The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase and the minority caucus of the House, have rejoiced with Christians as they mark this year’s Christmas.
Gbajabiamila said Christmas, which is marked to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, is a period for sober reflection and re-dedication to His teachings and ways.
The Speaker, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, enjoined the Christian faithful and other Nigerians to pray for a peaceful and successful general elections in 2023.
Gbajabiamila, in the statement titled ‘Christmas: Gbajabiamila Rejoices with Christians, Calls for National Prayers’, said as the country is getting ready for the general elections, it had become imperative for Nigerians to eschew any form of violence and acts that could undermine the peaceful conduct of the polls.
The speaker equally urged Nigerians to cooperate with all the relevant government agencies and officials before, during and after the elections.
The deputy speaker, in a separate statement titled ‘Christmas: Wase Felicitates with Christians, Calls for Prayers, Unity’, called on the Christian faithful to uphold the tenets of love, sacrifice and tolerance as symbolised by Jesus Christ.
Wase, in the Christmas message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Umar Puma, urged Christians to use this special occasion to show love and kindness to one another.
He also urged Christians to use the occasion of this year’s Christmas celebration to pray to God to put an end to all the security and economic challenges bedevilling the country.
The deputy speaker further urged religious leaders to pray for the nation and its leaders, as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections.
The Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, urged Nigerians to use the occasion of the 2022 Christmas to rekindle their trust in God and reinforce their love for one another in the renewed hope of a brighter future for the nation under a purposeful, caring and humane leadership in the coming year.
Elumelu made the call in a separate statement issued on Saturday and titled, ‘Christmas: Reps Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu urges Hope, Trust in God’.
The statement partly read, “It is indeed heartrending that in the last seven and half years, of the current administration, Nigerians have been so deprived that they cannot afford their basic needs and made to observe major festivities in fear, misery and utter desolation due to economic hardship and escalated insecurity.
“Despite the challenges, we must not succumb to despondency but strengthen the bond of unity, celebrate and share with one another in love, believing that this will be the last Christmas under an uncaring government.
Moreover, Christmas presents yet another opportunity for those behind the acts of violence and disunity in our country to turn a new leaf and embrace a life of peace, love and harmonious living especially as our nation prepares for crucial general elections in the coming year.
“We must, therefore, use the celebration of the coming of Jesus (God is Salvation) to affirm our trust in God’s saving grace to rescue our nation from the woods and return her on the path of unity, peace, joy and happiness which is the essence of the Yuletide.”
Elumelu added that the minority caucus in the House felicitates with Nigerians and wishes them a merry Christmas and a happy New Year ahead.
Meanwhile, a former president of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has urged Nigerians to renew hope and faith in God in the quest to find lasting solutions to the socio-economic and political challenges facing the nation.
Mark, in a goodwill message to Nigerians through his Special Adviser, Paul Mumeh, marking this year’s Christmas celebration, said there is need to seek refuge in God, saying, “if all things fail, God never fails.”
The ex-Senate president canvassed for religious harmony between and among various groups, stating that peaceful co-existence is needed for development to take place.
Mark bemoaned “occasional religious conflicts in the land” and called on religious leaders to do more in preaching the good news of peace, love and good neighbourliness.
The former lawmaker urged the Christian faithful to not forget the essence of Christmas on the alter of merriment, saying, “Jesus Christ came to redeem mankind, preached the message of peace, love, forgiveness and help for the needy.”
The retired general urged religious leaders to educate their followers on the need to be their brothers’ keepers at all times pointing out that “nobody can live a life of loneliness or isolation. We need each other to make the world a better place.”