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It’s Good Friday

03 April 2015   |   2:02 am
EMERGING from a momentous and breathtaking presidential and national assembly elections, Nigerian Christians are today joining others across the globe to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the One upon whose life, death and resurrection, the Christian religion is founded.

Good-FridayEMERGING from a momentous and breathtaking presidential and national assembly elections, Nigerian Christians are today joining others across the globe to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the One upon whose life, death and resurrection, the Christian religion is founded.

In spite of the wicked conspiracy that saw to the crucifixion of Jesus, the goodness of this Friday lies in the mysterious love of God that is behind the sending of his Son into the world on the one hand, and the humility, the sacrificial love and the fortitude displayed by Jesus as he achieved the redemption of humanity through his vicarious death on the cross in obedience to his Father’s will.

Jesus had indeed taught his disciples that there is no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for his friends. This is exactly what he did on the cross of Calvary, and the reason the Friday of his brutal crucifixion is known paradoxically as Good Friday.

This is a day of great religious significance for Christians of all descriptions and of every generation: It is the day when Jesus paid the ultimate price for the salvation of humanity; the day when God’s sacrificial love was demonstrated in a supreme manner by the giving away of his Son; the day when the forces of darkness were vanquished by the sheer goodness of One crucified on the Cross of Calvary.

It is in acknowledgement of the religious significance of this day that it is a holiday in Nigeria and elsewhere.

Good Friday this year is coming on the heels of Nigeria’s presidential and national assembly elections that have climaxed a long period of high-tension politicking and troubled electoral preparations.

In the spirit of service and sacrifice, which is characteristic of the Lenten period, Nigerian politicians, and especially the Christians among them, would have been expected to approach their political engagements with a contrite disposition, drawing on the lessons Jesus taught by his life and death.

But with the unprecedented level of recrimination, acrimony, open brigandage and corruption that characterised the campaign period, it appears that the spiritual and moral values that should go with Nigerians’ acclaimed religiosity as a people were once again sadly not in evidence in the competition for power and control of the state machinery.

The presidential and national assembly elections have, however, been rounded off somewhat successfully and with relative peace, notwithstanding the major logistic challenges that were faced here and there and the alleged irregularities that are due to be attended to by the post-election tribunals.

Today, history has been made, as an incumbent president has publicly conceded victory, and he along with many of his staunch supporters in the ruling party, have openly congratulated the winner in a vigorously contested presidential election.

This singular act by President Goodluck Jonathan and some of his acclaimed supporters can be seen not only as the demonstration of a high sense of political discipline and statesmanship, but also as an act of Providence, considering the dire predictions that were very well publicized in international circles about Nigeria’s possible disintegration in this election year, 2015.

Nigerians have once again demonstrated their resilience as a people. For this feat, Nigerians and, especially President Goodluck Jonathan deserve commendation.

As all enjoy a measure of peace and calm today, following the tension-packed campaigns, part of this holiday should be spent reflecting on the nation’s socio-political and economic culture and conduct vis-à-vis the example left by the one who was crucified on this Friday.

So far, Nigeria appears to have nurtured a polity inundated with political figures who are short on elementary discipline and morality – a polity assailed by a culture of hate, ethnic bigotry, religious intolerance, political banditry, primitive greed and monumental corruption.

As Nigerian Christians celebrate Good Friday today, the economy is breaking at the seams, the nation’s currency is in tatters, and the national security infrastructure has been run ragged, appearing until very recently, impotent and incapable of dealing decisively with the deadly Boko Haram insurgency group.

The presidential and national assembly elections have been won by some and lost by others, but this is no time for gloating, partying or recriminations. It is a time to join hands with the winners of the elections, not in the business-as-usual manner of corrupt governance, but in the spirit of visionary leadership, selfless service and sacrificial love of country, to work hard towards addressing the many daunting challenges facing Nigerians as a people.

In his acceptance speech, Muhammadu Buhari, the new President-elect, acknowledged that the people voted wholeheartedly because they believe that Nigeria could be better than it is today. He has appropriately pledged that his party will govern and serve, but never rule over the Nigerian people. The Nigerian people must hold him and his new team accountable to the best standards of democratic governance.

Nigeria could indeed be much better than it is today. But this will only come about through the kind of sacrificial leadership and selfless service which Christians all over the world celebrate on this day.