Nigerian leaders from different walks of life, yesterday, joined people of Christian faith across the globe to celebrate Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ and urged the Nigerian people to embrace unity at this critical time in the nation’s body polity as well as cooperate with the leadership on the need to move the country forward.
Some of the prominent Nigerian leaders, who seized the occasion of Easter celebration to address some of the nation’s challenges included former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; former President of the Senate and his deputy, David Mark and Ike Ekweremadu.
Others, who also shared in the joy of the season were Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Diouye Diri (Bayelsa), Muhammadu Yahaya (Gombe), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi and House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.
In their respective messages, apart from alluding to the significance and importance of Easter, they all saw the need for Nigeria to come together at this crucial moment, irrespective of political leanings and confront the common monster that currently challenges her unity.
Jonathan Urges Nigerians to Imbibe Godly Values
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has felicitated with Christians as they mark this year’s Easter season, charging them to imbibe Godly values of righteousness, peace and justice.
The former President also urged Nigerians to work in love, unity and faith as a means of overcoming current challenges and building a prosperous nation.
In a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, Jonathan said: “The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the cornerstone of the Christian faith. At Easter, Christians celebrate hope, eternal life, salvation, and redemption.
“On this year’s Easter, I call on all Christians to imbibe and sustain Godly values of righteousness, peace and justice, which are the true nature of Christ.
“As we celebrate, I urge all Christians and all Nigerians to work in love, peace and unity and exercise faith and hope, so we can overcome our current national challenges and build a prosperous nation.”
Gbajabiamila Calls for Prayers, Unity
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged Nigerians especially,Christians to use this period of Easter to pray for the country and her unity.
Gbajabiamila in his Easter message, said despite the challenges facing the country, there would be light at the end of the tunnel hence the need for prayers now and always.
The Speaker also called for unity of purpose among Nigerians, saying there was more that united the citizens as a people than that which sought to divide them.
”Nigeria is a great country with good people, who have great potential,” adding that if well harnessed, the nation and the citizens would be better for it.
He continued, “Christians should imbibe the virtues of Jesus Christ. The life and time of Jesus Christ are a perfect example of selflessness, care, affection, compassion and service to humanity,” calling on Nigerians to emulate same.
“At this time of Easter, we have to unite as a people. We have to pray for our country. We should also be our brothers’ keepers as always. I am certain that together as a people, we will achieve more. Our unity is ultimately our strength.
“I call on all Nigerians to remain steadfast and resolute as we match forward as a nation bound by our diversity. Let’s pray for our leaders. Let’s pray for us to overcome our challenges, especially, the insecurity in our land. Let’s show love to one another, irrespective of our ethnicity, tribe, religion or creed.”
Ugwuanyi Preaches Peace, Faith in God
Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has called on all Nigerians to take advantage of the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to advance peace and commit themselves to God, in faith and in practice.
Ugwuanyi, in his Easter message, congratulated his fellow Christians for the successful forty-day long Lenten season in penance for the atonement of sins and salvation of mankind, which Easter portends.
The governor, who maintained that Easter was the hallmark of Christianity, stressed that the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and salvation, offered Nigerians a great opportunity to come closer to God and promote all virtues that would enhance peace, love, unity and progress of the country.
While wishing the good people of Enugu State and indeed all Nigerians a spiritually rewarding Easter celebration, Ugwuanyi urged them to reflect soberly and intensify prayers for God’s intervention and abiding grace, for the country and the world to fully overcome the rampaging Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic and other challenges.
He, therefore, reiterated his resolve to continue to serve with the fear of God, and to work assiduously towards the advancement of peace and development of Enugu State, for the wellbeing of the people.
Diri Urges Bayelsans to Sacrifice, Embrace Love
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has implored citizens of the state to embrace the virtues of sacrifice, love and hope that the Easter season typifies.
Governor Diri in his message to Bayelsans said Easter not only embodied the culmination of the perfect plan to reconcile humanity to divinity, but also reminded mankind of the unique love of God, the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ and ultimately the hope for redemption for those who acceptedthe free gift of salvation.
He urged the people to see the sacrificial death and unstoppable resurrection of Jesus as a pointer that hope was available to those who believed.
Urging them not to despair due to challenges of the times, the governor assured that in keeping to its promises, his administration would continue to be people-focused in its policies and projects.
“In celebrating the season, our citizens in Bayelsa State have cause to be doubly joyous as the present administration, in word and deed, continues to demonstrate that government belongs to the people. That those things that matter most to the wider body of citizens shape public policy and spending.”
Yahaya Felicitates with Christians, Preaches Tolerance
Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has felicitated with the Christian community on the occasion of this year’s Easter celebration, calling on the faithful to use the period to pray for the continued peace and stability of the state as well as the country in general.
In his goodwill message yesterday, Yahaya noted that the Easter period provided an opportunity for unity of purpose, reinforcement of bond of brotherhood and dedication in service to God and humanity as exemplified by Jesus Christ.
He said Easter symbolised love, sacrifice, service to God and country as well as triumph of good over evil, urging the people to always reflect on the lessons and significance of the season and demonstrate same in their lives.
“On this occasion of Easter feast, I want to enjoin our Christian brothers and sisters in Gombe State and the world over to continue to promote peace and good neighbourliness. I want to also urge you to remain steadfast in prayers and continue to sacrifice for the good and advancement of our dear state.
“I also call on you to continue to pray fervently against the security challenges in the country as well as the Covid -19 pandemic, which is still very much with us. We are indeed in a trying moment but I am optimistic that with collective commitment, sacrifice and by turning to God through prayers, we shall overcome all the trials and emerge stronger,” he said.
Makinde: Be Your Brother’s Keeper, Forgive
Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, has felicitated with Christians in Oyo State and around the world on the occasion of the 2021 Easter celebration, urging them to continue to be their brother’s keepers and to learn to forgive others.
Makinde, who stated this in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, expressed gratitude to God for sparing the lives of residents of the state, especially, the Christian faithful, to witness the Easter season.
He charged residents of the state to continue to support “their government,” saying, “I want to thank God for sparing our lives up until this moment and to encourage the people, residents, and indigenes of Oyo State to remain steadfast.”
He charged Christians in the state not to take lightly the price Christ paid for their salvation and to continue to remain connected to Jesus Christ.
“Christ has paid the price for us. So, they should keep on supporting their government and should, in the spirit of the season, be their brother’s keeper. If anyone has offended you, this is the period to forgive. This is the period also to get connected to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died so that we may be saved,” he said.
Resurrection of Christ, Sign of Victory, Says Secondus
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, has charged Nigerians to allow love which is the cardinal point of Christian injunctions to guide their actions in relating with one another.
Secondus, in a message to Christians at this year’s Easter, said with love and piety, Nigerians wouldsurmount all the challenges the country was currently facing.
In his message titled: “Nigeria will Overcome” and signed by Ike Abonyi, his media Adviser, Secondus said “the Easter period reminds us of brotherly love, peaceful co-existence, tolerance, honesty, humility, justice, equity and fairness to all without discrimination as contained in the Scriptures.
“This particular injunction is important to us as a nation as we continue to contend with the challenges of nation-building, bad economy, insecurity and poor leadership.”
In the same vein, the Edo State chapter of the PDP, said the Easter story represents the fulfillment of God’s Prophecy that mankind would be offered the hope of eternal life through the sacrificial death of His son, Jesus Christ and His subsequent resurrection from the dead, saying it is the faith that has kept the Christiandom alive and enabled its followers to significantly contribute towards making the earth a better place for all mankind.
In a statement by Chris Osa Nehikhare, the party stated, “Let us also at this time reflect on the enormous progress we have made as a party and state and to strive to ensure that the gains made over the years are not squandered by those with unpatriotic predisposition.
“As we celebrate Easter, let us re-commit ourselves to do all within our power to help our beloved state to soar to even greater heights in the true spirit of Easter. Let’s have faith that Easter signals a season of renewal, of change, and of moving ahead as we defeat the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world.”
Atiku: Love is Impossible Without Sacrifice
A former vice president and presidential candidate of the PDP in the last general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has urged everyone to remain thankful to Almighty God for His benevolence by sending his son to die and takeaway the sins of the faithful.
He also urged Nigerians to be thankful for giving mankind the knowledge to over come the coronavirus pandemic.
In his Easter message, Atiku said the essence of Easter celebration was not merely to merry, rather, “It is a season to reflect on the purpose and meaning of love and sacrifice. Love, because God says we should love our neighbours as ourselves. And sacrifice, because love is hardly practicable without an intention to make a sacrifice.
“Therefore, on this occasion of Easter celebration, I urge all Nigerians to take time to pray first of all for peace to return to the country and also for unity. Nigeria is at the precipice of insecurity, poverty and, most unfortunately, disunity. These are challenges, not impediments.
“The way to surmount these challenges is to learn from the world when super power countries, who are rivals suspended politics to face a common threat in Covid-19”, he said.
Mark, Ekweremadu Canvass for Love, Justice
Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and his erstwhile deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, have canvassed for a greater Nigeria where love and justice would prevail.
In separate Easter messages, the duo stressed the need for tolerance among Nigerians at all times.
Mark, in his Easter message issued by his Media Adviser, Paul Mumeh, urged Nigerians to consciously imbibe the culture of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in order to actualise development for the good of all.
He canvassed for a harmonious society that guarantees a win-win situation for all, stressing that religion should ordinarily be the elixir for peace, good neighbourliness and development rather than the later day version.
He said: “It is time for all men and women of good conscience to rise up and make a positive difference in our country. We should ponder on the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ, selflessness, forgiveness and eschew all forms of religious or social vices tearing the nation apart.
“Let us work towards building trust and confidence between and amongst our people in order to stimulate a harmonious relationship. We are stronger together and we can surmount our difficulties as a people.”
On his part, Ekweremadu emphasised that the mounting challenges facing the nation could be effectively addressed if Nigerians unite in love, peace, and with every sense of justice and sacrifice as exemplified by Jesus Christ.
The ranking Senator, in his Easter message, signed by his Media Adviser, Uche Anichukwu, expressed concern that the country had seriously retrogressed, because love had waxed cold, while injustice was palpable, thereby resulting in bad blood, disunity, and incompetence even in the most critical matters that affect the nation.
“There was sacrifice as symbolised by Good Friday before there was ever a resurrection as represented by Easter. Therefore, at Easter, we are reminded by the sacrifice of Christ, who paid the supreme price for the salvation of mankind that we can actually take Nigeria back to the pinnacle of glory if we sacrifice ethno-religious and numerous other narrow interests for the collective good and progress of the country.
“This is a call for us to unite, love, and treat one another with every sense of justice so that the whole nation is effectively mobilised to confront and surmount our numerous challenges with oneness of mind. It is a call to be our brother’s keeper in order to make the much-needed progress as a people.”
Obi Charges Nigerians to Work for Peace
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vice presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Mr.Peter Obi has called on Nigerians to be mindful of the need to continue to work for peace, which underscores the essence of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
In a statement from his media office, the former Anambra State governor urged Christians to imbibe the ideals of perseverance, sacrifice and commitment to the will of God, which characterised the Lenten season.
He congratulated Christians and all Nigerians, who are alive to witness this year’s Easter, reminding them that, “We are alive today only by God’s grace and favour and not that we are in any way special before the almighty or better than the dead.”
The statement reiterated the need for Nigerians to pray continually and work towards peace, stability and progress, noting that peace could only be achieved when Nigerians from across the country imbibe peace by shunning terrorism, banditry and other acts inimical to peaceful coexistence.
House Minority Caucus Urges National Regeneration, Hope
The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has urged Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Easter for spiritual regeneration as well as re-dedicate themselves and pray for God’s intervention in the security challenges facing the country.
The caucus, in a statement by its Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, stressed that Easter, which marks resurrection of the Jesus Christ, amply demonstrates that no matter how hopeless a situation appears to be, solution was always found in God’s love and infinite power to save.
Elumelu called on leaders at all levels to jettison every selfish and narrow-minded proclivities and put on the spirit of selflessness, which triumphs over primordial sentiments that breed division, strife and hopelessness among the citizenry.
He also called on those behind the acts of terrorism and bloodletting in the country to retrace their steps and know that their actions could not be justified under any guise.
He said: ”Indeed, Easter reminds us, as a nation and mankind in general, that all hope is not lost as long as we put our trust and faith in God in all our dealings. The triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead reinforces the victory of life over death, light over darkness, hope over despair, and success over failure in our lives as individuals and a nation.”
Obaseki Preaches Love, Hope and Forgiveness
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has charged Christians to imbibe the exemplary life of love, selfless service and forgiveness, which Christ demonstrated in his death and resurrection.
Obaseki, in his Easter message, urged the Christian community to emulate Jesus Christ by making sacrifices that would advance the cause of development and reflect on the purpose of Easter and redemption of the nation.
The governor stated: “As we Christians celebrate the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary and His resurrection, let us use the opportunity to reflect on the purpose of Easter and the redemption of our nation that will happen with selfless service, love for one another, forgiveness, empathy and hope.”
While wishing Edo residents a hitch-free Easter celebration, Governor Obaseki urged them to adhere to the state’s COVID-19 preventive protocols as they go about their activities.
“As we mark this day, kindly adhere to the government’s directive on good hygiene and safety, including regular washing of hands and use of sanitisers and observe social distancing.”
Sanwo-Olu Wants Nigerians to Emulate Christ
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has felicitated with Nigerians especially, the Christian faithful as they celebrate this year’s Easter, which is the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Governor Sanwo-Olu in his Easter message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, noted that, “Good neighbourliness, selflessness and patience were among the several lessons taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ and his resurrection.”
Sanwo-Olu reminded Lagosians that the events leading to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were epochal in the annals of Christianity and humanity, therefore urging every citizen to reflect on how best to positively impact the lives of friends, colleagues, neighbours and family members.
“As we celebrate Easter, I am extending my best wishes to every Nigerian especially, Christians across the country and other parts of the world. The commemoration of Christ’s death and resurrection is a reminder of His virtues of harmony and peaceful coexistence among humanity.
“As we mark this events, I want to urge Christian faithful in the state to continue to live in peace and harmony with believers of other faiths. We should emulate virtues of humility, perseverance and compassion as exemplified by Jesus Christ.
“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 signified love, affection and tolerance. It also marked the end of evil and beginning of good deeds.”
Abiodun Asks Nigerians to Embrace Peace, Unity
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has called Nigerians especially, residents of the state, to embrace peace, love and unity as the world celebrates Easter.
The governor, in his Easter message made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, urged Nigerians to avail themselves with what the resurrection of Jesus Christ symbolises, and live in peace.
He noted that the country was going through challenges and implored the people to emulate the love Christ showed while being crucified, in order to move the country forward.
According to Abiodun, the resurrection of Jesus had indeed shown that the country has a great hope to rise from the present ashes to a powerful nation.
While wishing Christian faithful a wonderful Easter celebration, the governor also charged them to pray for the country to overcome the socioeconomic challenges confronting it.