As Nigerians join other Christian faithful globally to celebrate this year’s Christmas, President Muhammadu Buhari has implored the citizens to vote for a candidate that would sustain his legacy by maintaining the momentum his administration has created for the greater good of the country in the 2023 polls.
He said the advances his administration has made so far on the economic front, especially in infrastructure, food security, anti-corruption, security, energy sufficiency, among others, will need to be built on.
In his Christmas message to Nigerians, the president said the 2023 general election is an opportunity for Nigeria to show the world that it has consolidated on its democratic principles.
He expressed hope that the peace and joy of the Christmas season will continue to the elections and beyond.
Buhari said, “This joyous season has coincided with the period of campaigns to usher in a new administration. I urge you to be circumspect and vote for those that will maintain the momentum we have created for the greater good of the country.
“It is another opportunity to show the rest of the world that Nigeria is indeed ready to consolidate its democratic credentials as has been noted in international circles.
“Let the peace and joy that pervade this period continue well into the new year up to the elections in February and beyond.”
President Buhari also assured Nigerians that those who violently seek to disrupt the peace of the nation have lost the battle.
“Our country is blessed with a wealth of human and material resources. Let’s celebrate our blessings this season with the trust that a better dawn awaits Nigeria.
“I heartily rejoice with our Christian brothers and sisters on the occasion of this year’s Christmas,” he stated.
The president added that many Nigerians look forward to the festive season as a time to travel, share gifts, spend quality time with family and friends, attend special carols and events, and generally relive the good moments of the year.
As such, he said, “In whatever circumstances we find ourselves, Buhari said Christmas is a period when we come together to rejoice and set aside our differences.
“For me and my family, this year’s celebration is unique. It is my last as your elected President. Twenty-two weeks from now, this administration will hand over to another.
“In the last seven years, I have had the privilege of receiving members of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) community on Christmas homage, except the year the COVID-19 pandemic denied us that opportunity. I will fondly remember them as my benevolent landlords and friendly neighbours.
“It is crucial that I remember this about my closest neighbours because there is no better way for us to celebrate Christmas as a people than showing genuine love, care, compassion and empathy for one another.
“We must never lose sight of the symbiotic relationship between Christmas and hope; Jesus Christ and humility, Christianity and grace.
In this season of love, joy and peace, let us not fail to remember those who really wish to celebrate but are constrained in one way or the other by reaching out to them.
“Together we can make this celebration a spectacular one by renewing our pledge and common resolve to work for the unity and prosperity of our dear country.”
The president pledged that until his last day in office, he will continue to provide political and material support to sub-national governments, the Armed Forces, institutions and individuals working wholeheartedly for the peace, unity, stability and progress of Nigeria.
Let’s Move Nigeria Forward, Says Tinubu
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, urged Nigerians to join him in moving the country forward irrespective of political affiliation.
In a Christmas message he personally signed, Tinubu prayed that the hope symbolised by the season of celebration will herald renewed hope in Nigeria the citizens have been dreaming of.
The former Lagos governor said, “On this special day, I stretch forth my hand in fraternal affection and great joy to Christians and all who join in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
“On this special day, I stretch forth my hand in fraternal affection and great joy to Christians and all who join in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
“Christmas is a period of spiritual uplift as both Christians and non-Christians are moved to reflect upon God’s love for mankind and what, truly, it means to love your God, your neighbour and yourself.
“Thus, I say merry Christmas to the farmer, the student, the labourer, the artisan, the professional, the entertainer, the teacher, the police officer, the market women, the soldier and to all Nigerians.
“I also extend my wishes for a good and happy Christmas to my political opponents. No matter our political differences, we are all Nigerians and we must move this nation forward. Thus, let the hope symbolised by this season of celebration also herald our renewed hope in the Nigeria of our dreams.
“May the joy and great gift of this Christmas be the renewed hope that we can and will forge a better Nigeria with the help and guidance of Almighty God above.”
You Won’t Spend Next Christmas On Petrol Queues, Atiku Tells Citizens
On his part, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, assured that Nigerians will not spend their next Christmas queuing for petrol at filling stations if he wins the 2023 presidential election.
Atiku, in his Christmas message signed by his special assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, also said the APC administration has set a new record of the longest petrol scarcity in the history of Nigeria.
The PDP candidate recalled that the petrol scarcity started in January 2022 on account of the importation of dirty petrol high in methanol.
He noted: “With the fuel scarcity now continuing till December, the government has run out of excuses even as most Nigerians are now at the mercy of black marketers who sell petrol as high as N500 per litre. The NNPC which is the sole importer of petrol has failed to live up to its duties, clear evidence that its privatisation is merely cosmetic.
“But the biggest culprit in this mess is President Muhammadu Buhari who is the minister of petroleum. It is saddening that he has failed to bring succour to Nigerians who are suffering from the worsening inflation, unemployment and insecurity.”
He alleged that the APC which is running for a third term through the person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now promising renewed hope after dashing the hopes of millions of Nigerians for the last eight years.
“It is exasperating that Tinubu is promising to remove petrol subsidy when his party has retained it for the last seven years and spent billions of dollars subsidising criminality. It is obvious that Tinubu’s statement is an indictment on Buhari.
“Nigerians have suffered too much in these last seven years. A country which has been unable to meet its OPEC quota at a time of oil boom is now witnessing an unprecedented petrol scarcity that has brought economic activities to its knees across the country.
“Atiku Abubakar hereby promises Nigerians that this will be their last Christmas that will be spent at a filling station queuing for petrol. Voting APC in February will be a reinforcement of failure which could push Nigeria into an existential crisis. To Nigerians, we say the ability to change your destiny lies in your hands. Merry Christmas,” he said.
Governors, SGF, CAN, Others Preach Peace, Unity
Meanwhile, as Christians join their counterpart the world over to celebrate this year’s Christmas, state governors, secretary to government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, and others have implored Nigerians to maintain peace and unity across the country.
Gombe State governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, charged Christian faithful to use the period to pray for the state and the country against socio-economic and security challenges.
In a message of felicitation released by his director general of Press Affairs, Ismaila Uba Misilli, the governor enjoined the Christians to sustain their abiding faith in God and maintain peace, unity and virtues that promote the progress of the state and the country.
Governor Inuwa charged them to rededicate themselves and remain steadfast in prayers, which he said have an immense impact on the peace, unity and stability of the society.
He said, “On this significant occasion of Christmas, I extend my best wishes to the Christian community and all citizens of the country. This period reminds us of the need to uphold the virtues of love, selflessness and tolerance.
“I call on all of us, to reflect on the lessons of the season which presents an opportunity to love and to share”.
Assuring of his administration’s commitment to continue to initiate and execute policies and programmes that will promote unity and peaceful coexistence, the governor urged the people to also use the period to pray for the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Also, Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, charged Christians to use the opportunity of the Christmas celebration to reaffirm their love and compassion towards one another.
Ayade urged them to reflect on the import of the birth of the saviour, Jesus Christ, and its redemptive hope to billions of Christians around the world and reignite the flame of love exemplified in Christ’s birth.
In a special goodwill message signed by his special adviser on Media, Barrister Christian Ita, Governor Ayade asked Christians to rededicate themselves to the values of love, peace, sacrifice and tolerance as necessary ingredients for a peaceful coexistence.
“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,” he stated
Governor Ayade maintained that Nigeria was now at that bend when love was needed as a balm to heal and bind us as a people.
Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, also felicitated with Christians in Kogi State and around the world on the Christmas celebrations, saying as the season signifies the coming of hope for mankind, citizens should remain positive.
He urged them to believe that the current distress which has persisted among the nations of the world and which is also being felt acutely in Nigeria would soon ease.
In a statement issued by his chief press secretary, Onogwu Mohammed, the governor urged citizens to emulate God’s love for mankind by replicating the same to their neighbours during this season through acts of generosity towards the less-privileged citizens.
Governor Bello also noted that the holiday was perfect for spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones.
On his part, Ekiti State governor, Biodun Oyebanji, congratulated Nigerians, especially Christian faithful, as they celebrate this year’s Christmas, urging them to celebrate in moderation and reach out to the less privileged.
The governor added that the season is another opportunity to show gratitude to God for the outgoing year and pray for a more prosperous new year, especially as the country prepares for the 2023 general elections.
Governor Oyebanji, in a goodwill message, signed by his special adviser on Media, Yinka Oyebode, urged Christians in the state and Nigeria at large to embrace peace, love, harmony and tolerance in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ now and beyond the yuletide season.
He said, “Christmas explains the depth of God’s love for mankind and exemplary sacrifice that we should emulate in our daily relationship with our neighbours. It avails us an opportunity to increase and spread our acts of kindness and touch the less privileged in our society. This Christmas, therefore, means so much more than just mere festivity but an avenue to share love with the less privileged in the society”.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, called on Christians to reflect on the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ as they celebrate the 2022 Christmas.
The governor, in a Christmas message, observed that love, compassion, sacrifice, selflessness, and forgiveness among others are the hallmarks of Christmas celebrations.
He enjoined the people to appropriate the love and hope that comes with Christmas and reinvest trust in his administration’s determination and unwavering commitment to restoring peace, security, and prosperity to the State.
“I celebrate with all Christians on this joyous occasion of commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Love, compassion, sacrifice, selflessness, and forgiveness are the basis for the celebration so I urge all Nigerlites to use this period to reflect and practice these principles for a better society”, he said.
For his part, secretary to government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, felicitated with Christians, describing Christmas as the manifestation of God’s greatest love to redeem and reconcile mankind through the birth of Jesus Christ.
The SGF in a statement by his media office urged Christ’s followers to embrace and internalize the teachings of Jesus Christ as exemplified in the display of love, humility, forgiveness, generosity and above all continuous reflection on God’s superlative qualities.
Mustapha further urged Christians to use the holidays to collect their PVC’s while intensifying prayers towards the success of next year’s general election in the country.
He prayed for peace and harmonious co-existence between individuals, communities and ethnic groups, and enjoined all Nigerians to eschew divisive tendencies and bigotry.
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) called on political leaders, especially those jostling for the presidency in 2023, to use the Christmas season to reflect on the words of Jesus Christ to be prepared to ensure justice by insisting that the resources and positions in governance are shared equitably among people of all regions and tribes.
CAN president, Daniel Okoh, in his Christmas message, said equitable distribution of positions will help Nigerians to harness the abundance of potential in their country for national development.
Okoh lamented that Nigerians are celebrating Christmas amidst uncertainty, fear, untold suffering, hardship, and pain in the face of a harsh economy, record inflation figures, worsening poverty situation, and a weakened security system due to bad governance.
He said that this precarious situation in the country can be likened to the sufferings, helplessness, and hopelessness of the Israelites as a result of the decisions of their leaders to forsake God and pursue after their bellies which they have made into gods through greed, selfishness, and blatant corruption.
“Nevertheless, the message of Christmas informs us that God will not abandon us, rather, He will continue to intervene in the affairs of mankind through Jesus Christ, the Messiah He sent to save the world.
“We should resist the temptation to speak the language of despair and division over our lives and our nation. Let the story of Christmas inspire us to speak the language of peace to our neighbours regardless of differences in religion, ethnicity, or political leanings,” he said.
Similarly, the PDP urged Nigerians not to succumb to misery in spite of the hardship and agony they face under the APC administration.
The opposition party however charged Nigerians to use the occasion of Christmas, the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ, to strengthen their hope for a brighter future for the nation.
The PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said it is saddened that millions of Nigerians cannot afford the necessities to celebrate.
He said many Nigerians could not travel to meet with their loved ones due to economic hardship and those who did are facing harrowing life-discounting experiences, “with several families stranded on the highways on account of dilapidated roads and worsening insecurity under the suffocating APC government.
“It is distressing that while people in other parts of the world where governments care for citizens, are celebrating with joy, Nigerians are marking Christmas in utter despondency under the APC and its corrupt leaders”, the party added.
The opposition party urged Nigerians not to lose hope but use the occasion of Christmas, “to rekindle their resolve for a new dawn under a purposeful, caring and affectionate PDP leadership, come May 29, 2023.”
Kwara APC Felicitates With Christians, Offers Assurances Of Greater 2023
Also, immediate past governor of Ekiti State and president of the Forum of the Regions of Africa (FORAF), Dr Kayode Fayemi, wished Nigerians peaceful and joyous Christmas celebrations, that typify the birth of Jesus Christ.
In a statement issued by his media office in Abuja, Fayemi said, “As we celebrate, I urge Nigerians to use this season to show love, to help the needy and the sick. Nothing demonstrates the true spirit and essence of Christmas more than helping those less fortunate than ourselves. That is the example of Christ and what he would expect from us today.’’