As Christians all over the world celebrate the Easter season, leaders in the country have continued to preach peace, love, and tolerance among people of different faiths.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his message assured Nigerians that things will better for the country, appealing to them to continue to have great hope.
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The Vice President gave the assurance during a brief chat with journalists after the Easter Sunday service at the Aso Villa Chapel on Sunday.
“I just want to thank God for our nation, and pray that our nation will experience the grace and mercy of God in so many different ways that we are expecting His grace and mercy. All will be well in Jesus’ name,” Prof. Osinbajo said.
The Vice President, while wishing Nigerians a happy Easter celebration, said the message of Easter is a message of the special and exceeding love and grace of God. Prof. Osinbajo, in a statement by his media aide, said the Easter season was one “of great joy because we celebrate the evidence of the plan of God. In some way, God has given us a receipt of our salvation and it’s really exciting.”
Easter signifies victory of light – Ikpeazu
The governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, in his message, said Easter signifies the victory of light over darkness.
Ikpeazu urged Abians to draw inspiration from the significance of the season which is “synonymous with fresh hopes and a brighter tomorrow.”
“Easter signifies the victory of light over darkness, of life over death, and of hope over despair.
“The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after three days bears a message that forms the foundation of our Christian faith and for us in Abia State, it is a clear indication that after darkness comes a glorious dawn,” he said.
The governor assured the people that Abia is on a journey towards rediscovery to a “destination that is sure and settled – the Abia of our dreams”.
He thanked Abians for their perseverance and support for his administration, assuring them that he will remain relentless in the pursuit of a better Abia.
Ikpeazu, on behalf of his family, wished the people a beautiful Easter season filled with the blessings of God Almighty.
Zulum preaches tolerance
Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, in an Easter message, said tolerance led to peaceful coexistence among followers of different religions in the state despite the rage of insurgency.
In a statement by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, the governor said he was proud of Christians and Muslims for maintaining peaceful coexistence in all the 27 local government areas of the state, despite facing tough situations from Boko Haram whose fighters had undertaken numerous attacks on places of worship since 2009.
He said, “As Christians all over the world mark this year’s Easter celebration, which began Friday, I felicitate with my Christian brothers and sisters in Borno State.
“A season like this which calls for deep and shared reflection on our lives, in general, should remind us of not just the challenges we continually face, but also be grateful for some accomplishments we have made together as citizens with equal stakes in the Borno project.
“For me, one great accomplishment recorded in Borno State is the peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians across the 27 local government areas despite being faced with all manner of inciting tactics deployed by those who wish to knock our heads.”
The governor commended the traditional rulers, elders and religious leaders of both faiths, for being role models to younger ones and said the government was continually committed to sustaining the bond of peace, and finding a lasting end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Show love, Emmanuel charges
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, also called on citizens to showcase love, unity and togetherness as Christians worldwide commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Emmanuel, who said the death of Jesus Christ bothers on sacrifice, urged the people to let love drive their actions, and heal themselves of all forms of selfishness and ethnicity.
Speaking on Sunday in Uyo during his Easter message to the state, the governor described Jesus Christ as the captain of his administration, saying the state has been receiving many accolades for its developmental strides.
The governor, who stated that Akwa Ibom was recently declared as Nigeria’s Top Tourist State in 2020, however, lamented that many people were still spreading falsehood about the state, and urged them to stop playing politics with development.
He said, “These inspiring lessons make Easter the most important event in the Christian faith. They provide us with vital lessons in sacrifice and love and speak to us about the need to place the common good above common greed.
“We can, and should, use this season to heal ourselves of all selfish instincts, the spirit of division and rabid ethnicism.
“We should use this season to strengthen our shared commitment to our dear state, to our God and to our communities. Let us spare a moment in this blessed season of hope to pray for our state, our nation and the world.
‘Embark on prayers’
Similarly, the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Y. Suleiman, has urged Christians in Bauchi State and all over the country to embark on fervent prayer to Almighty God so that Nigeria will go out of many social problems, especially in the areas of security and economy.
In his Easter message to the Christian Community yesterday in Bauchi, the Speaker described the Easter period as a time for love, brotherhood and forgiveness.
“We always appreciate the role religious organisations play in curbing social problems and spiritual interventions in nation-building and national unity. At this time when the country is at a crossroad, we should all repent and devote to the worship of the Almighty God so that our country will be blessed and our problems wiped away.”
Suleiman, who acknowledged the contributions of the Christian faithful in preaching the gospel of peace and national development and cohesion, expressed hope that they will redouble their sacrifices and commitment in that respect.
The Speaker assured of the commitment of the Bauchi State House of Assembly in making laws and resolutions that will ensure effective delivery of democratic dividends to all citizens of the state irrespective of religious affiliation.
Easter period of hope – Bishop
The President, Co-chair Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Bishop Dr Sunday Onuoha, has described Easter as a period of hope, calling on the Federal Government to give hope to Leah Shuaibu who is still under Boko Haram’s captivity.
The Methodist Bishop in his Easter message titled “Easter, A Season of Hope” said the season can only make meaning to the majority of Nigerians if the poor young girl Leah Shuaibu has been dehumanized, tortured and ostracized is freed from her captors and reunited with her family.
The Global Peace Award Winner 2013 said since Easter signifies freedom from pain and torture, many Nigerians are pleading with the Federal Government to channel resources towards freeing Leah whose fate has been shattered, adding that to many, Easter can only make meaning if this feat is achieved.
Bishop Onuoha also urged Nigerians irrespective of faith, language, or creed to pray for the continued peace of the country, stressing that Nigeria is passing through turbulent moments which require prayers from all and sundry for it to be surmounted.
He advised Nigerians to celebrate with decorum, bearing in mind that the season is not a time to throw parties around, but a time to commit all the problems bedevilling the country into God’s care.
PRP tasks on unity
In the same vein, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has urged Nigerians to use the occasion of Easter to imbibe the culture of living in unity and tolerance for one another.
The National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Falalu Bello, said on Sunday in a statement that Jesus Christ had lived in peace and harmony with his contemporaries, stressing that It is incumbent upon all Nigerians to live by his noble examples.
“We have witnessed a lot of political manifestoes and the manifestation of severity. Our agitation and desperation to break out of the vicious circle of bad governance occasioned by our selfish leaders in the past had dragged us into a quagmire of deception.
“We are all aware of the current pack of wolves who came in the robe of Messiahs to deceive us.
“We should not allow this negative experience to repeat itself in the future,” Bello said.
He said that all Nigerians, from all faiths, regions and tribes are victims of bad governance that has been ravaging Nigeria for long, adding that everyone should not continue allowing bad leaders at all levels to keep dividing them along ethnoreligious and sectional lines.
“We should be patriotic and tolerant of fellow citizens regardless of their tribes, religions, sections or social classes,” Bello said.
By Muideen Olaniyi, Abbas Jimoh (Abuja), Linus Effiong (Umuahia), Misbahu Bashir (Maiduguri), Iniabasi Umo (Uyo), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi) & Linus Effiong (Umuahia)