President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Christians and other Nigerians on today’s joyous occasion of Christmas.
He said that as Christendom commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, Nigerians should imbibe and demonstrate the essence of the season, which are love and goodwill among all the ethnic groups in the country; giving and sharing; strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and good neighbourliness, and focusing on all that bind the citizens together as one united country.
The president further urged the faithful to shun actions that negate the spirit of the season.
Buhari pointed out that celebrating the spirit and virtues of Christmas needs not be a one-day affair, but rather, ought to continue into the New Year.
He, however, warned insurgents, terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers and economic saboteurs to retrace their steps or face the consequences.
Buhari, who gave the warning in his Christmas message to Nigerians, said that the armed forces, security and other law enforcement agencies were poised now to confront and defeat them.
He said: “It is in line with the spirit of Christmas that I call on all elements whose actions are opposed to what the season represents, especially, insurgents, terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers and economic saboteurs, to retrace their steps and join people of goodwill and common humanity.
“If they fail to heed this call, they will meet their end as the armed forces, security and law enforcement agencies are poised now to confront and defeat them.
“Our people must make extra efforts to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours, irrespective of differences.
“While it is gladdening to note that incidents of violence and conflicts have reduced drastically owing to the several operations embarked on by our security agencies, we must not let our guards down.
“As Christmas indicates good tidings of hope and redemption.”
The president said that Nigerians can look forward to a turnaround in the administration’s priority areas of fighting corruption, providing security, economic diversification, job creation and infrastructure upgrade.
“Let me use this occasion to once more thank the leadership and members of the National Assembly for the speedy consideration and passage of the 2020 budget proposals.
“We are confident that this new era of cordiality and cooperation between the executive and the legislature will fast-track our collective commitment to giving our people better life and governance.
“As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember to pray for members of our armed forces and other security agencies who are making so much sacrifice to protect us from people of evil intent. We should also extend love to the families of those whose bread-winners made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their fatherland.
“I appeal to motorists to drive with care this festive season, while road safety and security officials should ensure compliance with safety measures to avoid needless accidents and attendant loss of life and property.
“I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a more fulfilling New Year 2020.” Buhari stated.
The Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, also felicitated with Nigerians, particularly the Christian faithful on the Christmas and New Year festivities.
In a statement he personally signed, Lawan urged Christians and other Nigerians not forget the essence of the season, which is a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ and the ideals for which he lived.
He said: “The birth of Jesus Christ is a great example of humility. He lived and preached peace, love, tolerance and self-sacrifice, and left mankind with the hope of eternal joy. These virtues transcend religion and deserve to be embraced by all Nigerians especially as we go through the challenges of nation-building and development.”
Atiku Urges Love Among Nigerians
Former vice president and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, admonished Nigerians to allow love and hope be their guiding principles as they mark the festivals.
Atiku stated this in a statement where he congratulated the Christian community in Nigeria on the occasion of this year’s Christmas celebrations.
In the statement signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe, Atiku said that Nigerians, notably the Christians, should be thankful to God that the Christmas festivities, heralding the birth of Jesus Christ, had come again.
The Waziri Adamawa said that “love is the conqueror of all things, including the challenges and tribulations that befell many people during the year and that having come thus far to celebrate Christmas; hope should remain the watchword of the faithful that the future would be better.”
Governors Preach Peace, Extol Christ‘s Virtues
Also yesterday, some state governors congratulated Christians on the event and appealed to them to embrace the virtues that Jesus Christ bequeathed to humanity.
Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, described Jesus Christ as one of the greatest unifying figures in the history of mankind and signifies “salvation, peace and goodwill to humanity.”
He stated this in his special Christmas message to the people of the state where he enjoined them to see the period as a fitting time to renew their sense of wonders at the events surrounding Christ‘s birth in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.
Governor Bello also urged them to reflect on the joy and peace the world enjoyed on the first Christmas where the wise men from afar and shepherds from nearby hills, representing all classes of men, joined angels from heaven to herald the arrival of Christ.
His Niger State counterpart, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, admonished Christians to celebrate the occasion, reflecting on the true essence of life and creation generally.
In a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Mrs. Mary Noel Berje, the governor stated that “in this period of love as exemplified by the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is the need for all Christians to show love and share with their neighbours especially the less privileged for a peaceful and prosperous society.”
Sani Bello also urged Christians to emulate the exemplary lifestyle of Jesus Christ, who during his mission on earth, was an embodiment of “love, peace, tolerance, compassion and empathy for the weak and ultimately laid down his life for humanity to thrive.”
Also, Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, charged Nigerians to show love and reflect on the teachings of Jesus Christ as they mark the Christmas celebration.
The governor, in a statement he issued on the ceremony, said: “On behalf of the government of Edo State, I rejoice with all Edo people, at home and in the diaspora as well as residents, as we celebrate Christmas. Christmas season is an auspicious occasion to show love and reflect on the life of Jesus Christ, whose birth we are commemorating.
“As we celebrate with our friends, relatives and neighbours, I enjoin you to spread the message of oneness, love, generosity and hope for greater things as demonstrated by Jesus Christ,” he added.
From Kwara State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq asked Nigerians, especially Christians to use the occasion of celebrating Christmas to imbibe the spirit of love, God’s omniscience and service to humanity associated with the birth of Christ.
AbduRazaq, in a statement by his chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, said: “Notwithstanding our differences, we are all from Adam and one lesson from this season (the birth of Christ) is the need to love and look after one another. We should think always about the legacy of love, mutual respect, and willingness to help one another in good or hard times.
“We call on Nigerians, especially Kwarans, to do more to foster love and peace this season and beyond because a major selling point of the state is the calm and peaceful disposition of our people. We also call for continuous mutual respect and understanding within the faith community and not allow anyone to cause disaffection in the state,” he said.
The Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade, also charged Christians to use this year’s Christmas celebration to reaffirm their love and compassion for one another.
Ayade said that they should reflect on the importance of the birth of the saviour, Jesus Christ and its redemptive hope to billions of people around the world and reignite the flame of love exemplified in Christ’s birth.
In a special goodwill message signed by his deputy chief press secretary, Mr. Linus Obogo, the governor called on Christians to use the celebration to rededicate themselves to the values of love, peace, sacrifice and tolerance as necessary ingredients for a peaceful coexistence.
Ayade said: “Christmas underpins the redemptive role of Christ to mankind, just as it stresses the pivotal place of sacrifice necessary for a peaceful and harmonious world. So, as Christians, we must remind ourselves that love is the first requirement for a better and peaceful world.”
CAN Felicitates With Christians At Christmas
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in its message with Nigerians on the birth of Jesus Christ tasked Christians to use the festive occasion to pray for unity, peace, and the prosperity of Nigeria.
“I urge governments at all levels to look for ways of cushioning the effects of the economic hardships in the land,” he said. Adding that God is aware of the pains of Christians and is doing something about it. He prayed that joy shall come in the morning for the people in the name of Jesus.
“Christmas is a season of joy and happiness when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but things are pretty difficult, people are experiencing lean times; untold hardship in many countries including Nigeria. My prayers for all the families includes divine provision as He promises us in His Word (Philippians 4:19),’’ he said.
He urged Nigerians not to engage in any crime or criminality to celebrate Christmas.
ACF Tasks Nigerians On Peaceful Coexistence
The apex northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, love and peaceful coexistence during and after the Christmas celebration.
ACF, in a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, noted that 25th December of every year commemorates the birthday of Jesus Christ, the messiah during which Christians worldwide celebrate with joy, good neighbourliness and love that the saviour is born for the common good of the society.
It appealed to Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ namely: tolerance, love, good neighbourliness and peaceful coexistence that come with the core value of humanity.