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For Nigeria this season, the saying, “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk,” seems to have special relevance. The country is going into the most critical phase of preparations for crucial general election in 2015, when a lot of prayers and sermons of peace are needed for a free and fair poll. And this Yuletide has seen loads of such prayers and wishes from those on whose shoulders the government of the country lies; whose actions or inactions can either make life difficult or easy for Nigerians.
President Goodluck Jonathan said, “As we commemorate the birth of the Prince of Peace, let us all strive to honour Him more by living our lives as He taught; by making personal sacrifices for the good of others, by showing greater love for others, by being fairer and more honest in our dealings with others, by being ever-willing to forgive those who offend us and by always extending goodwill towards others.”
Senate President David Mark said, “We have come a long way as a people. We should see ourselves as one people, one nation with a common destiny. We cannot be moving in the reverse order when other nations are going to the moon.
“We have always admitted that the challenges are enormous, but we must realise that nobody is coming from the space to solve our problems for us.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal told Nigerians: “This period calls for sober reflection and continued prayers for our dear nation.
“We must replicate the teachings and lessons of Christmas and continue to exhibit good character, as well as extend hands of fellowship and build blocks of unity and understanding to all, irrespective of our perceived differences.”
The religious leaders, too, were full of prayers for the good of Nigeria.
“May this Christmas bring forth joy, hope, peace and harmony in our land.
“But as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I urge all Nigerians, irrespective of our religions, to display the true spirit of devotion, which originates from our systems of religious beliefs as enshrined in the holy books,” President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, said. “Christmas is a season for us to ponder on the gifts that come with the birth of Jesus Christ. We should seek to preserve the fundamentals, the true spirit of reverence, which many displayed towards Christ in His days.”
From the Vatican, Pope Francis also prayed for Nigeria in his first Christmas message since his ascendancy as Pope.
He prayed: “Prince of Peace, in every place turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue.
“Look upon Nigeria, rent by constant attacks which do not spare the innocent and defenseless.”
Besides the leaders of the executive and legislative arms of government, other political leaders at the state and federal levels had lots of good prayers, wishes, and counsels for their country.
How Nigerians wish the country’s leaders can match their kind words with action!
Wishing for something does not make it happen. The country’s leaders must practise what they preach.
Nigeria’s problems, as have been variously proved, are largely politician-made. And they are not insurmountable. As Mark said, nobody is coming from outer space to solve the country’s problems. Nigerians must brace themselves up for the challenge of nation-building.
As the country enters the year when preparations for the 2015 general election are expected to reach fever pitch, the world will be looking at the Nigerian politicians and leaders to see how far they can practice the messages of goodwill, love, honesty, and peace they preached this Yuletide.