Some Nigerian leaders on Monday (Christmas day) advised Nigerians especially the Christians to emulate the sacrificial life of Christ by demonstrating love and tolerance towards each other to achieve a better Nigeria.
The President of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki, said the season affords Nigerians the opportunity to pray and work towards a greater Nigeria.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, Mr. Saraki also urged Christians to use the festive occasion to pray for unity, peace and prosperity of Nigeria.
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,” Mr. Saraki said.
Similarly, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, urged Nigerians, particularly Christians, to spread love to their neighbours and remember the underprivileged as they celebrate Christmas.
In a statement to mark Christmas, Mr. Dogara said Jesus Christ was an embodiment of sacrificial love.
He said when Nigerians begin to exhibit unconditional love to one another, the impact will bring about a positive change that will lead to unity and development which will move the nation forward.
“As we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, 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
“We should bear in mind that the greatest command Jesus gave to his followers is to love one another. Not only does this have spiritual benefits, it will also make Nigeria a better place because love overcomes all things including hatred, violence and other vices,” he said.
Also, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, felicitated with Nigerians, particularly Christians at the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Mr. Ambode in a statement by his chief press secretary, Habib Aruna, urged Nigerians to use the period of Christmas to rekindle acts of love, kindness to one another and to the vulnerable in the society.
He said the season symbolises love, care and compassion for persons, especially the weak, vulnerable and less-privileged.
“This season is another opportunity to increase our acts of kindness and touch the less privileged in our society,” he said.
Also in a statement by his spokesperson, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, in his Christmas message, urged Nigerians to pray and support their leaders as they strive to find lasting solution to the myriad of challenges confronting the nation
Mr. Tambuwal also called on Nigerians to continue to reflect on positive tenets that unite the nation and strengthen the polity.
“This period calls for introspection and continued prayers for our dear nation.
“On behalf of the people and Government of Sokoto State, I wish all Nigerians, especially those of Christian faith, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ahead,” he said.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s Christmas, saying it is a season to celebrate peaceful co-existence and show love to one another.
The governor’s message was contained in a statement on Sunday in Asaba by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu. He tasked Christians to offer special prayers during the yuletide for greater peace, love, unity, peaceful co-existence and progress of Nigeria.
“I call on all Christians; indeed, all Deltans and all residents in Delta State, to reflect on the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ in their lives and activities so that Nigeria and indeed the world would be a better place for all of us.
“I wish all Deltans and indeed all Nigerians, a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year in advance as I pray for the warmth of God’s love to fill every heart and home,” he said.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, In a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Francis Agbo, urged Nigerians to live a Christ-like life, which he noted was a life of sacrifice, selfless service, love and forgiveness.
He called on Nigerians to use the Christmas celebration to intensify prayers for the peace and security of the state and the nation in general.
Mr. Dickson also called on political leaders to 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,” he said.
The Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, urged Christians to exhibit the spirit of peace, love and forgiveness, all through the Christmas celebration and beyond.
Mr. Amosun in a Christmas message by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Adedayo Adeneye, noted that these were the values that Jesus Christ preached and exhibited all through his sojourn on earth.
“As we mark the Christmas, all true Christians must remember the reason for the season as well as the person, whose birth we are celebrating, who is Jesus Christ,” he said.
Similarly, former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, in a Christmas message urged Nigerians to keep their hope alive despite challenges facing the nation and the world at large.
He stated this in a statement signed by his media aid, Ayomide Giwa, where he asked Christians and Nigerians to rediscover themselves and dedicate themselves to love.
“Christmas was the time to rediscover and rededicate ourselves to love, peace, unity, equity and justice.
“The lessons of humility, selflessness, love and simplicity learnt from the birth of Jesus, should be our guiding principles,” he said.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, called on Nigerians to celebrate this year’s Christmas with love and trust.
He urged Christians to celebrate beyond mere merriment of the yuletide by abiding in Jesus Christ whom he described as the reason for the season.
Mr. Umahi called on Christians to use the solemnity of the remembrance of Jesus symbolised by Christmas to show love and accommodation to every other tribe and faith as demonstrated by Christ.
The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, in his Christmas message enjoined Nigerians to shower cash and gifts on the less-privileged this festive season to enable vulnerable compatriots have a feel of Christmas celebration.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, the governor urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of true love and sacrifice which the life and times of Jesus Christ epitomised.
Mr. Ajimobi urged Christians to use the opportunity of the season to pray for the country’s economic turnaround and political leaders to surmount the challenges assailing the country.
“I congratulate our Christian brothers and sisters on the Christmas celebration.”
“As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I enjoin all to imbibe the spirit of true love and sacrifice for one another.”
In his Christmas message, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress and former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, urged Nigerians to learn from the example of Jesus Christ “who faced and overcame the greatest evil” by uniting to overcome our challenges
He also called for support for President Muhammadu Buhari so that the country can overcome its current challenges.
“Today, 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 truths eternal”
“This Christmas, let us acknowledge his birth but let us also give that acknowledgement its fullest meaning by recognizing how Jesus lived and what he lived for. 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,” Mr. Tinubu said.