By Ezra Odogu
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians of voting age to be circumspect and elect in 2023 those who can sustain the momentum already created by his administration for the good of Nigeria in the last seven and half years.
In a Christmas message to Christians, which he signed, Buhari noted that the joyous season coincided with the period of campaigns to usher in a new administration in the country.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan; the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, and his counterpart in the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, equally called on Christians to remain steadfast in prayers for a greater Nigeria as they celebrate this year’s Christmas.
Also, the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, and Governors Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Sani Bello of Niger State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State and Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State have preached peace and love among Nigerians.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have also rejoiced with Christians on the occasion of Christmas.
On his part, Buhari urged Nigerians to vote for those that would maintain the momentum “we have created for the greater good of the country.
“It is another opportunity to show the rest of the world that Nigeria is indeed ready to consolidate its democratic credentials as has been noted in international circles. Let the peace and joy that pervade this period continue well into the New Year up to the elections in February and beyond,” Buhari advised.
President Buhari called on Nigerians to renew their hope in a united nation and pledged his readiness to provide political and logistics support to the states, armed forces and individuals working for the stability and progress of Nigeria.
Buhari vowed that: “Until my last day in office, I will continue to provide political and material support to sub-national governments, the Armed Forces, institutions and individuals working wholeheartedly for the peace, unity, stability and progress of Nigeria.”
The President also declared that those bent on disrupting the peace of the nation have lost the battle, adding that Nigeria is richly blessed with human and material resources.
“I want to assure Nigerians that those who violently seek to disrupt the peace of our nation have lost the battle.
“Our country is blessed with a wealth of human and material resources. Let’s celebrate our blessings this season with the trust that a better dawn awaits Nigeria,”President Buhari further said in the Christmas message.
“For me and my family, this year’s celebration is unique. It is my last as your elected president. Twenty-two weeks from now, this administration will hand over to another.
“In the last seven years, I have had the privilege of receiving members of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) community on Christmas homage, except the year the COVID-19 pandemic denied us that opportunity. I will fondly remember them as my benevolent landlords and friendly neighbours.
“It is crucial that I remember this about my closest neighbours because there is no better way for us to celebrate Christmas as a people than showing genuine love, care, compassion and empathy for one another.”
In a statement by his media office, former President Jonathan called for love, unity and peace among Christians and others around the world.
Jonathan urged Nigerians to “approach this season of Christmas with optimism and renewed faith in ourselves and our country.”
He further stated: “Let us approach this season of Christmas with optimism and renewed faith in ourselves and our country. Let us exhibit love, tolerance, a sense of unity and peace towards our neighbours and all around us during this season and beyond.”
Atiku, on his part, urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in prayers for a greater Nigeria.
The former vice president said: “Let us remain steadfast in prayers for a greater Nigeria after the elections of next year that will be a shining example for our present and future generations.”
In his Christmas message, the Senate President, Lawan stated that abiding by the great instructions of Jesus Christ “is important for Christians everywhere and all of us in Nigeria as we seek to build a virile and happy nation.”
On his part, Gbajabiamila said Christmas is a period for sober reflection and re-dedication to his teachings and ways.
In his statement, he enjoined the Christian faithful and other Nigerians to use the period to pray for a peaceful and successful general election in 2023.
The APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, in his message, said: “In this special day, I stretch forth my hand in fraternal affection and great joy to Christians and all who join in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.”
The former Lagos State governor described Christmas as “a period of spiritual uplift as both Christians and non-Christians are moved to reflect upon God’s love for mankind and what, truly, it means to love your God, your neighbour and yourself.”
“Thus, I say merry Christmas to the farmer, the student, the labourer, the artisan, the professional, the entertainer, the teacher, the police officer, the market women, the soldier and all Nigerians.
“I also extend my wishes for a good and happy Christmas to my political opponents. No matter our political differences, we are all Nigerians and we must move this nation forward,” Tinubu explained.
Obi, the LP presidential candidate, on his part, urged Nigerians to remain hopeful for a better nation, especially as the 2023 general election is fast approaching.
Obi made this call while delivering his 2022 Christmas message to Nigerians as contained in a statement made available to journalists.
The former Anambra State governor urged Nigerians to see the year 2023 as a very significant year in the history of the nation as it presents Nigerians the opportunity to turn around the trajectory of the nation by giving only competent leaders access to power.