President Goodluck Jonathan has enjoined Nigerians to show love to others and be tolerant, as taught by Jesus Christ, the reason for Christmas.
He also asked that special prayers be offered for a greater manifestation of divine peace in the country and the vanquishing of all demons of hatred, divisiveness and disunity.
“I join all of our Christian compatriots in giving thanks to God Almighty for the divine gift of Jesus Christ, the Messiah whose earthly incarnation we commemorate today,” a statement by the president read.
“As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who the Prophet Isaiah heralded as the Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counsellor, I believe it is very appropriate that we all, Christians and non-Christians alike, reflect more deeply on the virtues and ideals which the Messiah espoused during his earthly mission.
“To my mind, there can be no doubt that the greater internalisation of the virtues of love for our fellowmen, tolerance, godliness, honesty, fairness to others, selflessness, and peaceful co-existence with others, by all adult Nigerians, and the inculcation of the same in our youths, will definitely help our dear nation to overcome most of its present challenges.
“Peace and love for others, especially, were a constant refrain in the Messiah’s teachings and admonitions to mankind.
“Therefore, as we celebrate his birth, I urge all Nigerians to offer special prayers for a greater manifestation of divine peace in our country and the vanquishing of all demons of hatred, divisiveness and disunity in our midst.
“As we celebrate Christmas, let us also remember and offer special prayers for all of our countrymen, women and children who have suffered and continue to suffer untold hardship, deprivation and death at the hands of terrorists and insurgents.
The president also urged special prayers for soldiers who are at the fore-front of Nigeria’s war against insurgency. “Let us also continue to pray for our gallant soldiers and security agents who remain at the forefront of the national effort to overcome terrorism and violent extremism, even as the rest of the nation celebrates Christmas and the coming New Year.
He said further: “I seize this opportunity to reassure the nation that my administration will give the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, all necessary support to ensure that it delivers very free, fair, credible and acceptable elections in 2015.
“National security agencies will also be given all necessary support to enhance their ability to ensure that the elections which should strengthen democracy in our country are peaceful and violence free.