VP seeks God’s mercy, grace on Nigeria in sermon •Muslims join Christians at Kaduna Church service, present gifts •Pope seeks end to Russia-Ukraine war •My plans after leaving office, by Buhari
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said Christmas reminds mankind of the grace of God and the birth of Jesus Christ as the beginning of a new covenant of God’s mercy.
Prof. Osinbajo delivered the sermon at a hybrid Christmas Service at the Aso Villa Chapel in Abuja, which was attended by his wife, Dolapo Osinbajo, senior government officials and others. He had a chat with State House correspondents after the service.
The vice president said his message to Nigeria is ‘the message of Christmas which is the birth of the new covenant, the birth of grace. God’s grace and mercy are what we celebrate today’.
He added: “The birth of Jesus Christ is the birth of the grace of God. From the moment Christ was born, God said He wasn’t going to hold us to account for sin so long as we believed in what He did – the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
“Before, we had to pay for our sins and we had to bear the consequence of sin. We would always continue to sin, but with the coming of the Lord Jesus, He has come to replace us and substitute all our unrighteousness and replace it with His own righteousness, as long as we believe in him.”
The Christmas Service, an annual event at the Aso Villa Chapel, featured a bible study session moderated by the Chaplain, Pastor Joseph Malomo, celebration, singing and dancing.
2022 year of prosperity for Lagosians, says Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged Nigerians, especially Lagosians, to continue to live in peace and harmony. He also appealed to Lagosians to celebrate the season with moderation.
He said: “2022 has been a year of several things for us, but it has also been a year of prosperity for Lagos; a year in which we have broken all barriers that hinder us before now and you can see purposeful development.
“I want to implore our people to be law-abiding. We will continue to live in peace and harmony among ourselves, and even as we go into this yuletide let us celebrate with moderation and know that the season is for us to also reflect and ensure that as New Year comes in, it is for bigger and greater things to happen.”
He also urged Lagosians to perform their civic responsibilities in the 2023 general elections as well as the Population and Housing Census.
Lalong urges compassion, love and hope
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong said the birth of Jesus Christ is significant because of the message of hope, love and compassion it carries.
According to him, the coming of Jesus Christ gave hope to mankind and restored humanity from destruction. He said Christmas celebrations should therefore be a period where Christians live up to the teachings of Christ by their conduct.
Lalong stressed that the celebrations should not be overshadowed by challenges facing the country ‘because there is light at the end of the tunnel’. He advised Christians to extend their love to the underprivileged and persons of different faiths just as Jesus did during his earthy ministry which earned him reverence and honour that is still being celebrated today.
Vote credible leaders,Ortom urges people
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom urged Nigerians to get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and vote credible and trusted leaders in next year’s elections.
Ortom, who attended the Christmas service at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Gboko Road, said the country was going through pains, hardship, economic and security woes because leaders at various levels have failed to live up to their responsibility.
He said: “The 2023 elections is the only opportunity we have. So those who are yet to collect their PVCs should do so because that is the only way you can exercise your franchise, restore hope and dignity to our country, by electing leaders who have been tested and trusted.”
Ortom enjoined the people to remain firm and strong as they enter into 2023, saying with prayers, faith and works, saying Nigerians would experience the good life they desire.
Ugwuanyi seeks peace, renewal of faith in God
Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has urged the people to renew their faith in God by remaining steadfast in prayers.
Ugwuanyi stressed that the significance of Christmas and its symbolism in reaffirming God’s timeless love was by sending His only begotten son to the world, to bear humanity’s sins, and be sacrificed for the salvation of mankind.
He urge Nigerians to remain resolute in their prayers for the state in particular and the country in general.
Akeredolu: only the best good for Nigeria
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu called on Christians to embrace goals and ideals that would promote common societal good for national stability.
A statement by his media aide, Richard Olatunde, admonished the people to imbibe the lessons of the birth and life of Jesus Christ.
The governor also urged Nigerians to understand that only the best was good for the country.
“We must shun religious profiling and embrace quality minds whose track records are alluring to lead our country. There is need for us all to be dispassionate about the choice of leadership.
“Let us all join hands to pray that God will continue to strengthen our resolve to do our best to transform our land and the people of this state.”
Soludo: we must imbibe God’s love, hope and redemption
Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Christian Aburime, said Christmas was a time for hope and a season for a renewed inspiration from the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Soludo called on the people to embrace the timeless message of God’s love, hope and redemption of mankind which were the cardinal significance of the celebration.
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“As we join our families and friends to celebrate Christmas, let us share the gift of God’s love with one another.”
Zulum urges prayer for elections
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has appealed for prayers for a peaceful 2023 elections.
Zulum, in a statement by his media aide, Mallam Isa Gusau, urged Nigerians to use the occasion for special prayers for hitch-free elections nationwide.
“In our shared creed of hospitality for which Borno has been known for, I urge celebrants, especially those with means, to extend compassionate support to relatives, neighbours and friends, with less means to enjoy the festival.
“I also humbly urge Nigerians to pray for peaceful elections and transition especially at the presidential level, pray for all parts of our country to fully regain peace and stability, pray for our continued unity, our economy and our overall prosperity,” he said.
Makinde: Christians should emulate Christ
Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, who said Christmas presents a golden opportunity to celebrate Christ, his humble beginning and the lessons his life taught, urged Christians to emulate Jesus Christ in all ways.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, admonished the people to be security-wise during the Yuletide.
Makinde, who maintained that crime has reduced drastically in Oyo following efforts of his government’s investments in security, said: “It is another opportunity to celebrate Jesus Christ and the lessons his life taught humanity; lessons of humility, selflessness, godliness and service. I encourage everyone to use the opportunity of the occasion to remember the life of Christ and emulate him.”
Adebule fetes thousands during Christmas
•Eshinlokun-Sanni, monarch felicitate Christians
Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Lagos West Dr. Idiat Adebule distributed food items to thousands of Nigerians to celebrate Christmas.
She rejoiced with Christian faithful, and urged them to celebrate moderately in line with the teachings of the Christian faith.
The former Lagos State Deputy Governor added that the season offers a unique opportunity for Nigerians to renew their hope and faith in God, and to make life more abundant for us as a nation.
“No nation develops without peaceful coexistence and harmony. I therefore call on Nigerians to work and pray for our country to overcome its security and other challenges.
“Nigeria can be greater than the imagination of Nigerians and the world if everyone played positive roles. I therefore urge Nigerians to start by electing credible people which the APC has presented from the president, governors as well as national and state assembly members”.
Candidate for Lagos Central Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni urged Nigerians to show and share love, shun all acts of violence and embrace peace as the country moves towards another general election.
Eshilokun-Sanni enjoined Nigerians to pray for peace to reign in the country, while seeking the face of God in ensuring a peaceful election and a smooth transition of power.
The Osolo of Isolo in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Kolawole Adewole, thanked God for sparing the faithful to witness this year’s celebration, and admonished Christian faithful to imbibe and exhibit the qualities of Jesus.
He urged Nigerians to shun unlawful activities, while also hailing Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for ensuring peace across the state.
Muslims join Christians at Kaduna Church service, present gifts
Muslim faithful in Kaduna State joined Christian faithful in their Christmas service. The Shiites attended service at the Church of Brethren in Nigeria (Ekkelisiyar `Yan Uwa Ta Nigeria (EYN), Samaru, Sabon Gari, Zaria, Kaduna State, one of the largest denominations in Zaria.
Leader of the team Prof. Isah Mshelgaru said attending the service was to rejoice with Christians on the celebration as well as to rekindle and cement the relationship between the two faiths.
He said: “Islam says if someone is not your brother in faith, he is your brother in humanity, and we share this humanity with everybody, either Muslim, Christian or whatever.
“We decided to attend this church service today (yesterday) because it is a day that the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated over the globe, and so we feel to share with them the joy. The coming of Jesus to this world is a blessing to everybody, so we wish that we should celebrate this glorious day with them.
“We came today to clear all the imaginary boundaries that have been created between Muslims and Christians.”
Resident Pastor of EYN Rev. Tijjani Chindo said the Muslim faithful were received joyfully, and so appealed that the gesture be replicated across the country.
He added that the coming of Jesus Christ was to salvage humanity (without segregation) from the bondage of sin.
The group also presented a gift to the church to boost religious tolerance.
Some Muslim youths and Islamic scholars also attended the Christmas service and gave gifts to the Evangelical and Life Intervention Ministry.
General Overseer of the Church, Pastor Yohanna Buru, said hundreds of Muslims from 19 northern states join them yearly to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to promote peace and unity.
According to him, more than 1,000 Muslims attended the Christmas service last year, and gave gifts as well. He, therefore, called on Islamic and Christian clergies to embark on ceaseless prayers towards the conduct of peaceful elections in 2023.
Sheik Salisu Giwa, who led a team from Katsina, Kano and Zamfara states, said they were in Kaduna to join their brothers, the Christians, to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
He said that as Muslims, they considered Christians as their fellow brothers and sisters in humanity, stressing that they were at the service to join them in celebrating and sharing the joy of the day.
After the service, they shared gifts and some economic trees with the Church.