State governors on Tuesday sent messages of goodwill to Christians to commemorate the celebration of Christmas today.
Christmas, which is celebrated every December 25, marks the birth of Jesus Christ. In his message, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, asked Nigerians to emulate the life of Jesus Christ. Sanwo-Olu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, identified obedience, meekness, sacrifice and humility as some of the virtues that distinguished Jesus Christ and should be emulated.
“Sanwo-Olu encouraged all residents travelling out of Lagos with their loved ones to remain safety-conscious, just as he advised that any suspicious movements should be reported to security agencies through the emergency toll-free lines, 767 and 112.
“While wishing everyone a safe and exciting Christmas celebration, the governor encouraged residents and holidaymakers to visit any of the venues of the Greater Lagos Fiesta, being part of the activities lined up by the state government to entertain citizens across the five divisions of Lagos State,” the statement read.
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, in his message on Tuesday, urged Christians in the country to embrace peace, harmony and tolerance in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Ortom, in a statement issued on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said the yearly commemoration of the birth of Jesus signified the immeasurable love of God for humankind.
He urged the Benue people to go about their normal activities without the fear of molestation as his administration had taken proactive measures with security agencies to guarantee hitch-free Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, in his message advised Christians to seize the opportunity of the celebration to strengthen their love towards one another.
The message was signed by his Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Mr Linus Obogo. He said, “Christmas underpins the redemptive role of Christ to mankind, just as it stresses the pivotal place of sacrifice necessary for peaceful and harmonious world. So, as Christians, we must remind ourselves that love is the first requirement for a better and peaceful world.”
Governor Ayade said Nigeria was now at that point when love was needed as a balm to heal and bind Nigerians as a people.
“We must be meek to one another, pull together and support one another. It is only that way that we can mend the chasm and build bridges of unity as a nation. This season of Christmas has afforded us a unique opportunity to achieve that.
“We should take time to ponder on the sufferings of the poor that are not privileged to celebrate; which is why as Christians, we have an obligation to leave our comfort zone to help the poor among us, just as Christ did for us. Above all, let us reflect on the value of family, friendship and fellowship,” he said.
Similarly, the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, urged Nigerians to use the occasion of the Christmas celebration to imbibe the spirit of love, God’s service to humanity associated with the birth of Christ.
Abdulrazaq, in a message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, said all human beings, irrespective of their religious beliefs, were from the same parents.
“Notwithstanding our differences, we are all from Adam and one lesson from this season (the birth of Christ) is the need to love and look after one another. We should think always about the legacy of love, mutual respect, and willingness to help one another in good or hard time.
“We call on Nigerians, especially Kwarans, to do more to foster love and peace in this season and beyond because a major selling point of the state is the calm and peaceful disposition of our people. We also call for continuous mutual respect and understanding within the faith community and not allow anyone to cause disaffection in the state.”
The governor also advised residents of the state to be modest while the festive session lasted. In Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Onyebuchi Ememanka, stated that Christmas was one of the most defining events in the Christendom and one of the most fundamental features of the Christian faith. He said, “As Christians the world over commemorate the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ, I bring you a warm message of goodwill on this very important occasion.
“As we celebrate the Christmas and indeed the entire Yuletide, our people must not forget the true essence of the season, which is to reflect on the birth of Jesus and its significance to mankind. “While it is a period to share and spread love, our people must celebrate in moderation and avoid needless ostentation, especially as the beginning of the New Year is impending and with its attendant challenges.”
He cautioned against reckless driving during the season. “While government will do its part, our people must understand that a greater part of the task of avoiding road accidents at this time lies on each of us. Needless overspending, drunk driving and night travels should be avoided at all costs”.
The Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, called on the people of the state to exchange goodwill and reflect on the virtues of Jesus Christ, especially in the areas charity, forgiveness and sacrifice. In his Christmas message to the people of the state, Ihedioha implored the people and Nigerians in general to emulate the lifestyle of Jesus Christ and remember the less fortunate in their midst.
He said, “My good people of Imo State, I am delighted to wish you all a very merry Christmas today as we commemorate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As Christians, this occasion affords us a great opportunity for the exchange of goodwill between us and our neighbours, families and communities.” “I urge us all to reflect on the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ in charity, forgiveness and sacrifice. In the same vein, I implore us all to emulate his lifestyle and remember the less fortunate ones in our midst.”
The outgoing Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Seriake Dickson, also underscored the need to show love to one another and reflect on the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ and his love for mankind. Dickson said this in a Christmas message on Tuesday signed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson.
He enjoined the people not to allow politics to create division among them but to live as one in the spirit of brotherhood. Dickson said, “The birth of Christ, which is the reason for the celebration, reminds everyone to foster love and unity among one another and make sure we all portray the character and values that Christ stood for.
“As a people, politics should never divide us; it should rather unify us for the collective development of our state. I, therefore, urge all Bayelsans to continually reflect attitudes that will promote the growth and development of the state.”
The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, also on Tuesday felicitated with Christians in state and the country generally.
In a statement issued in Jalingo and signed by Mr Bala Dan-Abu, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Publicity, Ishaku praised the people of Taraba State and security operatives deployed in the state for working hard to achieve the peace prevailing in the state.
“It is my hope that the love we share and express at Christmas through exchange of food, drinks and other forms of gifts on this unique occasion will reinforce peace, unity and trust among the people in the state. “I want to urge the people of Taraba State to support government’s efforts in building bridges of understanding across the various divides that still hinder unity among us today.
“We should show moderation as we make merry and remember to pray for unity and against insecurity and all other vices that hinder peace and development in Taraba State and in Nigeria,” the statement read.
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, also urged Nigerians to show love and reflect on the teachings of Jesus Christ. In a statement, the governor said, “On behalf of the government of Edo State, I rejoice with all Edo people, at home and in the diaspora as well as residents, as we celebrate Christmas.
“Christmas season is an auspicious occasion to show love and reflect on the life of Jesus Christ, whose birth we are commemorating. “As we celebrate with our friends, relatives and neighbours, I enjoin you to spread the message of oneness, love, generosity and hope for greater things as demonstrated by Jesus Christ.
“As a government, we are grateful to all Edo people and residents, who have stood by us in our pursuit of a united and prosperous state, where we all can realise our dreams,” he added.
Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello described Jesus Christ as one of the greatest unifying figures in history of mankind.
The governor stated this in his Christmas message to the people of the state. He urged the people to reflect on the joy and peace the world enjoyed on the first Christmas where wise men from far and shepherds from nearby hills, representing all classes of men, joined angels from heaven to herald the arrival of Christ.
He reminded everyone that the peaceful coexistence is one of the ideals for which Jesus Christ came to earth and urged all to uphold same in their words and deeds.
“Since my assumption of office, the Kogi State Government has taken deliberate steps to bring peace and unite our people across ethnic and religious divides. This is in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, which urge us to love our neighbour as our own self. Our ultimate goal is a Kogi State in which every citizen can live and blossom irrespective of his or her religious or ethnic background.
In his message, the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, also called on Christians to promote love, peace and unity. The governor advised the people of the state to use the season to deepen their faith in God, saying that God has the solution to all societal challenges.
He assured Rivers people that his administration was working with all security agencies to ensure a peaceful celebration of the season. Wike advised the privileged in the state to reach out to the less privileged as a measure of deepening friendship and communal living.
The governor assured the people that his administration would continue to build a new Rivers State, where everyone would benefit from the programmes and projects of the state government.