Mark, Okogie, Oshiomhole, others task Nigerians, officials on Yar’Adua’s health, socio-economic woes
In his Christmas message, Okogie said: “We want to use this opportunity to call on our government to be up and doing especially during this Christmas. Many people have seen and tasted hunger and suffering in our land that is flowing with milk and honey, all due to the mismanagement of our resources. They should let the light shine on the citizens at least by the provision of basic necessities of life – food at cheap rates, water, medicine, education, affordable housing.”
For Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, “Christmas is an occasion to celebrate the love of God and to rekindle our faith in the Lord. It is a season of charity, making peace, forgiveness and the celebration of our common humanity as God’s children. We must remember to fend for the poor, the disempowered and the needy in line with God’s injunction to be our brother’s keeper.
“It is also a season of supplication to God and intercession for self, family and nation. Therefore, we need to remember to put our State (Edo), our region and the nation as a whole in prayers. Our state and country need peace, unity and the touch of God on the hearts of our leaders, so that they will be guided aright by the wishes and welfare of the people.”
The Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) enjoined Nigerians not to despair in the face of the nation’s current socio-economic crises and the void created in governance by Yar’Adua’s ill-health
Senator Mark urged Christians to always be guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ which among other things emphasized purity, salvation, love for one another and peaceful co-existence irrespective of different beliefs.
He commended the clergy for fervently praying for the nation and urged them not to relent especially for President Yar’Adua’s speedy recovery, stressing that prayer is the key for peace and stability of the nation.
On the performance of government on budgets, Mark stated that the National Assembly, especially the Senate had reinforced its legislative powers in terms of over sight function on the Executive arm of government to guarantee compliance with Appropriation Acts.
“The days of entertaining excuses from them on poor performance of budgets are over. As we match into 2010 with hope, we are conscious of our legislative mandate and the desires of our people to reap the dividends of democracy. Whatever we can do to make life better for our people, will not be compromised,” he stated.
Mark said that Standing Committees of the Senate would henceforth scrutinize all expenditures of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that expenditures corresponded with actual jobs done.
He also promised that the Upper Legislative House would fast track the passage into law of the much-awaited electoral reforms before the commencement of the 2011 polls.
Also, the ongoing constitution review would be given accelerated consideration to enable lawmakers complete the process before the expiration of the tenure of the present administration.
Mark told motorists to be guided by caution and adherence to traffic rules during the Yuletide to avoid accidents.
According to Okogie, the need for government to restore hope to Nigerians is becoming more obvious.
“Our government failed the masses they claim to serve. We call on them to demonstrate their sensitivity to sufferings and poverty of the people by ensuring a sustainable economic empowering for the citizens,” Okogie maintained.
He also called on parents to emulate the Holy Family of Nazareth and take good care of their children.
“The tragedy today is that most parents have delegated the training of their children to housemaids. At Christmas, such parents buy a lot of material things for their children forgetting that their physical present at home to look after their children ought to take priority over everything,” he said.
Okogie therefore called for good leadership and an end to insecurity.
He said: “We live in a world of continuous conflicts and tensions. Sadly enough, bombs have started exploding in Nigeria.
“With elections around the corner, more bombs are likely to explode in many places, but whatever happens, our optimism must be very high. Everything may be collapsing, poverty may be ravaging the land but with the dawn of Christmas, we should be bubbling with fresh hope and optimism.”
The Catholic Archdiocese Social Communication Director, Monsignor Gabriel Osu, also lent voice to calls for brotherly love.
“Christmas is the time for gift and merriment but the greatest present we have received are those people in our lives, who made a difference who touched our lives, reshaped our lives, they are the gifts the Lord empowered to make a change in our lives. At Christmas, therefore, we should thank God for them, as well thank that they matter in our lives,” he said.
Ademowo in his message lamented that 70 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty level.
“It is the responsibility of the government to provide jobs for Nigerians and in Nigeria and not to add more to their problems,” he said.
He opposed the mass lay-offs in banks since the beginning of the banking sector reform.
Okonkwo called for prayers for the nation and the President, as well as the forthcoming election.
“Christians should pray particularly for all those who are warming up for elections that only the counsel of God shall stand,” the cleric said.
He challenged Christians not to be observers but participate fully in the process, calling on Nigerians to join political parties and be active thereby planting the Kingdom of God in government.
Okonkwo also warned kidnappers as 2010 is a year of settlement, adding: “No more hiding place for the wicked.”
Oshiomhole, whose remarks were contained in a Christmas message, added: “In Edo State, we must renew our supplication to God to bless our collective efforts to revive our state and to grant it the peace and unity necessary for its prosperity and progress. We must thank God for helping Edo State overcome those forces that have held it captive and made the people passive onlookers as they unleash mayhem on the land.
“We remember our region in this season. We need to pray, so that all the stakeholders can imbibe the values of tolerance and patience as well as allow peace to reign in the region. This is a season to renounce violence and work towards the consolidation of the disarmament of the region, as a basis for the holistic solution promised by Mr. President.
“We remember as always our country this season. Nigeria is going through difficult and challenging times, which requires a decent, humane, tolerant and mature leader. This is why we encourage the people of Nigeria to continue to pray for the recovery of our president, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. We in Edo State in particular are passionate about Mr. President’s recovery and return to office, because he has been very kind to us and has supported our efforts to restore her to glory”.
The PPA’s national chairman, Mr. Larry Esin, stated the party’s views in a Christtmas message.
Esin congratulated Nigerians for being living witnesses to yet another Christmas, praying that God would spare their lives to see more of such occasion to come.
He added: “While it is good to pray to God to spare the peoples’ lives to witness more of Christmas to come, it is also good to pray God to give them the grace that they witness such occasion in future in prosperity.
“We note how much people have had to suffer these past years because of poor management of the nation,s resourses. The irony of it all is that we are a truly blessed country whose resources have been carelessly managed by our leaders. What this boils down to is that we never had leaders in the true sense of it.
“And to compound it all, our current president is ill and away for treatment abroad, with nobody actually acting for him, thus leaving the nation adrift.
“Let us in the PPA assure all Nigerians that just as the good Lord sent Jesus to save the world, so will He send a saviour that will wipe their tears in due course. As there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and as there is always a silver lining in the dark sky, so the difficulties disappear when the true leadership emerges.”