AS Nigerians join others globally to celebrate the 2014 Christmas, President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark; Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal and governors in the country have felicitated with them, with calls for peace in the country.
President Jonathan, in his Christmas message, called for prayers for peace in the country, adding that the inculcation of peaceful co-existence by the people would help the country to overcome its present challenges.
In a message made available to State House correspondents in Abuja, on Tuesday, the president also called on politicians to engage in issue-based campaign and refrain from hateful comments.
He promised to provide the necessary support to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enable it deliver a free and fair election next year.
Giving thanks to God over the divine gift of Jesus Christ the Messiah, he expressed his belief that it was very appropriate that “we all, Christians and non-Christians alike, reflect more deeply on the virtues and ideals which the Messiah espoused during his earthly mission.
“To my mind, there can be no doubt that the greater internalisation of the virtues of love for our fellowmen, tolerance, godliness, honesty, fairness to others, selflessness, and peaceful co-existence with others, by all adult Nigerians, and the inculcation of the same in our youths, will definitely help our dear nation to overcome most of its present challenges.”
The president said as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, “I urge all Nigerians to offer special prayers for a greater manifestation of divine peace in our country and the vanquishing of all demons of hatred, divisiveness and disunity in our midst.”
Senate President, Mark, on Wednesday, said only peace, respect for one another and harmonious coexistence among Nigerians could guarantee the needed growth and development in the country.
In a goodwill message to Nigerians, the Senate president said Nigerians should endeavour to live in peace and ensure religious tolerance at all times.
He said doing this would provide the needed elixir for all Nigerians to think and act with unity of purpose under one God, while ensuring peace and love for one another.
He condemned what he called the unabated insecurity; terrorism and insurgency ravaging Nigeria and pleaded with religious leaders and traditional rulers to collaborate with government at all levels in order to end the menace.
“My appeal as always to those who have taken up arms against the nation is to give peace a chance. No matter their grievances, they should by now realise that any matter that cannot be resolved on the dialogue table cannot be addressed through the barrels of the gun or bomb blasts.
“It is time wise counsel prevails. It is time we end the hostilities. It is time we love ourselves as God loves us.,” he said.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Tambuwal, urged Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Christmas to pray for the successful conduct of the 2015 general election.
In a message to commemorate by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal equally enjoined Nigerians to seek God’s intervention for the end of the current security challenges confronting the nation.
He said despite the current difficulties confronting the nation, a new dawn was about to set forth in the country.
“We should all pray for the successful conduct of the 2015 general election, because candidates who emerged through free, fair and credible exercise are more likely to serve the interest of the nation.
“The coming elections provide an opportunity for our country to start afresh. I am confident we will get it right,” the Speaker added.
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress for 2015 election, General Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, urged Christians to eschew hatred, but share the love that binds all Nigerians together, despite the current general hardship in the country.
He promised a rosy Christmas in 2015 if elected president.
In a message signed by the Director, Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr Dele Alake, the former head of state said the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ symbolised peace, love and togetherness to mankind.
In the message, entitled, “let’s share love and eschew hatred this season,” he also reminded all Nigerians of the exemplary life of Jesus Christ and the ordinary yet spectacular circumstances of his birth.
Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday, enjoined Nigerians to embrace the virtues of peaceful coexistence and refrain from fanning the embers of disunity.
The governor, in his Christmas message to the residents of the state, maintained that as the 2015 general election approaches, it is only through peaceful co-existence that Nigeria could make the desired progress.
“I urge you to continue in this vein, for it is only by living in peaceful and harmonious co-existence, by respecting each other’s right to live freely and peacefully and by being our brothers’ keepers that we are truly celebrating the essence of Christmas,” he reiterated.
While appealing for vigilance from the people during the 2015 elections, he said the people must be assertive in ensuring that irrespective of the frustrations that they might be going through, they must exercise their civic rights and vote rightly.
He said the security challenges facing the country should not be used as an avenue to create division along ethnic and religious lines by some politicians, who are blanketly engaging in name-calling of political opponents.
Governor Fashola said Nigeria had always been a heterogeneous nation, while charging the people to resist any attempt by any leader to highlight such ethnic differences to further their selfish ends.
“The period of Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ who is the symbol of Christianity and the harbinger of peace, love and good tidings and there is no better way to celebrate the season than by showing love and being our brother’s keeper,” he said.
Osun State governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, urged Christians and Nigerians of other faiths to take advantage of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to pray for peace and the sustainability of a one Nigeria, free from the carnage of insurgency.
He also tasked all and sundry, irrespective of political inclinations, to pray fervently for the success of 2015 general election.
In a Christmas message signed by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Osun State, Mr Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola implored Christians to reflect and re-dedicate themselves to the teachings and lifestyle of Christ, which were anchored on sacrifice, love, peace and truth.
Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, while felicitating with the Christian community, admonished them to imbibe the spirit of togetherness, peaceful co-existence and love towards one another, which the birth of Jesus Christ represented.
The governor, in his goodwill message, said Nigerians could only thrive, while the country could only achieve the desired greatness in an atmosphere of peace and love.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo, Ajimobi also called on members of the political class to exhibit high sense of political maturity and nationalism in their conducts, preparatory to the forthcoming general election.
While congratulating Christians, Governor Ajimobi urged them to use the occasion of Christmas to pray for the peace, progress, economic emancipation of the country and success of the forthcoming general election.
Kwara State governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, on his part, advised Christians to use the period of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to preach national unity, love and understanding, as ways of healing the pains and anguish in the land.
Ahmed, who also advised that the period should be used to pray for peace, noted that Christians should use the Yuletide as a season of showing love, especially to the needy.
These were contained in a Christmas message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, adding that Nigerians must always project the virtues of humility, self denial and brotherliness, which are the hallmarks of the teachings of Christianity and other religion.
Governor Ahmed commended Christian leaders in the state for promoting religious harmony through their messages, stressing that such purposefulness should be maintained as Nigerians looked forward to the historic 2015.
Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, called on Nigerians, especially Christians, to embrace peace and harmony.
Amosun, in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Funmi Wakama, also called for prayers as the country prepares for the 2015 general election.
Governor Amosun noted that fervent prayers of the faithful would assist the country to overcome the insurgency and bloodletting as being experienced in some areas in the northern part of the country.
The governor also urged parents to be vigilant and ensure that their children and wards were not used as tools for violence during campaigns and the forthcoming elections in the state.
Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State urged Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Yuletide to renew their commitment to the promotion of values of tolerance, brotherhood and unity among all groups in the country.
Chime, who stated this in a message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Chukwudi Achife, said the celebrations offered Nigerians the opportunity to reflect on God’s love and compassion for mankind, as demonstrated by the gift of his begotten son for the salvation of the world.
He said such reflections would help Nigerians understand the need to respect one another’s rights, especially the right to life and also the right to peaceful co-existence with their neighbours.
“As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the joy it brings to the world, we must urge ourselves to use this to rededicate ourselves to values that promote peace, tolerance, brotherhood and unity among all Nigerians,” the governor said.
Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, in his Christmas message, said he was optimistic 2015 would be peaceful.
He charged Nigerians to desist from negative comments about the nation, in order for Nigeria to move forward, even as he enjoined Christians to remain committed to the ideals of Christmas.
In his goodwill message at Christmas, Mimiko said Nigeria needed love to prosper, adding that the celebration of Christmas was an opportunity to share and exhibit love for one another.
He implored all to strive towards a peaceful nation where the citizens could relate in genuine love and work together to move the nation forward.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State called on Christians to imbibe the spirit of oneness and political tolerance as they celebrate this year’s Christmas.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, David Iyofor, Amaechi enjoined Christian faithful to be fervent in praying for Nigeria to achieve the desired change the country yearns for in 2015.
He urged Christians across the country to emulate the virtues of Christ, noting that in peace, strength and unity, Nigeria would be the envy of other African nations.
“As we celebrate the birth of Christ, I want to call on all Nigerians, particularly my fellow Christians and Rivers people, to be peaceful and show love to everyone, irrespective of their religious or political background.
“The reason for this season is nothing other than to show love to our neighbours and live in unity,” he said.
Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State called on youths and politicians to shun acts of violence and remain law abiding as the 2015 general election approaches.
Governor Suswam, in his Christmas message to the people of Benue State and Nigerians generally, also called on Nigerians, irrespective of their religion, to stand by President Goodluck Jonathan to fight the global scourge of terrorism.
In the Christmas message, signed by his media aide, Mr James Uloko, the governor, while felicitating with Christian community on the occasion marking the birth of Jesus Christ, charged Christians to rededicate themselves to core Christian values which emphasise love, forgiveness and salvation of mankind.
Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, on his part, enjoined Christians to reflect on the significance of Christmas, brought about by the birth of Jesus Christ and its redemptive hope for humanity.
In a goodwill message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Christian Ita, Governor Imoke urged Christians to use the opportunity of the Christmas celebration to rededicate themselves to the values of love, peace, sacrifice and tolerance, as embodied in the birth of the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
According to Governor Imoke, “today is unique, unique in the sense that it represents hope and a new beginning. So, as we celebrate this Christmas, let us reflect on the significance of the season to extend our hearts to one another.”
Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayo Fayose, called on the people of the state to use the period to reflect on the past, present and the future of the state.
The governor, in his Christmas message to the people of the state, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, also enjoined all and sundry to see that the importance of the birth of Jesus Christ, which is to save the whole world.
Fayose asked for the cooperation of the people of the state as he continued to meet their yearnings, which he said he was determined to maintain in this administration.
Kaduna State governor, Dr Ramalan Yero, on Wednesday, called on the entire Christian community in the state to use the Christmas season in praying for peaceful conduct of 2015 election.
In a goodwill message to the people of the state, signed by his spokesperson, Mallam Ahmed Maiyaki, the governor called on the entire citizens, especially Christians, to use the period for sober reflection on the message of peace, love and salvation to mankind through the birth of Jesus Christ.
The governor also called for prayers for immediate end to the current insurgency going on in some parts of the country, while urging adherents of the two main religions to continue to live in harmony.