As Christians all over the world commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ with the celebration of Christmas, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has felicitated with all Deltans and Nigerians.
In a message contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Friday in Asaba, the governor urged Christians to offer special prayers during the yuletide for greater peace, love, unity, peaceful co-existence and progress in the state and in the country.
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He said that Christmas was a season to show love and care for one another, adding that Nigerians should use the opportunity offered by the season to enthrone peaceful co-existence across the country.
He called for an end to all forms of violent crimes, including banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and insurrection that had become commonplace in the country and huge security challenge to governments at all levels and entire citizenry.
“As the world celebrates Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I call on all Christians; and indeed, all Deltans and Nigerians, to reflect on the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ in their lives and activities so that Nigeria and the world would be a better place for all of us.
“I congratulate all Christians for witnessing yet another Christmas season.
“I advise all of you to use the festive period for sober reflections and total spiritual renewal and devotion towards living in peace and harmony with adherents of other religions.
“I must emphasis that peaceful co-existence and understanding among citizens are essential in the face of the prevailing security and economic challenges in the country,’’ Okowa said.
According to him, Christmas is not just a time to engage in merry-making, but also a time to reach out to the less-privileged in the society in tandem with the wish and teachings of Christ.
“Christmas celebration is a period of sacrifice and reflection for which Christians should emulate the virtues of total love and selfless service as demonstrated by Jesus Christ.
“The period presents the opportunity for us to return to God and be steadfast in promoting the virtues of Christ, which are love, peace and harmony in all our endeavours,” the governor restated.
He urged Nigerians to unite and pray for peace and co-existence, and eschew bitterness and hatred on the basis of faith, ethnicity or political leanings.
“I thank our Christian leaders and their counterparts of other faiths in the state and country for conducting themselves peacefully in their religious activities and for joining the government in promoting religious and ethnic harmony among Nigerians, and I urge all religious leaders not to relent in their prayers for the state and country.’’
The governor assured that his administration had taken measures to ensure that there was a peaceful Christmas celebration across the state.