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On the joy of Easter



Nigerians should simply reflect on the challenges facing their nation today and renew their hope in their country’s manifestly great destiny on this Easter Sunday.

Indeed, this year’s celebration offers all compatriots yet another occasion to think about the import of the outstanding events upon which the Christian religion and practice are anchored and how those events should rekindle their faith in the redemptive powers of love.

In a season of distress and unimaginable pains, of widespread social immorality, national insecurity and worsening economic fortunes of an overwhelming majority of the people, Nigerians are today celebrating the miracle of the resurrection.

They have indeed been subjected to considerable socio-economic strain in the past year, partly on account of the substantial fall in crude oil prices, but also as a result of the monumental corruption of the political elite as shown in the scandalous revelations of the last few years, a phenomenon that now appear endless, even with the

Muhammadu Buhari regime. Sadly, many of the players in the degenerate system are believers who have failed to bring to bear on their assignments realChristian values, but have rather facilitated the reckless looting of the national treasury.

As one said by this newspaper, Nigerians make a lot of noise about religion, but when it comes to self-gratification at the expense of the common good, or taking advantage of weak links in the nation’s national structures and institutions, the Nigerian Christian and their Muslim counterparts do readily subsume and subordinate their religious values to the conspiracy to defraud the commonwealth.

For some Nigerians, the gospel of prosperity at any cost is not only the most attractive but in fact the only viable one. Many renounce the idea of suffering or sacrifice today for a future reward and pursue instant gratification by whatever means possible, even if that means takingn short-cuts to riches. They take the easy life at the expense of the citizenry.

To bequeath the perfect example of a life of consummate love of humanity, Jesus lived, preached and taught humility, justice, service, compassion, non-violence and forgiveness.

He pointed the way to the eternal truths that all need as guide, highlighting the paradox of humanity, that giving begets receiving, that dying to self is the sign of true birth and maturity, that the triumph of the meek and humble overwhelms the transient and ephemeral power of the tormentor.

It bears repeating that the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter frees the ardent believer from embarrassment and disappointment, and authenticates the prophecy of the Redeemer himself who promised to rebuild the Lord’s temple in three days of its falling.

As Nigerians are celebrating this Easter under a cloud of uncertainty on the social and economic fronts, when the war against insecurity is not yet won, the war against corruption is grinding and the economic indices remain troubling, those who are sustained in hope should rekindle that confidence in the possibility of a new country of committed leaders and trusting followers who would lead Nigeria out of the woods.

All Nigerians, wherever they may be, can bring about the much-desired change to their immediate environment and the country at large. They can impact their sphere of influence and thereby aggregate the much-needed turnaround of the society.

Nigerians’ celebration today must, once again, necessarily be subdued in total respect for the multitude who cannot celebrate, who are trapped by the forces of evil, who are hounded out of their homes, whose places of worship have been destroyed and who are forcefully conscripted into degrading servitude.

Today’s celebration must be in honour of Leah, the Dapchi girl whose whereabouts and fate remain unknown.

Nigerians must not lose the import of Easter, which highlights the triumph of truth, justice and sacrificial love, and the promise of the ultimate victory of good over evil.

The resurrection of Jesus is a powerful testimony to the ultimate victory of good over evil, the eventual triumph of light over darkness, and the much hoped-for conquest of wickedness, aggression, violence and death by the forces of love, peace, nonviolence and life.

Again, this day is one in which to rekindle hope that evil will not prevail; that truth cannot be silenced for ever; that, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, ultimate victory belongs to the good, the just and the bearer of truth.

Jesus Christ lived to teach humanity a lesson on the efficacy of humility, service, self-sacrifice and true love, by which all should be prepared to die not only for his or her friends but also for the higher values of truth and justice.

Jesus Christ, whose resurrection is being celebrated today, is not an advocate of the outward display of empty ritualism in which most Nigerian worshippers seem to excel.

He simply calls His disciples, and indeed all Nigerians, to the practice of authentic religion which can only be found in passionate commitment to love, truth, justice, honesty, mercy, forgiveness and self-sacrifice.

He also teaches that there are values worth defending to the point of death.

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