As Christian faithful join their counterparts across the globe in celebrating Christmas to mark the birth of Jesus Christ today, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he won’t abandon the promises made to them.
In his Christmas message to Nigerians, the president noted that the present challenges are just a phase, saying it will soon be over.
He called on Nigerians to utilize the opportunity that the festive period brings to encourage themselves so that the machinations of the wicked ones in the country will find no place to thrive.
He 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.”
While rejoicing with Christians in Nigeria as they join fellow believers all over the world to celebrate the season, Buhari said it is a special period that brings people of the world together with one purpose to celebrate togetherness, joy, peace, and above all, to share love with one another through exchange of goodwill and gifts.
For the second Christmas running, Buhari noted that the world will not be able to celebrate as it used to in years past.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant debilitating impact, has remained with mankind, mutating and leaving in its wake devastating consequences on the economy, social interaction, and curtailing certain freedoms.
He said the silver lining, however, is that humanity had been able to rise up with one voice and purpos to confront the foisted conditions.
The president continued: “I want to use this opportunity to appeal to our dear citizens to embrace vaccination, which is the best scientifically known bulwark against the pandemic.
“Recent events have shown that vaccination greatly reduces the effects of the virus on the human body. I will also urge those that have taken the two doses to go ahead and take the booster as advised by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC).”
President Buhari commended the efforts of members of the PSC under the headship of the secretary to government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, as they continue to chart a roadmap out of the pandemic and associated issues.
On security, Buhari said despite the remarkable successes generally recorded, the government still has some challenges.
He noted: “Our courageous security forces, bolstered by the necessary support from this administration, daily confront the wicked ones amongst us, who continue to threaten the peace of the land.
“Recently, during the meeting with fellow Heads of State of the ECOWAS, I discussed the need to intensify efforts to jointly confront this menace causing instability in our sub-region.
“I am confident that with the renewed commitment and empowerment of our committed security personnel, all these issues which inflict pain and trauma on us will soon be history.
President Buhari further stated that the diversification of the economy embarked upon by his administration is yielding fruits.
He said, “We shall continue to create opportunities for our teeming youths to ventilate their tremendous energy. As we felicitate with family, friends, colleagues, associates, let us spare moments to reach out to the less privileged.
“Let us also pray and give words of encouragement to our gallant security personnel fulfilling their oaths to keep us safe. I assure my compatriots that this administration remains resolute at ensuring that the standard of living of the average Nigerian is elevated. On this note, I wish Nigerians Merry Christmas!”
Lawan, Mustapha, Governors, Others Preach Peaceful Co-existence
Also, president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; secretary to government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, state governors and other prominent Nigerians called on Nigerians to pray for peaceful co-existence as they celebrate Christmas.
Lawan said beyond the great merriment and thanksgiving, as well as the joy that have come to be associated with the season, Christmas reminds mankind of the humble birth, simple life, teachings and sacrificial love of Jesus Christ.
In a statement issued by his media adviser, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate president said, “This is the reason why the season is for practical demonstration of love and universal goodwill through giving to the needy and sharing with neighbours.
“However, as we celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day, Nigerians should engage only in activities that enhance peace and harmony in their immediate environment and beyond, in the true spirit of the season.
“Jesus Christ embodies selfless love, self-sacrifice, justice and peace, all of which virtues our country needs more than ever before as it marches through big challenges to sustain its democracy and development.
“Therefore, I enjoin us all to reflect on the significance of the season and recommit to these virtues for the benefit of our dear country Nigeria and mankind in general.
Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, while rejoicing with Nigerians, especially Christians, on the occasion of this year’s Christmas, said the period calls for sober reflection even as he enjoined Christians to pray for the country amidst challenges.
This is just as the minority caucus in the House urged Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Christmas to strengthen the bond of love for one another, renew their hope and intensify their prayers for a brighter future for our nation.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement, said the character of Jesus Christ, who is the main reason for the celebrations, should reflect in the life of every Christian.
He noted that the period also calls for unity of purpose among Nigerians, urging the citizens to be their brother’s keeper at all times.
Gbajabiamila said Nigeria was passing through a lot at the moment but that with the prayers of the citizens and their support, the leaders would be able to provide good direction.
On his part, SGF Boss Mustapha, described the birth of Jesus Christ as a blessing to mankind exemplified in his teaching of love, humility, forbearance, compassion and selflessness.
The SGF, in a statement by his media office, charged Christians to emulate the pattern of life of Jesus Christ by exhibiting love, unity, harmony and peaceful co-existence in their daily living.
He called on the Christendom to re-dedicate themselves to the will of God by eschewing violence, avarice, discord and all negative tendencies capable of dividing the nation.
While wishing Nigerians a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance, he reminded them of the need to continue to adhere to all Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs), including regular wearing of masks, washing of hands, social distancing and avoidance of unnecessary travels, in order to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
On his part, Gombe State governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has felicitated with the Christian community in the state, as they join other faithful all over the world to celebrate this year’s Christmas.
The governor, in a goodwill message made available by his director-general of Press Affairs, Ismaila Uba Misilli, 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 rededicate themselves and remain steadfast in prayers against all the challenges bedeviling the state and humanity in general.
“We are indeed in a trying moment but I am optimistic that with collective commitment, sacrifice and by turning to God through prayers we shall overcome all the trials and emerge stronger,” he noted.
The governor assured of his administration’s commitment to continue to initiate and execute policies and programmes that will impact positively on the lives of the citizenry and promote unity and peaceful coexistence in the state.
He said, “On this significant occasion of Christmas, I extend my best wishes to the Christian community and the entire people of the state. This period reminds us of God’s love for humanity and the need to uphold the virtues of compassion, tolerance and love.
“It also provides an opportunity for reinforcement of unity of purpose, bond of brotherhood and dedication in service to God and humanity as exemplified by Jesus Christ.”
In the same vein, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State urged Christian communities in the state to use the period of the Christmas celebration to reflect on the routine spiritual deeds in the last one year and pray to God for a better and prosperous Nigeria.
The governor, in his Goodwill message on the occasion, joined millions of Nigerians in congratulating Christians on this year’s Christmas celebration.
He tasked Christian brothers and sisters to extend hands of fraternity and fellowship to the adherents of other religions and to equally reflect on the life and times of Jesus Christ who used his lifetime to preach peace, honesty, love and tolerance for the maintenance of peace and security of mankind.
Also, Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, prayed God to make the festive period a joyful one for all.
The governor, in a statement by his chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, said the season brings back good memories of God’s faithfulness and love for all, irrespective of whatever cleavages.
Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, felicitated with Christians on Christmas celebration, calling on Kaduna residents to join hands with the government to make the state peaceful and safe for everyone by upholding peace and harmony.
In a statement he personally signed, el-Rufai called Christians and Muslims to emulate the example of Jesus Christ.
The governor said every citizen has a duty of personal responsibility as part of the collective action that is essential to curbing the spread of Covid-19.
El-Rufai, however, appealed to Kaduna residents to comply with the current public health regulations and practice personal responsibility by wearing facemasks, observing social distance, washing hands regularly with soap and water and avoiding large gatherings.
Also, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State congratulated Nigerian Christians for marking another Christmas, urging them to use the period to reflect on the hope and joy that the birth of Jesus Christ brings to humanity.
Lalong, in a message, said the occasion provides another opportunity for Nigerians to be inspired and eliminate all fears about the issues that stand against the unity and peace of the country, which is contrary to the message of hope that the birth of Christ ushered in for mankind.
In the Christmas message signed by Dr. Simon Makut Macham, his director of press and public affairs, the governor said the lifestyle of Jesus Christ clearly indicates that challenges are necessary for the process of development which applies to the various problems that Nigeria is confronting at the moment.
On his part, Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, charged Christians in Nigeria to reflect on the birth and virtues of Jesus Christ as they commence the celebration of the Christmas festival with moderation.
The governor called for a reflection on the birth and virtues of Christ Jesus.
In the governor’s Christmas message signed by his deputy chief press secretary, Linus Obogo, Ayade stated that “Christ is a symbol and personification of humility, peace, selflessness and sacrifice.”
The state governor noted that the birth of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, heralded a refreshing dawn to mankind.
“Christmas is not a day for merriment alone, it should also serve as a day for introspection, especially for Christians, as it is the day that comes with so many lessons,” he stated.
Also, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar urged Nigerians to be intentional in thinking good thoughts and sowing better seeds of harmony and unity in diversity.
Abubakar, in his Christmas message issued by his media office in Abuja, said the actions would make Nigeria greater today and in the future.
He said that as the world celebrates Christmas, which showcases the birth of Jesus Christ, Nigerians should embrace peace and unity at this period.
Also, the Former Governors Forum (FGF) tasked Nigerians to use the occasion of the anniversary of birth of Jesus Christ to reflect on national unity and seek new approaches to the numerous problems besetting the country.
In a Christmas message conveyed in a statement jointly signed by Forum chairman and the former governor of Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, and the executive secretary of the Forum, Prof. Tunde Esan, the FGF urged Nigerians to use the season to reach out to one another with love and joy.
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) joined Christians and all Nigerians in marking Christmas, urging Nigerians to use the season to give and show love to their fellow men, particularly the needy and vulnerable.
In a statement by national secretary of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, APC said, “In true essence of Christmas, the Party urges all to use the joyful season to give and show love to our fellow men, particularly the needy and vulnerable among us.
“The Party urges prayers and support for our selfless security and other essential services massively deployed around the country to ensure safe travel and yuletide festivities. We assure citizens of President Muhammadu Buhari government’s capacity, intent and urgency to check and contain all criminalities so that Nigerians can go about their legitimate activities across the country safely.
“As we visit and celebrate with family, friends and loved ones, the APC urges all to be mindful of the COVID-19 global pandemic, particularly the recent wave of the Omicron variant. We encourage citizens to take the widely available vaccines and adhere to public health protocols in order to halt the spread of the virus.”
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called on Nigerians to use the occasion of this year’s Christmas to further unite, show love to one another and reinforce their determination for a national rebirth in line with PDP’s mission to Rescue and Rebuild our nation from misrule.
National publicity secretary of the PDP, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, in a statement, said Christmas which marks the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to redeem humanity, presents us with a momentous opportunity to rekindle our hope and work together as one people under God to pull our dear nation out of the quagmire of the rudderless and inhumane APC government.
Also, minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), called on Christians to specifically make the fighting forces who are daily defending the nation’s territorial integrity their prayer point to emerge victorious in all campaigns across the country.
The Minister called for national prayer to put an end to all security challenges facing the country.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly, Yusuf Ibrahim Zailani, also felicitated with Christians during the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ (Christmas).
In ACF message signed by its chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, ACF said in the past twelve months, many Nigerians have experienced deep pains and trauma.
“We offer words of sympathy and condolence to them first and foremost. This has indeed been a YEAR OF HORRORS, a year of unparalleled bloodshed and mindless barbarism, almost leading all of us to a feeling of doom and despair. But as we celebrate Christmas, let hope defeat despair.
“Let us intensify our prayers, crying to GOD our Maker for mercy and compassion for only He has the power to clean our land of evil and inequity. May His WILL be done,” he prayed.
On his part, Chairman CAN Kaduna State chapter Rev. John Joseph Hayab said, Christmas is for everyone.
“It is a time for the old to learn from the young just like Jesus and the elders in the temple, it is a time for the weak to carry the strong just as Christ bore the burden of all of us, a time for the rich to be fed by the poor like Christ will feed multitude out of little,” he noted