By Kemi Yesufu
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has felicitated with Christian faithful and all Nigerians as they celebrate the Christmas and New Year festivities.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, 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.
He 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.
“I wish all Nigerians a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I want to call on Christians, in particular, and Nigerians, in general, to emulate the virtues of Christ, who through self-sacrifice brought salvation to humanity.
“This is a time for us to be our brother’s keeper, extend our generosity to one another and ensure that the less-privileged among us are not left out of the ensuing merriments”, he stated.
He added that the upcoming election is another opportunity to lay a new foundation for the growth and prosperity of the nation and to banish poverty from the land.
While praying for journey mercies for as many Nigerians that would have to travel during the period, he urged the police and other security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities and ensure that the lives and property of Nigerians are fully secured at all times.
“The security agencies must of necessity redouble their efforts to ensure that the Christmas and New Year celebrations are observed peacefully across the country,” Saraki stated.
….Ambode calls for compassion for the poor
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday 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.
Governor Ambode, 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.
He said, “Christmas is a season that explains the depth of God’s love for mankind and exemplary sacrifice that we should emulate in our relationship with our neighbours irrespective of status and creed. This season is another opportunity to increase our acts of kindness and touch the less privileged in our society.
“Therefore, this Christmas means so much more than just mere merriment. It is a veritable avenue to extend love to the less-privileged who are disadvantaged in several ways. In this special season therefore, I urge you all to spread love and be our brother’s keeper. Let us reach out to those who struggle to provide for their families. Let us put smiles on the faces of the weak and vulnerable. This is the real essence of Christmas.”
Governor 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.
“We shall continue to pray for continued peace in Lagos; we shall continue to pray for increased prosperity of our people; we shall not relent in our prayers for Lagos to continue in its path of growth; and we shall look forward to more of your prayers, now, in the New Year and beyond.
“Our government appreciates the spirit of tolerance and cooperation which has provided the enabling environment for growth and development in Lagos State. We reiterate our commitment to continue to promote healthy community relations with economic opportunities and empowerment prospects for all,” he said.
Dogara preaches love, peace at Christmas
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara, has urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of the season, which is the love of God for humanity.
In a Christmas message to Nigerians, 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.
He also urged everyone to be steadfast in prayer for Nigeria and use this occasion to practice the love of God by sharing whatever they have with the needy and underprivileged in the society.
…Atiku calls prayers for gallant soldiers
Meanwhile Atiku in his message called for prayers for members of the armed forces.
He said: his Christmas, “ I urge all Nigerians to spare a thought for our military and security forces who are on the frontlines on the war on terror. I had cause to telephone Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sakaba’s family member this Yuletide season and I was touched by the devotion and love they had for the man who paid the supreme sacrifice for Nigeria.
“I urge all Nigerians to think about these heroes who make the relative peace we live in possible. 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.
“They epitomise the spirit of Christmas, which is sacrificial giving. Let us also celebrate the sacrifice our armed forces make for Nigeria.
“Finally, seeing that the essence of Christmas is that Christ came to earth to reconcile us to God, should we not, as beneficiaries of such divine reconciliation, reciprocate it by being reconciled with each other during this Yuletide period and beyond? There are too much divisions in our nation today and it is up to each and everyone of us to inject the healing and unifying serum of love for our neighbour into the nation’s consciousness this Christmas.
Pray for the Country, Leaders, APC Urges Nigerians
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on its part called on Nigerians to extend love to the less privileged.
“The APC felicitates with Christians and indeed all Nigerians on the joyous occasion of Christmas which commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
“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-sacrifice. The Party calls on Nigerians to use the joyous occasion to pray for our leaders and the peace, progress and socio-economic development of our dear country”.