Abuja, Dec. 25, 2017 (TNE) Christians and their fellow non-Christians gather all over the world to, once, again, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, an annual ritual.
Messages from temporal and spiritual leaders fly in torrents across the globe in commemoration of the event while text messages flow in volumes from individuals to loved ones.
The privileged ones also share their materials with the under-privileged.
As usual, the Nigerian political leaders ranging from the executive, legislative and the judicial arms of government to political juggernauts and clerics are being dispatched to the citizens, and among them are these:
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has felicitated with Christian faithful in the country as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ as symbolised by the Christmas festivities.
Saraki also urged Christians to use the festive occasion to pray for unity, peace and prosperity of the country.
He called on Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the service of humanity in line with the true teachings of Jesus Christ which emphasises tolerance, patience, brotherly kindness, care for the needy and love for one another, among other virtues.
“The Yuletide season presents us an opportunity once more to love, share and forgive. I urge all Nigerians to utilise the period to pray for unity, peace and prosperity in the nation.
“We must also rededicate ourselves to the true virtues of faith in God, love for one another, honesty and peaceful co-existence. It is time to make these virtues more evident and practical in our daily lives,” Saraki said.
Saraki also said that the Senate and indeed the National Assembly will continue to strive to make life more meaningful for all Nigerians.
He added that the legislature will always work assiduously to ensure that Nigeria takes its rightful global position through relevant legislations and timely interventions.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has urged Christians to show love to their neighbours and remember the underprivileged as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Dogara said the exhibition of unconditional love to one another will bring about positive change that will lead to unity and development of the country.
The speaker described Jesus Christ as an embodiment of sacrificial love as He gave up His life for the redemption of mankind.
“As we celebrate the birth of our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ, let us all remember that it is a time to spread the love of Christ with family, friends, neighbours and the underprivileged in the society.”
Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has urged Christians to use the Christmas celebration to intensify prayers for peace and security in Nigeria.
He urged Christians to live a Christ-like life, which he noted is a life of sacrifice, selfless service, love and forgiveness.
“The political leaders should also emulate Jesus Christ, who used his ministry for the good of all, by using their offices to advance the cause of the ordinary people.
“Service to man is service to God; he that serves man well, serves God well. Jesus Christ used his earthly ministry for the common good of humanity and above all, died for our sins.
“Our faith would have been in vain if Jesus had not sacrificed himself for us all.
“I therefore call on political actors and privileged Nigerians to always work for the good of the people and do things that would foster unity in the country,” the governor said.
The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, donated food items to Christians in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to celebrate Christmas.
The items include bags of rice, cartons of macaroni and spaghetti, Indomie noodles, bags of Samolina and other assorted items. She urged Christian communities to continue praying for peace, unity and progress of Nigeria.
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, has urged Nigerians to pray and support their leaders as they strive to find lasting solution to the myriad of challenges confronting the nation as well as to continue to reflect on positive tenets that unite the nation and strengthen the polity.
Gov. Kashim Shettima called on Nigerians to use the good teachings of Christmas to support the education of 52,000 children orphaned by Boko Haram insurgency in the state.
Shettima also called on people of the state to use the festive season to renew kindness to victims of the insurgency, particularly displaced persons, families of soldiers and volunteers, who lost their lives fighting the insurgents.
Shattima stressed the need for Christians to use the festive season and show love to victims of the insurgency on admission at hospitals and those taking shelter at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities.
The governor reiterated the commitments of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to end insurgency and fast track peace restoration to the northeast.
Shettima lauded the UN and other development organizations for their intervention aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
Gov. Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has urged Christian faithful to imbibe the message of the birth of Jesus Christ by showing love, affection and good neighborliness.
He also asked Christians to intensify prayers for the sustenance of peace, unity and prosperity of the state and Nigeria.
“As you are all aware, the birth of Jesus Christ symbolises humility, love and peace even as Jesus personifies selflessness, charity and reconciliation among humanity.”
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos has also urged Nigerians to use the period of Christmas to rekindle acts of love, kindness to one another and especially to the vulnerable in the society as the season symbolises love, care and compassion for persons, especially the weak, vulnerable and less-privileged.
“Christmas is a season that explains the depth of God’s love for mankind and exemplary sacrifice that we should emulate in our relationship with our neighbours irrespective of status and creed.
He said that the last 12 months brought about different challenging situations which combined to make both residents and the state stronger, just as he expressed optimism that Lagos will get even better in the New Year.
“Our hope is based on our unshaken faith in the grace of God, the solid foundation which we have laid in terms of infrastructure development and renewal.
“It is also based on the policies and programmes which we have put in place to positively impact on the social and economic well being of our people,” he said.
Ambode commended residents for the peaceful atmosphere the state had enjoyed over the years and urged them to emulate Jesus Christ and embrace peace and continue to pray for continued peace in the state.
The All Progressives Congress National Leader, Sen. Bola Tinubu, called on Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the country’s current economic challenges.
He urged Nigerians to learn from the example of Jesus Christ “who faced and overcame the greatest evil” by uniting to overcome the country’s various challenges.
”The challenges facing the country are difficult ones. Let us unite to overcome our challenges and keep the hope alive.
”We must support President Buhari and complement his efforts in his resolve to stimulate the economy and reposition the country.
”The president needs our support, understanding and prayers. We must fully break the terrorism of Boko Haram and completely put down the last vestiges of the terrorists.
”We must continue to pray for the men in uniform who risk their lives to keep us safe and to end this scourge on the nation. I commend our troops battling the terrorists. I thank them again for their courage and bravery.
”Let us remember those who have been dispossessed of their homes and traumatised by the evil of these terrorists and pray that they all will be able to return home soon and begin their lives a new and better.
“Yet, we must do more than pray. We all have something to give, something to contribute to the greater good. As Jesus gave of himself that we may live better, we must give of ourselves that others around us may have a better life,” he said.
Tinubu also urged Nigerians to reflect and recognise how Jesus lived and what he lived for while celebrating Christmas.
”Christmas Day, is one of the most precious days of the year for it celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
”Be you Christian, Muslim or just a human being with a soul that yearns for peace, compassion and hope, Jesus Christ belongs to all of us. His teachings are universal in application and speak of truth eternal.
”He reached out to all. Jesus fed the poor and healed the sick. He spread compassion and charity and preached love and justice. There are no finer aims than these and we can do no better than to do all we can to follow his example,“he said.
The leader urged Nigerians to embrace and spread the gospel of love, tolerance and forgiveness this season and into the New Year.
“We must commit ourselves to peace and unity. Let us eschew all bitterness and bigotry,” he said.