Easter: Governors, Senators beg Nigerians, says hardship over soon

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As Christians celebrate Easter, governors, senators, and other prominent individuals have urged Nigerians not to lose hope in the face of the economic challenges in the country.

In their various Easter messages on Sunday, they expressed confidence that economic reforms being implemented by President Bola Tinubu would soon end hardship in the country.

The President on his assumption of office on May 29, 2023, abolished the costly fuel subsidy, which had drained the country’s revenue as the nation spent N1. 57tn to subsidise fuel in 2021 and N4.39tn in 2022.

However, the fuel subsidy removal has led to a significant increase in fuel prices and impacted transportation costs and overall household expenses with prices of food, building materials, and other items skyrocketing.

The President’s decision has however increased funds accrued to states and local governments. The subsidy removal increased the average monthly disbursement from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to about N1.09tn, against the previous average figure of N620bn.

Tinubu’s administration also unified the exchange rate. He pledged to double the annual economic growth rate to at least six percent. The reforms aim to create an environment conducive to investment, job creation, and economic prosperity.

In his Easter message, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, called on the Christian community in the state and Nigeria to pray for Tinubu to succeed in administering the affairs of Nigeria.

Zulum’s Easter message was contained in a statement by his aide on New Media, Abdurrahman Bundi.

He said, “Let me, on this auspicious occasion, felicitate our Christian brothers and sisters in Borno and throughout the country. I urge us all in this solemn period to commit to prayers for the development and prosperity of our dear country and to our President Tinubu, for God’s guidance and wisdom to steer the affairs of Nigeria for greatness.”

Also, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, urged Nigerians not to be discouraged by the economic downturn the nation was facing but to be hopeful of a better tomorrow.

This was contained in his Easter broadcast in Uyo on Sunday titled “He Arose that We may Arise.”

Eno said, “This is a season of trial and victory. Our nation and our state may be going through a period of trial and tribulation but as Christ overcame death with victory at His resurrection, we too, will overcome our economic challenges with growth and abundance. I ask for your continuous support, prayers, unity, and love amongst our people.

“So my fellow Akwaibomites, as we celebrate Easter, let us remain hopeful that the future looks great, our collective dreams for prosperity across all layers of the society are realisable.”

On his part, the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, urged Nigerians to be hopeful of a better tomorrow and to have faith in the country’s current leadership.

Abiodun said, “ Let us reflect on the significance of this holy season and strive to emulate the teachings of love, compassion, and selflessness demonstrated by Jesus Christ. May the spirit of Easter inspire us to promote unity, peace, and understanding in our communities and the nation.”

His Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu called on residents to be Christ-like by reducing the cost of commodities as the naira appreciates against the dollar.

The naira depreciated to to N1,800/$ in February. However, in recent weeks, following some sweeping reforms by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the naira launched an impressive rebound in March, appreciating by 26 per cent to N1,300.

Advising Lagosian at the Combined Special Prayer for Nigeria and President Bola Tinubu in commemoration of Easter and Ramadan celebrations, on Friday in Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu said hardship would soon end.

He stated, “It’s beginning to turn around, that’s what we said a couple of weeks ago there’s nothing difficult that will last forever.

“Even at the national level, a naira that we all thought would never rebound is becoming stronger. it’s gaining weight and becoming a lot more of the currency that we all appreciate.

“You can even see from the policies that the Federal Government is bringing out, Naira savings are now the order of the day.

“You should be happy as Nigerians that we are holding on to our currency and which will improve our exchange of value,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said this needed to reflect in the markets, as the currency was getting stronger and better.

“There’s a need to see the reflection in the cost of goods and services; people can not continue to give reasons while it went up, and now that it’s coming down, it also needs to reflect in the cost of rice, beans, tomatoes and that is the message for all of us because we want to be our brother’s keepers.

Also, the Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, urged Deltans and other Nigerians to show love to one another and be willing to make sacrifices for the nation’s greater unity, peace, and progress.

Oborevwori, in his Easter message signed by his aide, Mr Festus Ahon, in Asaba on Sunday said, “As Christians, we must reflect on the importance of Easter celebrations in our dealings, not only with other Christians but with people of other faiths and convictions.’’

More so, the Ondo State Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, called on the people of the state to use the period of the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to show more love to one another.

This was contained in an Easter message issued through his aide, Mr Ebenezer Adeniyan, on Sunday.

Aiyedatiwa said, “As you forgive, the Lord will relieve you of anger, resentment, and pain and bring you peace.

“I urge you to increase your love for one another rather than hate and show more patriotic commitment to the development of our state. Let us remember that the scriptural emphasis of love has so much relevance for us today as a people more than ever before, and thus contributes towards the peace and development of our State.

“I wish you all a joyful and blessed Easter. Happy celebrations.”

The Abia of State Governor, Alex Otti, o said in the quest to build an economically vibrant state, the welfare of the citizens was uppermost in the mind of his administration and that no sacrifice was too big to improve the lives of the people.

Otti, in his Easter message on Sunday titled, “To live the ideals of the risen Christ”, said, “Whether it is in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of long-abandoned roads; reset of the healthcare delivery system; improved security of life and property in our various communities; or in keeping to our promise of prompt and regular payment of salaries and pensions; our objective is always clear: to improve the lot of the average person who lives or does business in Abia.”

Likewise, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, charged Christians not to lose hope amid the economic headwinds in the country.

The governor in his Easter message said, “I heartily felicitate our Christian faithful as we commemorate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“As a people, we may have been stretched beyond limits occasioned by the high cost of living and other economic headwinds, but we must not lose hope. Working together in unity, we can overcome these challenges and place our country on the path of sustainable growth and development.

“I wish you all a celebration filled with joy, peace, and love. Happy Easter celebration.”

In the same vein, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State also urged Nigerians to emulate the virtues of self-sacrifice and love as exemplified by Christ.

He stated this in his Easter message signed by his aide, Dan Nwomeh, on Sunday in Enugu.

He said, “I join Ndi Enugu and Nigerians in celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, as we mark Easter, I urge us to be our brother’s keeper and extend a hand of fellowship to those that offended us.”

The Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, urged Christians across the country to use the Easter period to foster unity, compassion, and goodwill in their various communities and the country at large.

This was according to a statement issued by his aide, Christian Aburime.

The statement partly read, “In his goodwill message, Soludo affirms that Easter is a time of reflection and transformation, reminding us of the profound lessons of love, selflessness, sacrifice, resilience, compassion and renewal embodied by Jesus Christ.

“As we commemorate this sacred occasion, let us draw inspiration from the teachings of Christ to foster unity, compassion, and goodwill in our communities and Nigeria.

“In addition, the governor enjoins Ndi Anambra and all Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the noble task of nation-building.”

Also, the Nigerian Southern Senators’ Forum called on Nigerians in the spirit of Easter to embrace the values of unity, compassion, sacrifice and solidarity.

The forum also commended the courage of Tinubu, and the leadership of the National Assembly, led by His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for their efforts in national development.

The forum, in a goodwill message jointly signed by the forum’s chair, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru and the Publicity Secretary, Asuquo Ekpenyong, said Easter is a time of reflection, renewal, and rejoicing.

The senators said, “In the spirit of this joyous occasion, let us embrace the values of unity, compassion, sacrifice and solidarity. Let us reach out to our fellow citizens with kindness, understanding, and empathy, especially during these challenging times, while we await the gains of the government’s bold reforms and initiatives. Let us renew our patriotism and our commitment to building a stronger, more prosperous, and more united Nigeria.”

Similarly, the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele urged Nigerians to imbibe the sacrifice and pains the saviour of mankind went through on the cross.

Bamidele said, “The sacrifice we are undergoing today may be painful just as it was for Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago, yet I call on the citizenry to remain hopeful and undistracted as there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“We should not allow pessimists to paint a picture of a failed nation before us, without recourse to the relentless efforts of the current administration of President Tinubu.”

In Ilorin, the Kwara State Christian Association of Nigeria Chairman, Rt Rev Sunday Adewole, charged Nigerians to sacrifice their time, talent, treasure and faith for an enduring peace to reign in the country.

The Bishop gave this admonition while speaking after his Easter message at the Cathedral of St. Barnabas Church, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin on Sunday.

Adewole, said, “We need to sacrifice our time, talent, treasure, faithfulness, availability and teachable. When we do these, we will be at peace in this country.

“Everybody should try as much as possible to make sacrifices so that the others will be at peace. Sacrifice is very important at this time around. Sacrifice everything you have including your time, your talent, your treasure etc.”

Similarly the Nasarawa State Labour Party Chairman, Alex Ombugu, in an Easter message called for prayers for the state and Nigeria to tackle its numerous challenges including insecurity and the recent hardship being faced by the citizens.

The LP chairman further explained that for Nigeria to achieve its goals, there was the need to end the divisiveness, intolerance and misunderstandings amongst religious and ethnic groups in the country.

This is just as an All Progressives Congress, chieftain from the Odogbolu Local Government Area in Ogun State, Adekunle Ayoola, urged Nigerians to use the occasion to rededicate themselves to building a more virile and prosperous nation.

Also, a former member of the House of Representatives, Shina Peller, on Sunday, urged Nigerians, especially Christians to choose love over hatred, peace over violence and good over evil in the spirit of Easter.

Peller, who represented Iseyin/Itesiwaju/ Iwajowa/Kajola Federal Constituency in Oyo State at the ninth Assembly, made this call in his Easter message on Sunday in Ibadan, the state capital.

He said, “Easter symbolises victory over loss, forgiveness over sin, love over hatred, gain over pain, hope over hopelessness, joy over distress, belief over disbelief, peace over violence and good over evil. So, as you celebrate, I urge you all to embrace all the good things that Easter represents as true followers of Jesus Christ (Peace be unto him).

“Importantly, in whatever way we can, let’s spread the love around, reach out to the needy, put smiles on the faces of the depressed, rekindle the hope of the hopeless, and touch lives positively during this Easter celebration and even after. May God make it possible for us. Amen.”

Meanwhile, the First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, has said the P is doing all it takes to “make the nation better.”

This was when she affirmed that her husband would “go back to a better Nigeria” after his tenure as president.

“Mr. President will do all it takes to make the nation better, that even when we live here, we will go back to a better Nigeria,” said Mrs. Tinubu when she hosted her predecessors and governors’ wives for an Iftar at the State House, Abuja.

The First Lady’s Special Adviser on Media, Busola Kukoyi, revealed this in a statement she signed Sunday titled, ‘First Lady Oluremi Tinubu hosts former first ladies, governors’ wives, others at Iftar.’

While maintaining that getting the nation back on track is a collective responsibility, she said, “We all have tasks to do to get this nation back on track.”

Mrs Tinubu noted that the various social investment programmes of the administration are all on track and the results are becoming evident.

Earlier, the wife of the Vice President, Nana Shettima, urged all women to be one another’s keepers.

Like the First Lady, Mrs. Shettima, argued that governance is a collective responsibility, urging women to remember the nation in their prayers, especially in these last 10 days of Ramadan.

On her part, the guest lecturer, Professor Rafatu ABDUL’Hammed of the University of Abuja advised women not to forget all they learnt during the Ramadan, and continue in that line.

ABDUL’Hammed said, that living in love, piety, humility and tolerance will enhance the lives of Nigerians.

The women offered prayers for the nation, the President and the world.

Those in attendance include former First Ladies of Nigeria, female justices, wives of governors, female ministers, wives of ministers and wives of service chiefs.

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