Govt, others urge hope at Xmas

Jonathan also urged Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the quick recovery of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who is attending to his health in Saudi Arabia.

In a Christmas message, the Vice President urged them to eschew vainglory, but continue to delight in the indomitable Nigerian spirit and be agents of positive change.

He specifically called on Christians to ponder the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ, embrace spiritual rebirth and pray for the peace and stability of the nation.

Part of the Christmas message reads: “This Christmas, my family and I join millions of Nigerians to celebrate Christ: The Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. His birth is significant in so many ways, heralding hope for a world of fears and failures. By virtue of his birth and his supreme sacrifice of love on the cross, mankind is rescued from the pain of sin and death.

“If one man can so affect the whole world so positively, then we must resolve to be agents of positive change in every little corner of our great country. This Christmas, I urge all Christians to continue to reflect deeply on the life and times of Christ, and rededicate themselves to the peace he lived and died for.”

He added: “I seize this occasion to thank all Nigerians for the fervent prayers they have offered for the quick recovery of Mr. President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The prayers are having good effect, and I urge all not to relent. This Christmas provides us another opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the service of God, and to the progress of our great country Nigeria. I wish all Nigerians a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”

Oritsejafor called on all Christians to pray for the speedy recovery of the nation from the economic and political turbulence it is currently under going.

The cleric also urged citizens to pray for Yar’Adua’s speedy recovery.

The PFN President in his message said there were many issues besetting Nigeria but as we mark the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ today, we must acknowledge that the season marks a period of peace for mankind.

According to him: “The birth of Christ is a source of joy to mankind, for unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father”.

He said Nigerians have the responsibility to make the nation great, saying: “We must begin to understand that it is what we sow that we reap. If we must key into the fruitfulness that God has for us as a nation, we must begin to sow the right seeds beginning from this Yuletide season.

“The President is a symbol that represents the nation and his state of health could be synonymous to that of the country so we all owe him the duty to pray for his recovery from the sick bed.”

On the Niger Delta issue, Oritsejafor called on the government to address it as fast as possible.

He said: “The Niger Delta question has dragged for too long. The entire world hailed the government for the amnesty programme but almost two months after the disarmament, there appears not to be any viable plan in place to develop the region.

“We heard a few days ago that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had resumed violent activities in the region. This is not a healthy development. The government should not keep the boys idle for too long for an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”.

Oritsejafor further laments the current retrenchments in the banks, describing the development as unhealthy and disturbing.

He said: “It is disturbing that some of the banks recently bailed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with tax-payers’ money have started retrenching their staff. This is a serious matter, which may have negative social consequences.”

The cleric further urged government to come out with a viable policy on power, saying: “The failure to fulfill her promises to generate 6,000 mega watts (mw) of electricity by December 31, 2009 was unfortunate”.

Oritsejafor enjoined politician to turn a new leaf and work for the interest of the suffering masses.

Makinde admonished Nigerians to see Christ’s coming as God’s divine plan to reconcile mankind to Himself.

In his message, the Prelate noted that even though Christ’s coming was the desire of all nations yet not many regarded his presence in the world. He called on Christians and political office holders to emulate the humility and sobriety of Christ, which he said, was completely lacking in many lives today.

In his words: “This manner of humility and sobriety is an important part of the human value system, which has completely been eroded and traded for praise singing and self-adulation, which has continued to promote and engender corruption and evil practices around the world.

“The heart of the message of Christianity is God’s provision for dealing with human sin. Sin is not just individual acts of deceit, immorality and so on, nor is it the sum total of all such acts. Sin also includes a natural tendency to rebel against the will of God. This rebellion separates humans from God.”

He said that the essence of Christ’s birth was to bring man closer to God and urged all and sundry to show love by sharing with others at this period.

The cleric added: “It is my prayer that we will all imbibe the sacrificial spirit exhibited by our Lord through his birth, which is to redeem mankind and reconcile us with God. Without sacrifice and love, our harmonious and peaceful coexistence as a country will continue to be elusive.”

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