Easter: Obi, Fayemi, Zulum Call for Perseverance Amid Adversity

Peter Obi

Our Correspondents

The 2019 vice presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi; Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Imo State counterpart, Senator Hope Uzodinma, among others, yesterday urged Nigerians not to despair but to be steadfast in the face of adversity.

Also, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Prof. Babagana Zulum of Borno State and a leader of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Alex Otti and Globacom urged Nigerians to use the period of Easter to pray for the healing of the COVID-19 patients.

In a statement from his media office yesterday, Obi lamented that Christians “are marking this great season under this circumstance that we cannot even worship in our various churches because of a virus disease.”
Obi explained that the pandemic indeed threw “a huge challenge that we must reflect on our existing relationship with God. We must therefore in the joy of Easter intensify our prayers for peace in the country.”
Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, charged Nigerians not to allow the prevailing hardship in the country arising from COVID-19 pandemic to affect their spirit of love, brotherliness and peaceful co existence.

Rather, Obi said the uncommon situation at this period of Easter “provides good opportunity for Nigerians to pray more to God to send succour to clear the virus and alleviate their sufferings.”

In a statement by its Corporate Communication Office, Globacom urged Nigerians across the federation to use the period of Easter to pray for the victims of COVID-19 pandemic and God to heal the world.

Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest mobile network operator, also prayed to God to grant families who have lost loved ones to the pandemic in Nigeria and abroad the fortitude to bear the painful losses.

Globacom said: “Let us use this Easter period to further reflect deeply on the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross. This sacrifice is a pointer to the fact that God cares for the human race at all times and has plans for their redemption from sin and all evils. This should rekindle hope in our hearts at this difficult time.”

It also urged Nigerians “to remember to wash their hands regularly and use alcohol-based sanitizers; eschew unimportant travels and refrain from holding or attending large gatherings” as prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) towards safeguarding their health against contracting the deadly disease.

“On the Glo network, subscribers can access attractive offers including the Sunday data plan that offers 1.2GB for N200 on Sundays, the Glo Ambo which gives customers five times the value of recharge to call any network and Stay Home Data plan that gives subscribers up to 20 percent more data.”

Fayemi, in a goodwill message in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, said witnessing the Easter is a special grace from God in view of prevailing situation all over the world.

According to him, Easter is very significant because it is an annual event marking the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

He urged Christians and adherents of other faiths to emulate the sacrifice and selflessness of Jesus Christ in their daily lives.

He described this year’s Easter as “very peculiar” because it came when Nigeria and other countries of the world are grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic, which has necessitated a low-key celebration.

Although this year’s Easter may not allow for elaborate celebration and services in places of worship, Fayemi said Christians should not lose sight of the lessons of the season, which centre on love and sacrifice.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu urged Christian faithful in the state “to continue to live in peace and harmony with believers in other faiths in the state.”

According to him, good neighbourliness, selflessness and patience were among the several lessons taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ.

He reminded Lagos residents that the events leading to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were epochal in the annals of Christianity and humanity.

The governor, thus, enjoined every citizen “to reflect on how best to positively impact the lives of friends, colleagues, neighbours and family members. As Christians, this period offers us an opportunity to rethink our relationships as individuals, as communities and as a nation.

“The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ typified love, affection and tolerance. It also marked the end of evil and beginning of good deeds.’’

With the coronavirus threatening to bring the world to its knees, Sanwo-Olu said the occasion of the resurrection of Jesus Christ should be a veritable avenue for all to show more love, kindness and care for one another.

In an Easter message he released yesterday, Bauchi State governor urged Christians nationwide to use Easter celebration to pray for God’s intervention towards bringing to an end, the current pandemic of coronavirus and Lassa Fever.

The governor said Bauchi State and Nigeria deserved continued prayers to overcome the security challenges facing different parts of the country.

He called for more cooperation with the government in its effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and Lassa Fever by abiding and respecting all measures set by the government.

In order to keep away from contracting the disease, the governor urged Nigerians “to observe the simple personal hygiene such as constant hand washing, application of hand sanitizer, adherence to the rules of social distancing, avoiding hand shaking and touching face, particularly the mouths, the nose and the eyes.”

Zulum, in his fecilitation message yesterday to Christians, warned that notwithstanding the global focus on COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria and the international community must never lose sight of the Boko Haram insurgency, he referred to as an older coronavirus- COVID-2009.

The governor said: “I warmly felicitate with our Christian brothers and sisters in Borno state and beyond, at Easter, which is a season we should recognize and imbibe selfless sacrifices and renew our hopes and convictions.

“While wishing all Christians a happy and memorable Easter, I share the pain, that the important Easter is being celebrated at this time that Nigeria, like many parts of the world, is battling to contain a pandemic caused by coronavirus disease.

“The Covid-19, first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, has so far caused the deaths of nearly 104,000 persons around the world from which Nigeria recorded 7 in mortality. Borno state government will remain relentless in fighting this dangerous and highly contagious disease through strict preventive and responsive measures.”

In an Easter message released in Osogbo, Oyetola, said Easter “exemplifies the sacrifice that Jesus Christ paid to save mankind.

The governor called on the people of the State to also re-dedicate themselves to the service of God and mankind as they reflect on the ideals of Good Friday and Easter Celebration.

Oyetola urged Christians to also use the occasion to intensify prayers and devotion for God’s intervention as the Country and the world at large are fighting the scourge of Coronavirus.

He also urged them to be their brothers’ keepers by reaching out to the less privileged around them, adding that the statewide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the State had expanded the population of the needy and the vulnerable group in the State.

“As the country and the world are ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic, Christians should seize the time to portray good Christianity and reach out to the less privileged around them,” he said.

He disclosed that the State government, on Thursday commenced the distribution of over 6,000 bags of rice across the State in its effort to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home order.

Also, in his own message yesterday, Uzodinma said with absolute trust in God and faith in the risen Jesus Christ, Christians and indeed Imo people will overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor added that with strict adherence to safety measures, the state would overcome Covid-19, with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He, therefore, urged them to bear the hardships induced by the need to prevent Covid-19 pandemic with the same uncommon patience and perseverance that Christ bore his passion and tribulations before his crucifixion.

He said Christ’s resurrection “is a sign of assurance that after the Coronavirus pandemic the joy of triumph will come. It is painful to me as a Christian that I will not be attending the Easter service in the congregation of the faithful.”

He added that it was a necessary sacrifice he had to make to avoid encouraging a public gathering that could provide space for the virus to strike Imo people.

While wishing the good people of Enugu State and indeed all Nigerians a happy Easter celebration, Ugwuanyi reiterated his resolve to continue to serve with the fear of God, and to work tirelessly towards the progress of the state and the wellbeing of the people.

The Easter celebrations commenced with the commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ on Good Friday, which falls this year on April 10, while Easter Sunday, which is the resurrection day, falls on April12.

While felicitating with the people of Abia State yesterday, Otti has said the scourge would be defeated just as the risen Christ has overcome death.

Otti noted that just as Christ shed his blood and cleansed mankind of sin so would God in his infinite mercy cleanse the world of the deadly virus.

He said: “By exhibiting acts of heroic altruism and solidarity to one another, especially at this time of global health crisis created by the Coronavirus pandemic” Abia people would pull the Covid-19 scare.

The financial expert, who was the governorship flag beater of APGA in 2019, said that the Covid-19 pandemic had created the condition for Abians, especially those in leadership positions to take a second look at the futility of life.

According to him, in the face of the atmosphere of fear, standstill, uncertainty and near hopelessness which has enveloped the world since being hit by the deadly virus” those in positions of authority should strive to engage in acts that glorify God and promote people’s welfare.

He enjoined Abians to continue to apply all individual safety measures while adhering strictly to the ones put in place by government to halt the spread of Coronavirus.
He prayed God to continue to protect Abians until the virus is completely defeated.

Otti emphasized the need for Abians to reflect on the essence of the Easter celebration and ensure that their conducts uphold the essence of the season, for the good of mankind and to the glory of God.

In his commemoration message, Ugwuanyi called on all Nigerians to reflect soberly and intensify prayers for God’s intervention and abiding grace for the country and the world to overcome the rampaging Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said the feast, which brought salvation to mankind, offers Christian faithful and indeed all Nigerians an ample opportunity to come closer to God, promote peace, love, and unity as well as other virtues that would enhance the progress of the country.