardians to help guide their children and wards to be law abiding.
“Members of the public are enjoined to board vehicles only in the designated parks in the state and avoid boarding on the high way in order not to fall for the criminal antics of these bad people who operate outside the parks,” the statement partly read.
In the same vein, the state command of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has assured the pubic that it has partnered with other security agencies to ensure a hitch-free Christmas and New Year celebration. In a statement by the state Commandant, Solomon Adebayo Olasupo, the NSCDC said the public should report any clandestine move by group or individual aiming to cause chaos in the state.
He said the command has deployed 2,000 officers and men to beef up security across the state.
Obi Prays for Anambra, Nigeria, Others
The former Governor of Anambra State and the vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Mr. Peter Obi, has admonished Christians and all men of goodwill to use the occasion of Christmas celebration to extend the hands of love and care to the less-privileged.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, Obi said, among others: “Let us all thank God that we are here today to celebrate yet another Christmas, an occasion which as Christians we should use to remind ourselves of the commencement of the mystery of our salvation and the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ who is our way to eternity.” He also charged Nigerians to use the occasion to reflect deeply about the pervading sadness in the country arising from difficulties affecting the world, including our country.
He said: “This period therefore actually calls for prayers and deep reflection on, and re-examination of, the lives we have led up till this moment. The dictum of Socrates comes to mind here: ‘An unexamined life is not worth-living.’
Obi, who also took the opportunity to remind Nigerians about the coming general election of 2019, called on them to be vigilant and only vote for those with proven track records of performance, especially those who, through practical and demonstrable ways, have proved their capacity to create wealth, manage men and exhibit with deep understanding of the economy,”, which, according to him, were the bywords for Atiku/Obi candidacy.
Obi prayed to Almighty God to continue to guide and protect all Nigerians and indeed all men of goodwill , so that 2019 will be a better year for Anambra State, Nigeria and the world
Lalong Charges Politicians, Supporters to Be of Good Conduct in 2019
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has felicitated with Christians in the state, the nation and the entire world as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, stressing that they should emulate the life of Jesus at Christmas.
Lalong said Christmas is not just a period to celebrate the birthday of Christ, but also a time for sober reflection, fervent prayers and an opportunity for all believers to demonstrate their love for all mankind, notwithstanding their religious differences, just as Jesus came to salvage all mankind.
According to him, Christians should emulate Christ by aligning themselves with all his teachings in every ramification, particularly as they celebrate his birthday.
This, for instance, he said, should be by way of giving alms and sharing what we have with the needy like the orphans, widows, and the homeless, among others.
The governor said that as the 2019 general elections draw nearer, political parties and their supporters should conduct themselves peacefully and engage in issue-based campaigns to avoid overheating the polity and causing crises.
He urged all politicians and their supporters, particularly the opposition, to shun the politics of bitterness and rancor in their campaigns, as well as pray fervently for the successful conduct of the 2019 general election.
Tinubu Urges Nigerians to Rise Above Differences
All Progressives Congress (APC) national stalwart, Senator Bola Tinubu, has said though there are things upon which Nigerians can disagree and differ, but they must rise over these differences and treat one another with kindness and decency.
This is contained in a Christmas message to Nigerians he personally signed and released yesterday in Lagos.
The former Lagos State governor said: “There will always be things upon which we will disagree and differ. Such is the way of life. But we must always transcend these inevitable differences to treat one another with fundamental kindness and decency. This is the real spirit of Christmas and this must be the spirit of the Nigeria we seek to build”.
The message read: “May each and every Nigerian enjoy a Merry Christmas. May you share good tidings with family and friends on this day of peace and joy.
“As we gather in our homes to celebrate the day, let us take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of the season. Jesus Christ came into the world not that we may use his birthday as an excuse for festivities. He came into this world to teach us how to show us the best aspects of our common humanity and to point the way to spiritual salvation.
“We extend to all Nigerians of all stripes our wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas. May we join hands and make of this Nigeria a better land for all. May God continue to bless you and this home we call Nigeria.”
APC Urges Nigerians to Pray for Nation’s Progress
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged Nigerians to use the opportunity offered by the Christmas celebration to offer prayers for the improvement of the situation in the country.
While felicitating with Christians and all Nigerians on the joyous occasion of the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, APC said Christians should use the period to pray, “for our leaders and the peace, progress and socio-economic development of our dear country”. A statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Isa-Onilu, APC said all should learn to embrace the virtue of self- sacrifice which our Lord, Jesus Christ is noted for. “As we gather with family and friends for the Christmas festivities which is characterised by gift-giving, social gatherings and feasting, we should remember and extend love and generosity to the less-privileged around us.
“We should also emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ exemplified by self a sacrifice,” it said.
The party urged Nigerians to use the joyous occasion to pray for our leaders and the peace, progress and socio-economic development of our dear country.
Reject Pessimism, Atiku Brings Hope, PDP Urges Nigerians
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation has urged Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Christmas to pray for the nation and focus on their collective resolve to vanquish oppressive forces and build a peaceful, united country, where all citizens would live without fear.
Nigerians should therefore celebrate this year’s Christmas, focusing on the brighter future that awaits our nation under Atiku Abubakar as the next President and not on the pessimism and promise of more suffering by President Buhari.
The Campaign’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said this year’s Christmas celebration is unique, in that it marks the last under the administration of President Buhari. The main opposition party lamented the ugly situation in which Nigerians cannot celebrate a wholesome Christmas as they use to do prior to the emergence of the Buhari presidency in 2015.
Ologbondiyan said, “The birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour, signifies the triumph of light over darkness and offers Nigerians the new hope and spiritual impetus in their shared quest for a brighter future for our nation under a new administration.”
He urged Nigerians not to despair as the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, whom they have resolved to elect as their new President, has already perfected templates to revamp the economy and ease suffering of the nation.
Osun Lawmakers Advocate Unity
Oùn State House of Assembly has urged Nigeria to celebrate in love and approach the new year with sense of hope.
In a statement by the Chairman House Committee on Information and Strategy Hon. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, it noted that the assembly joins Nigerians in high sense of gratitude to God to celebrate the yelutide.
The lawmakers pointed that the celebration which marks the birth of Christ is not only significant to Christian faith but one that offers hope to mankind
The assembly stressed that the celebration which must be done in moderation should be accompanied with compassion and care for the needy. The parliamentarians note that the season should rekindle hope, pursuits of salvation and search for purity at the individual level as well as promotion of unity, oneness, togetherness, selflessness and high sense of patriotism from all Nigerians.
2018 Christmas a Bleak Celebration, Says CUPP
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has deemed this year’s Christmas celebration most painful for Nigerian citizens.
In a statement issued by their National spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere, the coalition heartily wished Nigerians the best of the Christmas season, however they expressed sadness over the economic state of the nation.
According to the coalition, “While we are in pains with you as most of our nation’s citizens celebrate this season of joy with empty stomach because of unbearable economic pains inflicted by President Buhari’s incompetence, we urge Nigerians to be steadfast in mobilization and prayerful as 16th February, 2019 is Nigerians date with destiny.
“The cost of transportation has now gone out of control of the ordinary people. In most instances it has gone between the 300 per cent to 500 per cent mark. “Staple food items are now like luxury to Nigerian families. Rice, yam, maize, vegetable oil, tomatoes, and other basic food ingredients are so expensive that many families are in dire straits at he moment as how to survive this season.”
The group lamented that federal government did not make any attempts to pay contractors who they are owing, thereby making it impossible for them to pay their staff their December salaries. The coalition stated further that the incompetence of President Buhari and his ineffectual policies are responsible for the economic woes of or nation.
We Can Redeem Nigeria with Truth, Says Catholic Bishop
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, has said that Nigerians can redeem the country with truth.
Ezeokafor who delivered a Christmas message to Nigerians, tasked Christians in the country to pursue truth and honesty in order to redeem the nation from abysmal darkness as the world commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
Ezeokafor said, “What we are commemorating in our time happened more than two thousand years ago as earlier foretold by the prophets of Old. The feast brings Christians scattered all over the world to a happy celebration of the salvific event of the incarnation of the Son of God. God was born in our midst, on earth, and became like us in all things except sin, that we could be one with him. The Bishop further emphasised that truth-telling was a call to both civic and religious responsibilities.
He said truth has a vindicating, liberating, and redemptive power, which has the capacity to saves, lives, while urging all to cultivate a habit of truth.a