President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, state governors and other personalities on Friday felicitated with Christians on the occasion of this year’s Christmas.
The leaders in their various messages urged Christians and Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, sharing, unity and peaceful co-existence as they celebrate the festival which commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
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President Buhari expressed confidence that with the renewed commitment and empowerment of the nation’s committed security personnel, all the “issues which inflict pain and trauma on us will soon be history.”
The president who stated this in his Christmas message urged Nigerians to utilise the opportunity of the festive period to encourage one another so that the “machinations of the wicked ones in their midst would find no place to thrive.”
President Buhari said despite the remarkable successes generally recorded on security, “We still have some challenges.”
He further said, “Christmas is a season when hope is rekindled. Hope, peace, joy, love are the recurring themes of this time.
“It is in the midst of hardship that the true test of a nation emerges.
“I urge Nigerians to invoke the indomitable spirit in us and see the present order of things as a phase that will also pass, just like other unsavory situations in the nation’s history.
“This government will not abandon the promises made to Nigerians for a better lease of life.”
Let’s sow better seeds of harmony – Atiku
Also, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, urged Nigerians to embrace peace and unity at this period and to love one another for the sake of progress and growth in the country as the world celebrates Christmas.
Atiku, in a Christmas message released by his media office in Abuja on Friday, reminded Nigerians that the revival of the country’s glory was everyone’s responsibility.
The Wazirin Adamawa urged citizens to be intentional in thinking good thoughts and sowing better seeds of harmony and unity in diversity which he said would make Nigeria greater today and in the future.
Lawan, Gbajabimila, others preach love, peace, unity
In the same vein, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, joined in felicitating with Christians in Nigeria on the occasion of the 2022 Christmas.
Ahmad Lawan said beyond the great merriment, Christmas reminded mankind of the humble birth, simple life, teachings and sacrificial love of Jesus Christ.
Lawan, in a statement by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi, urged Nigerians to show love to others and continue to pray for peace and unity and engage only in things that would make Nigeria great.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase and the House Minority Caucus have enjoined Christians and all other Nigerians to intensify prayers for peace and unity in the country.
Also, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, called on Nigerians to reflect on the virtues of love, peace and tolerance as exemplified by Jesus Christ in order to build a new Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said the Christmas period called for sober reflection, even as he enjoined Christians to pray for the country amidst challenges.
He said the character of Jesus Christ, who is the main reason for the celebrations, should reflect in the life of every Christian.
Christmas marked with pain, anguish in the last 6 years – PDP
But the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said it is “deeply worried” that in the last six years Nigerians had been forced to mark Christmas in “gloom, pain, anguish and utter despondency” following “excruciating economic hardship” and “worsened insecurity”.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, in a Christmas message on Friday, said this was the result of having an “incompetent and insensitive” administration in office.
He said, “The PDP is saddened that while people celebrate in other parts of the world, many Nigerian families cannot afford the basic items of celebration or even travel as they did in the past to meet and bond with their loved ones due to high costs, worsened insecurity and deplorable state of roads which are now death traps in our country under the APC administration.
“However, as a resilient people, the PDP urges Nigerians not to allow the suffering they face today to dampen or destroy their inner personalities as happy people and make them lose sight of the message of hope, salvation and brighter future which Christmas offers.
“We must, therefore, rekindle the light of celebration by showing love and care for one another, especially the less privileged, the sick, as well as victims of mindless violence and acts of terrorism that have ravaged various parts of our country, especially in the last six years under the watch of the APC government.”
FCT minister urges more prayers
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Musa Bello, has asked Nigerians to use the occasion of the Christmas celebrations to pray for Nigeria and its leaders at all levels for the peace, progress and stability of the country now and in the years to come.
In his Christmas message to the residents of the territory, the minister assured them of the continuous commitment of the FCT Administration to ensure the wellbeing and welfare of all.
Kwara, Kaduna, Ekiti, Bayelsa govs, others greet Christians
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, in his message, congratulated the Christian community in the state on the Christmas celebration, praying to God to make the festive period a joyful one for all.
In a statement issued in Ilorin on Friday by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Rafiu Ajakaye, the governor said the season brought back good memories of God’s faithfulness and love for all irrespective of whatever the situation might be.
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in his message, urged indigenes and residents of the state to embrace the spirit of love that Christmas exemplified in their dealings with one another, saying, unity, harmony and reconciliation were key factors for any peaceful society.
In his message, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, called on Christians to keep hope alive as they celebrated Christmas in difficult times.
The governor also said every citizen had a duty of personal responsibility as part of the collective action that was essential to curbing the spread of COVID-19 as they went about the celebration.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, in his message, charged Christians to emulate Christ’s love and humility as they celebrate this year’s Christmas, stressing that the birth of Christ was a demonstration of God’s love for humanity.
Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, described the lessons of Christmas as very instructive for the daily lifestyle of love and peace.
On his part, Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, felicitated with the Christian community in the state as they joined other faithful all over the world to celebrate this year’s Christmas.
In a goodwill message issued by his spokesperson, Ismaila Uba Misilli, the governor urged them to use the period to pray for peace, security and prosperity of the state and the nation.
He enjoined the Christian faithful and the entire people of the state to re-dedicate themselves and remain steadfast in prayers against all the challenges bedevilling the state.
Kano: Police ban knockouts, call for peaceful celebration
Meanwhile, the Kano State Police Command has banned the sale and use of fireworks popularly known as knockouts, burning of tyres during and after the Christmas and New Year celebrations in the state.
The command’s spokesman, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, who disclosed this in a statement, said road users were also advised to continue abiding by all traffic rules and regulations, drive carefully, avoid dangerous driving, car racing, unsecured loading and operating unserviceable vehicles.
FRSC deploys 1,250 men in Edo
In Edo State, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said it has deployed 1,250 officers across the state with a view to ensuring an accident-free Christmas celebration.
The Edo State FRSC Sector Commander, Henry Benamaisia, disclosed this yesterday while speaking with our reporter on the corps’ preparation for Christmas in the state.
He said the command had also deployed 25 vehicles and three toeing trucks for quick removal of obstructions on roads.
SSANU asks FG to act fast on increasing security threats
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), in their Christmas message, called on the federal government to act swiftly and ensure growing security challenges confronting the entire country, particularly in the Northern part, were tackled headlong.
The university workers also cautioned Nigerians to take responsibility individually and resist the strong temptation of compliance-fatigue of the recommended protocols put in place by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and beat the ravaging pandemic, especially the Omicron variant.
The association in a Christmas message issued by its President, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, while felicitating with Christians and all Nigerians, explained that national and state institutions were trying their best to comply with all the protocols.
Muideen Olaniyi, Abdullateef Salau, Idowu Isamotu, Hussein Yahaya (Abuja), Mumini AbdulKareem (Ilorin), Mohammed I.Yaba (Kaduna), Bassey Willie (Yenagoa), Raphael Ogbonnaiye (Ado-Ekiti), Haruna Gimba Yaya (Gombe), Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu (Kano) & Usman A. Bello (Benin)