President Muhammadu Buhari declared yesterday that the dark days of elections being manipulated and rigged by corrupt politicians and their agents in Nigeria are over.
In his Easter message to Nigerians, President Buhari also appealed to politicians to resist any act that is capable of jeopardising the electoral process.
He said, “As we approach the period of campaigns, I appeal to our political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of our electoral process.
“I am optimistic that with God on our side, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over.
“They are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong. I remain committed to bequeathing a legacy of supremacy of the people’s will through the ballot box”.
The president also commended those who recognise and support government’s unwavering efforts to prevent the spread of conflicts in the country, “check wanton criminality and the taking of innocent lives; unite the country; and steer the ship of state to a steady path of economic growth, job creation and development”.
Enjoining law-abiding fellow compatriots to work for peace and social justice in Nigeria, President Buhari warned that his administration’s resolve to firmly resist others who may want to make cheap political capital out of current national security challenges should be taken for granted.
The president also noted that his administration’s programmes and policies in the last three years had resulted in bringing down the prices of staple crops, “gradual improvement of road, rail and electricity infrastructure; and making Nigeria the preferred destination for investors”.
More than ever before, Buhari said the federal government is ready to consolidate on these gains and ensure that they improve the lot of communities in the years ahead.
“Thankfully, our Dapchi schoolgirls who were safely released recently after 30 agonizing days in the hands of their abductors, have been reunited with their families,” he said.
He expressed optimistism that all others, including the Chibok girls who are still in captivity will be safely released unconditionally to their families, even as he urged Nigerians to continue to pray for their safe return.
He added: “In the meantime, I have given clear instructions to our security agencies to prioritise safety in schools in areas where the humanitarian and security situation are still dire, in addition to ensuring adequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
While joining Christian faithful to commemorate this year’s Easter celebration, Buhari thanked the Almighty God for granting Nigerians the opportunity to celebrate another Easter at a time of great promise and hope for the nation, despite the challenges it faces.
Buhari observed that Easter, the season in which Christians mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, represents the triumph of good over evil and life over death, adding that it is also a time to show love, forgiveness, compassion and renewed hope in the Grace of God.
He pointed out that the Holy Scripture affirms that happiness and fulfillment in life do not flow from acquiring the best things in life, but in being richer in a relationship with God and fellow human beings.
He stated: “Let us use the opportunity of this special season to deeply reflect on how every one of us can imbibe the profound teachings of Jesus Christ with renewed vigour.
“In so doing and by placing the joy, comfort and happiness of others above ours, we will make a statement that vices such as, hate speech, bigotry, corruption, banditry and terrorism have no place in our nation.
“ We must do all it takes to love our neighbours and display increased spirit of tolerance and accommodation.
“May this year’s Easter celebration bring us renewed hope and confidence as a great nation”.
Let’s Emulate Virtues Of Christ, Saraki Urges Nigerians
On his part, Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday called on Christians and Nigerians across the nation to work towards emulating the virtues of Jesus Christ as epitomised by his passion, persecution, death and resurrection during Easter.
In a message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, Saraki also stated that all Nigerians must remain constant in their efforts to promote unity across all lines.
He noted that it is imperative for all Nigerians to come together in order to build a country that both present and future generations can take pride in just like the work of Christ which has endured for over 2000 years and has continued to inspire generations.
Saraki stated: “This weekend, we join our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria and across the world to celebrate the Easter festivities. This commemoration is a time for deep reflection as it marks the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. It is a time to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need.
“It is also a time for all of us — regardless of faith, or ethnicity — to come together to pray for the peace of our nation. We must all remain constant in our efforts to promote unity — across all lines — because united, our nation remains stronger and we thrive as a people.
“As we do this, we must all collectively work towards playing our part in the development of our nation and its economy,” he said.