PRESIDENT of the Senate, David Mark, has called on all Nigerians, irrespective of religious affiliations, to use the season of Easter to forgive one another in the interest of peace and harmony.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the Senate President noted that Christ died on the cross of Calvary as a sacrificial lamb and as a demonstration of his love for mankind.
According to him, the intrinsic message in the death of Christ is that in spite of the pains and torments he went through, he forgave his accusers and prayed for his murderers.
He said: “There are lessons we must learn from the sacrifice Christ made on the Cross of Calvary. Though he was sinless, he was condemned for our iniquities, and despite the torments and pains he went through, he prayed for his accusers and murderers. We should emulate such virtue and have a forgiving spirit.”
The Senate President used the occasion to call on members of the Boko Haram sect and other aggrieved groups across the country to sheathe their swords and embrace peace and forgiveness, as one people and nation with a common destiny.
Once again, he condemned their incessant killing of innocent Nigerians to express grievances, stressing that it is ungodly and inhuman. He maintained that dialogue remains the best approach towards addressing any misgiving.
“Easter is a season of peace and sacrifice. It means we should live a life of sacrifice, forgiveness, reconciliation and love towards one another.”
Congratulating Christians across the country for a successful Lenten season, Mark urged them to use the period of Easter to remember the poor and the less privileged in the society.
“We have no other country than Nigeria. Therefore, we must do all we can to make the nation a better place.”
In his goodwill message to Christians at Easter, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, urged Christians to pray for the nation and imbibe Christ’s virtues of self-sacrifice and unconditional love for mankind.
Ekweremadu said: “A praying nation is a winning nation but we must match our prayers with good work, fervent patriotism and unconditional love for others, so as not to squander Christ’s sacrifice.
“At Easter, we must endeavour to resurrect bonds of love not dictated by ethnicity, tainted by religious bias or polluted by prejudice and political interests. We must revive a strong sense of patriotism such that will enables us to live in full consciousness of the fact that Nigeria is bigger than all of us.”
He wished the Christian faithful and indeed all Nigerians a merry and hitch-free Easter celebration.
Obi, Amaechi, Fashola Urge Nigerians To Emulate Christ’s Virtues
By Paul Adunwoke
GOVERNOR Peter Obi of Anambra State has called on Nigerians to emulate the Lord Jesus Christ at this Easter season and afterwards.
In his message, the governor said, “Easter is a period which calls for sacrifice, just as our Lord Jesus Christ exemplified when He shed His spirituality and assumed a human form in order to save humankind from sin and eternal damnation.”
He added that this singular action culminated in our Lord’s death on the Cross.
The governor, who reminded Christians and non-Christians alike that it is “the sacrifice and service offered by our Lord which brought Him to a glorious resurrection and exaltation”, urged all to take a cue from Him.
The governor urged political and other leaders live the life of Christ as they move to transform their constituencies, while displaying a high sense of humility, altruism and frugality.
On his part, Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, enjoined Christians to pray fervently for the nation and its leaders and take advantage of the Easter period to show love and forgiveness.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, he said the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a clear indication of the love of God for mankind and urged Christians to always emulate Jesus Christ and imbibe the virtues of love and forgiveness.
“Let me call on Christians to always pray for the growth of Nigeria. We should also remember that it was out of love that Christ died and forgave us of our sins. So, we should also learn to love and forgive one another. That’s a sure path to building a better nation,” Amaechi said.
Governor Fashola of Lagos State said the season reminds Nigerians of the selflessness, love and tolerance of Jesus Christ throughout His earthly sojourn, adding: “as we celebrate the Passiontide in sober recollection of Christ’s crucifixion, let us think about how we can each help to steer our nation back on the road to peace, by working in the spirit of oneness.”
Nigerians Must Not Despair, Says Uduaghan
From Hendrix Oliomogbe, Asaba
ON his part, Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, advised Nigerians not to despair in the face of the challenges confronting the country.
Uduaghan called on Christians to reflect on the import of Easter celebrations in their dealings, not only with other Christians, but also with people of other religions.
The governor said that Nigerians must eschew bitterness and all forms of violence, stressing that the progress, peace and security of the nation is anchored in good neighborliness and peaceful co-existence
According to Uduaghan, the major lesson of Easter is for Christians to rethink the reality of their faith, adding that as Christians, they should continue to uphold the principles of their religion as it relates to honesty, justice, integrity, accountability, compassion, selflessness and the pursuit of the common good.
The governor also used the celebration to draw the attention of Christians to the underlining message of the Cross, which he said must not be lost to the accompanying festivities.
Uduaghan said: “The passion and death of Jesus underscores the love of the Father who gave his only begotten son in love for us and the willingness of the Son to sacrifice himself for others to be liberated from the weight of sin. The story of Easter is that of relief that comes after anguish, pains, trauma, deprivations and sacrifices. Indeed, before the joy that heralds the glorious morning of resurrection, there was terror and thick darkness that were strong enough to swallow up the eventual joy of Easter. It is therefore necessary to remind us all that there is always a glorious dawn after darkness, and without the difficult challenges, the huge and irrepressible triumph of Easter would have been a fantasy.”
Similarly, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Victor Ochei, enjoined Deltans to perceive the Easter period as one of sober reflections, contrary to the hitherto notion of mere celebratory time.
Ochei said that the period is a time of sober reflection and disposition in people’s daily lives with the ultimate aspiration of making the society a better one.
He urged Christendom to relish in the significance of the Easter by imbibing and exhibiting the core virtues of humility, love, tolerance, sacrifice and spiritual renaissance, which our Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly sojourn depicted.
Ajimobi Wants End To Divisive Tendencies
GOVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State called on Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, togetherness and renewed commitment to Nigeria’s unity and peaceful co-existence.
The governor, in his Easter message issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, said that it is only in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility that Nigeria could witness all-round development.
He urged citizens to emulate Jesus Christ who offered himself as a living sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.
While congratulating Christians on the successful completion of the 40-day fasting, he said that they should use the occasion to reflect on the essence of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the opportunity it offeres them to be closer to their Creator.
“Easter is not about wining and dining. Rather, it is an occasion to realise that we need to love one another, as exhibited by God who, out of his love for mankind, offered Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to give life more abundantly.
“This being the case, we should now eschew any divisive tendency, violence and other things that are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ,” the governor said.
He also commended Christians, Muslims and other religious adherents in the state for their peaceful co-existence, urging them to continue in their prayers for his administration, so that the state could be taken to greater height.
Ajimobi also charged them not relent in their prayers for Nigeria in order for it to surmount security challenges currently confronting it.
Onaiyekan, Okpala Preach Love, Sacrifice
From Nkechi Onyedika, Abuja
CATHOLIC Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, urged Nigerians not to give up but continue to trust God who has power to address challenges confronting the country.
He urged political leaders to come up with defined action plans that would reassure Nigerians of better things to come.
Also, the Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Anglican Communion, Most Rev Godwin Okpala, appealed to Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and love for their neighbours and the country.
Okpala, who lamented that Nigeria is not truly a united country, urged Christians and Muslims to seek reconciliation, saying it is the only way forward.
The two clerics spoke in a telephone interview with The Guardian and called for concrete steps to address insecurity in the country and bring to an end the wanton killing of innocent Nigerians in some parts of the country.
Onaiyekan, who observed that a lot of tension is building up in the country, called on governments at all levels to do right things.
He said: “There is a lot of distress in the country. People are quite, but a lot of tension is building up. The army of unemployed youths in the country may not keep quite for a lot time. Our leaders should do the right thing. We are also praying for them.”
Easter Is For Sober Reflections –Prophet Osula
THE General Overseer of the Light of God Ministries Worldwide, Prophet Joyce Osula, has advised Christians to see the Easter season as reflective of the mission and sufferings of Jesus Christ and also appreciate the sacrifices He made for mankind.
Osula made the remark on Thursday in Lagos while chatting with newsmen on the significance of Easter.
He advised church leaders to be exemplary in their words and deeds.
He said: “I want to remind us that we are serving a living God and as leaders, we have to embrace humility and simplicity as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. You will remember that He washed the feet of His disciples. We should therefore shun pride, arrogance, deceit and pretence.”
He said that although every branch of Christianity has its perception of Easter, the fact remains that Christ was crucified and he died and resurrected on the third day and we are all celebrating His living. And this has served as hope and salvation for Christians.
It’s Time To Serve God, Humanity – Fayemi
EKITI State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, urged Christians to see Easter as an opportunity to offer a better service to God and mankind.
Fayemi in his Easter message, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said Jesus Christ who died for the sins of mankind paid the supreme price for the salvation of man.
He charged Christians to emulate the sacrificial nature of Jesus Christ by committing themselves to serve their Creator and fellow human beings better by exhibiting piety and love.
The governor congratulated Christians in the state for witnessing another Easter season. He also congratulated them for the successful completion of a 40-day fasting and prayers, which culminated in the Easter celebration.
Fayemi said that Easter offers Christians and adherents of other religions another opportunity for sober reflection.
The governor called for prayers for peace, prosperity and development of the state, which, according to him, is undergoing massive transformation in all key sectors.
He equally urged Christians to pray for Nigeria to overcome prevailing security challenges threatening the corporate existence of the country.
He commended Christians in the state for living in harmony with adherents of other religions. This, he said has contributed immensely to peace and harmony in the state.
The governor advised people of the state to be moderate in their celebration, saying the period is not meant for eating and drinking only but to reflect on the past, and hope for a better future.
Let’s Keep Hope Alive, Amosun Tells Nigerians
OGUN State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, called on Nigerians to keep hope alive in spite of the challenges confronting the nation.
He noted that the triumph of Jesus Christ over death is an assurance that with abiding faith in the power of the almighty God, we could always overcome our challenges and emerge victorious from every contest of life.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Funmi Wakama, Amosun said the Resurrection of Christ “is a testimony to the supremacy of God and offers hope of eternal life to those who dedicate their life to the service of God and humanity.”
The governor therefore called on all to repent of their sins and reconnect with God.
He urged Christian faithful to use the opportunity of the Easter season to reflect on the lessons of crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The governor praised the religious harmony in Ogun State and called on all Nigerians to tolerate one another and live in peace.
He wished the Christian faithful a happy celebration.
Nation Needs More Prayers, Says Saraki
From Abiodun Fagbemi (Ilorin)
FORMER Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki called for more prayers for the nation.
Saraki, now a Senator representing Kwara Central, spoke yesterday in Ilorin through his Social Media aide, Bamikole Omisore.
He said: “Easter is a highly significant celebration to mark the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, whom out of God’s love for the world, laid his life as a sacrifice.
“Let us join faith and sincerely pray for the progress of Nigeria in a fervent and heartfelt manner during this holy period. In our homes and worship centers across the country, let us emphatically pray for peace in our nation and all those who work for peace and reconciliation in various parts of Nigeria, our ambassadors and military serving abroad, leaders and the entire populace.
“We shouldn’t forget the central themes of this sacred occasion, which are love and sacrifice. Beyond this season, let us inject and share the tradition of love and sacrifice for our dear nation. To ensure the vision of a great nation, we need to share love and make sacrifice, just as Jesus Christ did, and give strong hope to the weak, and help the needy.
“On behalf of the people of Kwara Central and the Senate Committee on Environment, I say Happy Easter to our Christian brothers and sisters.”