Friday 25 December 2015

Christmas : Buhari, Saraki, Others Preach Peace, Love

*Change slogan a promise that must be kept — Buhari
*Saraki, Oritsejafor, Obiano, others call for peace, unity

ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday, preached peace and love as Christians all over the world today celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
The president in his goodwill message urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the virtues of peace, love, honesty, justice, equity, piety, humility and service to others. He assured that his government was determined to change the fortunes of Nigerians for the better because “our change slogan is not a campaign gimmick but a promise that must be kept.”
He said: “I felicitate with all Nigerians, especially our Christian brothers and sisters, on the joyous occasion of this year’s Christmas. On this occasion of the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, let us all rededicate ourselves to the virtues of peace, love, honesty, justice, equity, piety, humility and service to others which he taught. There can be no doubt that a greater manifestation of these virtues and ideals in our lives will immensely help us to become a more united, peaceful, secure and progressive nation.”
Buhari also enjoined Nigerians to reach out in love and compassion to fellow Nigerians who were in distress at this period of the nation’s history.
He, particularly, urged them to remember victims of terrorism and insurgency in the country, especially Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
According to him, the Federal Government will continue to collaborate with state governments and other stakeholders to ease the harsh conditions in IDP camps.
He said his administration’s ultimate objective was to quickly end insurgency and return the IDPs to their homes.

“We must never again allow any group to hold the nation to ransom under whatever guise. Let us also not allow current socio-economic and security challenges to dampen our expectations for a better Nigeria,” he added.
The President stated that his administration had taken a number of measures to restore hope to the people, adding that the 2016 Budget defines his administration’s commitment to giving Nigeria a new lease of life.
He further expressed the determination of the Federal Government to bring about tangible changes in the lives of all Nigerians. In this regard, efforts will be intensified to recover stolen funds, block revenue leakages and enthrone due process, transparency and accountability. Public office is a public trust that must be held to the highest ethical standards. I wish all Nigerians a Merry Christmas. Please drive carefully,” he said.
Saraki, Ekweremadu, Obiano preach peace, love
In like manner, Senate President Bukola Saraki; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, urged Nigerians to ensure that their actions were predicated on peace, love and unity which they said, were the virtues needed to rebuild the country.
The two leaders of the National Assembly, in separate goodwill messages to Nigerians, noted that such virtues were necessary if Nigeria must progress to the expected level.
Saraki’s message, conveyed through his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said these virtues were crucial to the developmental drive of the present administration and to ensure that the country takes her rightful place as a proud member of the international community.
He noted that the economic challenges facing the nation as a result of dwindling revenue inflow into the Federation Account was a passing phase which would surely give way to a better future.
Saraki said: “Our President has just presented to the National Assembly the proposed estimates of 2016 budget of hope. We in the National Assembly have resolved to throw our weight behind the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and to collaborate with him in the execution of his policies of Change aimed at enhancing the living standard of our people and for a brighter prospect for our dear nation,” Saraki said.
He urged Nigerians to renew their faith in God and remain dedicated to the course of national development in the true spirit of Christmas which epitomizes love, perseverance, patience, brotherly kindness and the spirit of sharing.
Similarly, Ekweremadu, in his message through his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, urged Christians to follow the footsteps of Christ and pursue peace, unity and love towards all men.
Senator Ekweremadu stated that a nation divided against itself would never be able to realize its full potentials, adding: “As we celebrate Christmas, I call on Nigerians to emulate the forgiving spirit and selflessness of God who sent his only begotten son to save mankind from eternal damnation. We must also imbibe the humble, peaceful, and caring natures of Jesus Christ and do away with the vices of recrimination, nepotism, ethno-religious intolerance, and political inconsideration, which have held the country down over the years”.
Let’s unite Nigeria with love —Obiano
Also, the governor of Anambra State urged Nigerians to strengthen the bonds of the nation’s unity with love this Christmas.
In a Special Christmas Message from Awka, the state capital, Governor Obiano observed that the feast of Christmas offers Nigerians a chance to reflect on the imperatives of national unity and the need to reach out and touch one another with love.
“Nigerians should use the opportunity of Christmas to reflect on national unity and seek new approaches and solutions to the numerous problems that beset the nation.
If we seek hard enough, we will all come to the conclusion that most of the challenges we have with regards to unity can be solved with love. With love, we can consign our differences to the margins of our existence.”
Reflecting on the many difficulties the country has faced in recent times, Governor Obiano observed that the incendiary rhetoric among Nigeria’s many ethnic nationalities and the frequent bloodbath occasioned by religious and tribal hostilities would all take the backseat, if Nigerians chose love as their defining ethos.
“We must replace the language of war with the language of love. We must reach out and touch one another. We must demonstrate love for one another, for family, for friends and for Nigeria. That, to me, is the message of Christmas,” the governor declared.
CAN fetes Christians, Muslims
National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has felicitated with the nation’s Christians and Moslems, saying that the dual celebration has offered the nation another unique opportunity to imbibe the lessons associated with the different celebrations.
In a personal goodwill message the CAN president said: “On behalf of my family and the entire Christian community in Nigeria under the auspices of CAN, I wish to congratulate all Nigerians on the occasion of Christmas and Eid-el-Maulud celebrations.
“Fellow compatriots, this season offers us another unique opportunity to imbibe the lessons that come with the season. For the Christian and Muslim communities, the messages of the two celebrations are clear and key to our collective existence as a nation.”
He, therefore, urged all Nigerians irrespective of creed or tribe to imbibe and demonstrate the virtues of peacefulness, care for one another and sacrifice that the birth of Christ Jesus and the holy prophet Mohammed preaches.
“The season presents us a great opportunity to reflect on the challenges confronting our nation. Let us use this occasion to strengthen our collective resolve to fight vices such as ethnicity, sectionalism and economic hardship that threatens to tear us apart. Let’s give our unalloyed support to the military as they fight to defeat insurgency in the North-East of Nigeria.”
Pray for Nigeria, PDP urges Christians, Moslems
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, called on Nigerians to use this year’s Eid-el-Maulud and Christmas to offer special prayers for the unity, peace and stability of the country.
This is contained in a statement signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday.
The party also charged Nigerians to recommit their individual and collective security as well as their economic welfare into the hands of God.
“The two important celebrations, coming at this time, offer the citizens an opportunity to put aside every political, religious and ethnic difference and unite against their prevailing common challenges.
“The PDP called on all Nigerians to use the occasions to reflect on those things that bind them together as a nation. The party is calling on Nigerians to also show love to one another and commit the nation into Gods’ hands. We continue to charge the political class to be conscious of divine accountability in all their dealings.”

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