Leaders, At Christmas, Preach Love, Peace

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ADEMOWOAdemowo Urges Focus On Security, Power Supply

TOMORROW is Christmas, a day Christians across the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago.

Traditionally, it is also a day leaders reflect on the socio-economic, political and religious realities in their countries with a view to making the society a better place for all.

Accordingly, some political and religious leaders in Nigeria have stressed the need for love, peace and unity that would encourage the people to jointly tackle the myriad of challenges facing the nation.

Among those who spoke were Governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and the National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu as well as the Dean, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos Most Rev. Adebola Ademowo.

In a Christmas message signed by his Special Assistant Media and Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Omini Oden, Imoke said Christians should use this period to exhibit the virtue of forgiveness, charity love and above all, service to their motherland, as Christ demonstrated while on earth.

“As we use this significant moment to reflect on the enormity of his sacrifice for the purpose of giving us eternal life, we must love him as deeply as he loved us, trust in his redeeming blood and dedicate ourselves to living a godly life,” he said.

While urging them not to be deterred by unfounded security threats in the country, Imoke assured that President Goodluck Jonathan had put measures in place to check any breach of peace and order across the nation for a peaceful celebration of Christmas.

Ahmed, who urged Nigerians to always portray the positive sides of the country rather than the negative ones, admonished Christians to emulate Jesus Christ in words and deeds and imbibe the core lessons of love, tolerance, sacrifice and generosity which Christ stood for.

He commended Christian religious leaders in the state for conducting themselves peacefully in their religious activities and for joining the state government in promoting religious harmony.

The ANPP chairman, Onu, said: “We are confident that if we can strengthen faith in ourselves and reawaken our implicit confidence in the inestimable power of Almighty God, surely we can restore hope to the hopeless, return happiness to the sad, remove despair from the dejected and above all, rearm the weak to become strong and resolute.

“We implore our fellow country men and women to be their brothers’ keepers for there is always strength in unity.  At all times, we should remember that despite the challenges we face, we can only overcome if we as a people come together and stay together in love and brotherhood, resolute in the pursuit of those noble virtues that heal wounds and strengthen bonds.

“Just as Christmas symbolizes the birth of a new beginning of greater promise, we share the conviction that sooner than later, our dear country will ascend the mountain top and show the way for others to follow. “

In his own message, Ademowo decried the state of the nation, saying “Nigeria is facing a myriad of challenges. Many are concerned about the economy which is the tank, high rate of unemployment, especially of the youth is sky-high, the kidnappers are on the loose, armed robbers are kings at dawn and emperors at night: the insecurity of life and property is alarming, the embarrassing rot in the education system, the crisis of epileptic power supply, practice of corruption the order of the day, death trap roads are all over the nation. We are bothered that a nation at 51 is yet to stand on its feet with the resources and great, patriotic and educated minds with which we are blessed.”

On the way forward, the cleric urged government at all levels to focus on security of life and property “ which has recently displaced poor power supply from the scale of preference” and how to ensure constant power supply which he described as fundamental to real economic growth and job creation. He called for overhaul of the power plants in the country and building of new ones.

The cleric flayed move to remove fuel subsidy, urging the Federal Government to consider the hardship it will visit on the citizenry and drop the plan. He said Nigeria must move from importation of fuel to value adding activities of refining crude oil.

Ademowo, who is also the Diocesan Bishop of Lagos admonished government to review its privatisation policy with a view to revoking contracts signed with some buyers of public firms “since recent reports showed that they were not observing the terms of the agreement signed with the government. These firms can provide employment for the youths.”

The cleric further advised that the health sector be given adequate attention, corruption fought with the seriousness it deserves, roads made motorable, cost of governance reduced and democratic institutions strengthened to achieve sustainable democracy.

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