President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Christians across the country as well as Nigerians in general, to work towards restoring peace in the nation during the Easter celebrations.
This, he said in his Easter message to the electorates on Thursday, urging all Nigerians to imbibe the teachings of Jesus Christ so as to drive out vices such as, hate speech, bigotry, corruption, banditry and terrorism.
He commended those who have recognised the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of conflicts in communities; check wanton criminality and the taking of innocent lives; unite the country; steer the ship of state to a steady path of economic growth, job creation and development, as he called on all Nigerians “to love our neighbours and display increased spirit of tolerance and accommodation.”
“While we enjoin law-abiding fellow compatriots to work for peace and social justice in our beloved country, let there be no doubt of our resolve to firmly resist others who may want to make cheap political capital out of current national security challenges,” he said.
Mr Buhari said his administration’s programmes and policies in the last three years have resulted in bringing down the prices of staple crops, gradual improvement of road, rail and electricity infrastructure and making Nigeria the preferred destination for investors.
“More than ever before, we are ready to consolidate on these gains and ensure that we improve the lot of our communities in the years ahead.
“Thankfully, our Dapchi schoolgirls who were safely released recently after 30 agonising days in the hands of their abductors, have been reunited with their families,” he said.
He also expressed optimism that all others, including the Chibok girls who are still in captivity will be safely released unconditionally to their families urging Nigerians to continue to pray for their safe return.
The President appealed to political actors to resist any act that could mar the integrity of the nation’s electoral process adding that “the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over.”
Similarly, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, admonished Christians and Nigerians to emulates the virtues of Jesus Christ as epitomized by his passion, persecution, death and resurrection during Easter.
He made the call via a message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja. Mr Saraki also stated that all Nigerians must remain constant in their efforts to promote unity across all lines.
He stressed the necessity for all Nigerians to come together in order to build a country that both present and future generations can take pride in just like the work of Christ which has endured for over 2000 years and has continued to inspire generations.
“This weekend, we join our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria and across the world to celebrate the Easter festivities. This commemoration is a time for deep reflection as it marks the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. It is a time to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need.
“It is also a time for all of us — regardless of faith, or ethnicity — to come together to pray for the peace of our nation. We must all remain constant in our efforts to promote unity — across all lines — because united, our nation remains stronger and we thrive as a people.
“As we do this, we must all collectively work towards playing our part in the development of our nation and its economy,” he said.
His deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, in a message signed by his Special Adviser (Media) on Saturday, called on Nigerians to pray harder for divine intervention in all areas of the nation’s life, especially the wanton killing of innocent Nigerians as he assured Nigerians that no matter how troubling the future currently appeared, the resurrection power of the risen Christ could turn around the fortunes of the country.
He called for deeper reflections over the affairs of the nation urging everyone to pray as patriots and invoke the resurrection powers of the risen Christ to intervene in the affairs of this nation.
“Let us pray for an end to the wanton killings and destructions, general insecurity, economic hardship, and hunger in the land. Let us pray God to imbue our leaders, across all political divides, with the milk of human kindness and deep insights to lead the nation on the social, economic, and political revival and national unity. Let us also pray that God should touch the hearts of our leaders to apply the breaks (brakes) and end the gale of divisiveness, political intolerance, barefaced oppression, and exclusion that currently pervade the land,” he said.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, also, in his Easter message shared on his Facebook page yesterday, asked Nigerians to keep hope alive that Nigeria will overcome its challenges. He said no matter what, Nigerians can prevail.
He expressed belief that in this season, Nigeria will rise and overcome her national challenges “because our shared experiences are bringing us to the conclusion that no matter what the forces of evil can do, we as Nigerians, united in doing good, can and will prevail.”
“I urge all Nigerians, even if we feel that we are not in a position to do much to help Nigeria to overcome, let us at least believe that she will overcome. That is a lot. That is a lot. Happy Easter,” he said.
In the same vain, the National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has urged Nigerians to use the occasion of Easter to reflect on the situation in the country and pray for the survival of the nation’s democracy.
Mr Secondus, in a statement yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media, Ike Abonyi, said the nation’s democracy was under heavy stress and needed to be rescued.
“Indicators are apparent that the country is under siege and Nigerians should use this solemn period of Easter to pray for God to intervene and raise good leaders for the country,” he said.
A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, also, in a statement by his media office on Friday, encouraged Nigerian leaders to use the opportunity of Easter to reflect on their stewardship to their people and to the nation.
In a similar message, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Bello, on Thursday, enjoined FCT residents, to rededicate themselves to the virtues of love and service to their fatherland during the Easter celebration.
He described the season as an opportunity to reflect on the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, as a pathway for peaceful coexistence and service to humanity urging residents to strive to demonstrate these values in their interaction with one another.
While admonishing residents to be alert in order to thwart any efforts by miscreants to take advantage of the festive season to cause any breach of the peace the territory had been enjoying, he assured FCT residents that the administration had put in place measures to ensure the security of lives and property both during and after the Easter season.
Mr Bello further thanked the residents for their contributions and support to the administration as it worked to implement projects that were designed to improve the living standards of the residents, adding that efforts were ongoing to improve facilities in the FCT education sector with the recent release of N600 million as counterpart funding to access over N1.2 billion Universal Basic Education grant.
“Twelve generators have been procured and installed to ensure steady streetlights during power outage.
“The administration is on course to improve the outlook of major highways by stemming illegal trading, dumping of refuse and vehicular recklessness.
“Procurement of the major coaches required for the full operation of the Abuja Light Rail is underway while the trial phase will soon commence with the three test coaches which are already on ground,’’ he said.
He prayed for a very spiritually refreshing and hitch-free Easter Celebrations while charging residents to stay safe, both now and after the Easter season.
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