At Easter, Buhari, Lawan, Atiku, Tinubu preach hope for Nigeria
• Nigeria will triumph over spate of evil, Buhari tells citizens
• CAN urges govt to ease hardship, suffering in the nation
• Nigerians lament hike in food prices, call on govt for interventions
As Christians across the country mark Easter celebrations today with observance of Good Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the current spate of uncertainty and insecurity bedeviling the country will soon give way to a season of triumph of good over evil.
President Buhari, in his Easter message, yesterday, urged citizens to increase their love for one another rather than exhibit hate, and show more patriotism, as Nigeria remained the only country they have.
He said: “This year’s celebration is very unique for adherents of the two great faiths in Nigeria. It culminates the 40-day season of Lent for Christians, where the faithful is expected to fast, pray, assist the poor, abhor injustice and strife, give alms, penitently engage in self-examination and repentance of sins.
“Similar values apply to the Muslim faithful, currently about half-way into the holy month of Ramadan.”
Joining Christians to celebrate Easter, which is the most significant event/festival in the Christian calendar, President Buhari said: “Easter evokes in us the resilience of the human spirit not to give up in the face of seemingly daunting challenges of life.
“This period emboldens us to believe that the current spate of uncertainty and insecurity will soon unfold a season of triumph of good over evil; hope over despair, and light over darkness. I urge us to increase our love for one another rather than hate and show more patriotism, as this is the only country we have.
“I enjoin us therefore, to live out the eternal words of Jesus Christ on the cross: ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.’
“As we approach another season of electioneering, let the security and unity of the nation guide our actions and utterances,” he stated.
IN his message, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, urged Christian faithful to keep in mind the significance of the season, which is the perfect demonstration of sacrificial love to others as they celebrate Easter.
In a statement he personally signed, Lawan said as the journey to Golgotha ended in triumph, the season should also rekindle hope of victory over personal and communal challenges.
“Easter marks the trial, sacrifice, victory and completion of the divine mandate of the author of the Christian faith. The triumph of Christ should encourage all people of faith to be hopeful of victory against trials and challenges, whether as individuals or as a nation.
“The National Assembly will also continue to provide the necessary legislative interventions to support every effort made to take Nigeria out of the current insecurity and economic challenges.”
ALSO, former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hopeful in the 2023 presidential elections, Atiku Abubakar, has called on Nigerians to emulate the virtues of love and sacrifice, which characterised the life of Jesus Christ.
In a message released by his media office in Abuja to mark Easter, the Waziri Adamawa stressed that the two qualities of love and sacrifice are essential to the unity that Nigeria so desperately needs at this time when vested and provincial interests threaten to tear the nation apart.
“This weekend, we join our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria and across the world to celebrate the Easter festivities. This commemoration is a time for deep reflection as it marks the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. It is a time to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need.
“It is also a time for all of us — regardless of faith, or ethnicity — to come together to pray for the peace of our nation. We must all remain constant in our efforts to promote unity — across all lines — because united, our nation remains stronger and we thrive as a people.”
Atiku also encouraged leaders to use the opportunity of the celebration of Easter to reflect on their stewardship to their people and to the nation.
Former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said: “On this Good Friday, Remi and I extend our best wishes to Christians across Nigeria and around the world. Good Friday is a precious opportunity to be thankful to God for His mercy and to focus on Christ’s life of service, sacrifice and compassion toward all. It is a time to reflect on our belief in the divine and what that means as we go about the conduct of our daily lives
“This year has brought together the sacred days of two of the great Abrahamic religions. As Christians commemorate the sacrificial death of Christ, Muslims observe the Holy Month of Ramadan. In this, we are reminded that we Nigerians may be of different religions, yet we are of one family. We serve but one God.
“Given that each of these great faiths hold compassion, devotion, humility and peace among their pillars, there is no room amongst us for those who might use religion to divide and sow discord among brothers and neighbours.”
PRESIDENT of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, has pleaded with the Federal Government to work harder to bring reprieve to Nigerians from hardship, insecurity and other challenges they are going through. He, however, assured Nigerians that there is hope for them despite the gloomy socio-economic situation of the country.
In his Easter massage titled: ‘Hope in the midst of gloom’ yesterday, in Abuja, Ayokunle, said God will fast-tract the resurrection of Nigeria from all her pains and challenges so that Nigerians who have tasted in the suffering in our nation might equally eat the good of the land.
“The situation in the country today, to say the truth, without an iota of politics, looks very gloomy. There seems to be nothing to celebrate because of unimaginable insecurity. Despite the efforts of government to arrest the situation, the scope of insecurity keeps expanding to our consternation.
“Coupled with insecurity are other challenges such as mass unemployment, industrial disharmony, especially that of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), just to mention but a few. The prices of goods and services have risen in a way unprecedented in our country before and entrepreneurs are relocating to other countries that have better ease of doing business.
“Is there anything that calls for celebration in all these things we are facing? Yes, there is. Nothing is worse than death! If Jesus died and was buried, putting his disciples in the greatest state of disappointment and sorrow but afterwards rose from the dead, then, Nigeria is going to be great again. This nation will rise from all the challenges she is facing and we Nigerians are going to rejoice and be proud of our nation again in the name of Jesus Christ,” he prayed.
GOOD Friday is celebrated traditionally as the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified. It is a day every Christian holds in high esteem because the death of Christ on the cross—along with His bodily resurrection—is the fundamental event of the Christian faith.
Strangely, however, the usual hustling and bustling that characterise the festivity of Easter from Good Friday to Easter Monday have been glaringly absent, due to what many have blamed on the current economic crunch in the country.
Nigerians have called for a quick intervention in reducing the prices of foodstuffs and other commodities in the market as prices have skyrocketed. Two weeks into the Ramadan fasting, prices of foodstuff in the market have risen by about 30 per cent and the development has made life difficult for ordinary Nigerians.
The Guardian observed that some traders in the market have been taking advantage of the Ramadan fast to increase prices of food and other basic commodities indiscriminately, thus exploiting Nigerians and making the situation unbearable.
A market survey carried out by The Guardian at supermarkets in Lagos showed that a bag of rice that was sold for N34,050 in February now sells for N35,290.
Also, a litre of vegetable oil that sold for N1,845 in February is now N2,499, while five-litre keg of oil sold for N8,200 in February this year is now N9,000. A crate of egg (30pcs) that sold for N2400 is now N2600. A five-kg bag of Garri that sold for N3,200 in February is now N3,800.
A kilo of frozen chicken has also marginally increased from N2,170 in February to N2,300 now. A standard loaf of bread was between N500 and N600 in February and March, but now costs between N700 and N750, depending on the baker.
A trader at Cele Market, Lagos, Hassanat Adeniyi, revealed that the hike in these prices were mostly caused by selfish and inconsiderate traders who took advantage of Ramadan to exploit citizens by increasing prices of commodities.
Though she noted that only a few products have their prices increased directly from manufacturers, others were caused by traders who hike prices indiscriminately as demand increased.
Another trader, who sells fruits at Ijesha Market, Alhaji Sanni Abubakar, disclosed that apart from a little increase in the price of banana, prices of other fruits have been stable in the past two months.
Lamenting the situation while sharing her experience, Alhaja Ajoke Fadekemi said it had not been easy feeding herself and her family because of the hike in food prices.
She said: “Things have become too expensive in the market. It is becoming difficult for ordinary people like us to cope with high cost of items in the market. I am a petty trader and it is the little money I see from my daily business activities that I use in feeding my family.
“This is a time to have access to cheap and quality foods because of Ramadan, but it is not so. We are pleading with the government to come to our rescue and reduce prices of foodstuffs in the market so they can be affordable, especially during this period.”