State governors and clerics have challenged Nigerian leaders to exhibit the essence of Easter celebration by living an exemplary life.
In separate messages to commemorate the occasion, they urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the service of mankind, instead of promoting personal aggrandisement and bigotry.
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Reverend Adewale Martins, specifically called on Nigerians to make charity a way of life by showing more empathy for their fellow citizens.
He blamed most of the challenges facing the country on greed, selfishness and lack of religious tolerance.
“Nigeria would become a better place if both the leaders and followers learn to embrace love, shun selfishness and show more empathy for one another. Christ has shown us that love conquers all ills. I believe very strongly that when we learn to love and tolerate one another genuinely, notwithstanding our differences, we will grow stronger and better as a nation.
The Prelate also congratulated the newly elected political office holders in the country, urging them to use the opportunity given to them to better the lots of Nigerians through rendering selfless and result-oriented service.
He said that insecurity and killings have become rampant and called on the security agencies to change their strategies for fighting insecurity, saying that their present strategies are not working.
Also, the Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Joseph Akinfenwa, has urged all Christians to use the Easter celebration to show forgiveness in all ramifications.
Sighting the Book of Romans 5 verses 8, Akinfenwa advised Nigerian leaders to emulate quality leadership, as well as, seize the initiative to empty themselves into the task of rebranding this nation and galvazing the citizenry to take concerted and determined action towards building a more egalitarian and prosperous nation.”
Akinfenwa said: “Being beneficiaries of God’s love, we are indebted; and must reflect divine love in the world by loving and forgiving our neighbours. As we are celebrate Easter, let mercy and love be the dominant theme of our political discourse for a cycle of aggression and vengeance is a destructive cycle. We need to terminate the cycle in Nigeria; instead, let our leaders comfort the people, for the burdens on the Nigeria en mass are too heavy.”
In a separate message, the Senior Pastor, Impact Dome Church, Sam Olugola urged Christians to seize the celebration to pray against kidnapping and other forms of criminalities in the country.
“We cannot keep dwelling on this but rather call on God, who is the beginning and the end of a man to intervene. We all should come together and unanimously pray to God for deliverance on this richly blessed country called Giant of Africa, I am sure that we won’t remain the same.
“Effective prayers cause profound changes and unimaginable manifestation. So, I believe when Nigerians pray in one accord, the country will be restored to normalcy,” he added.
In his own message, the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Bishop Hillary Okeke said: “Christians who are politicians, business people, traditional rulers and educationists, among others, must completely act in line with the mind of Christ.
“As God’s dear children, take God as your pattern and follow Christ by loving one another as Christ loved the Church, giving himself up for us as an offering,” he said.
Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha called on Christians to use the celebration to positively touch on the lives of others, especially the less privileged in the society, just as he advised them to pray earnestly for the nation and its democracy, so that Nigeria could take its rightful place in the comity of nations.
On his part, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau urged Christians to pray for the nation’s leaders and the country to overcome its numerous challenges..
“True Christianity places on our shoulders, the responsibility of praying ceaselessly and fervently for our leaders.We are reminded to also pray for our country to enable us to overcome the numerous challenges which we currently face as a nation.
“The incidents of insurgency, armed banditry, armed robbery, kidnappings, corruption and many other crimes bedeviling our country can be addressed by prayers.It can also inculcate in the youth who are ready tools for crime the right Christian doctrines at an early age,”he said.
Similarly, Governor Nasir El-Rufai called on the people of Kaduna State to use the Easter celebration to re-dedicate themselves to attaining peace and love in the state.
“In this moment, I call on us all of us to be buoyed by hope, to pray and to work for peace in our land. Let us work together to build and uphold safe communities where everyone is committed to upholding peace and harmony,Let us stand firmly together in common humanity, as we ask for the good Lord’s continued protection and blessings” the governor said.
In his message, the Senior Pastor of the Citizens of Heaven Church, Lekki, Lagos, Pastor Craig Isah, reminded Nigerians of the core value of the season, as an event to remember the death and resurrection of Christ, just as he charged every believer to embrace the salvation that Christ died for and also enjoy the benefits of salvation of the season.
He also urged Nigerians to ensure they show love, give and share their faiths in a relevant way, even beyond the celebration.