As Christians all over the world mark the Easter festivals, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Nigerians to show love for one another in the face of the challenges confronting the nation.
The Governor in a goodwill message on Saturday in Asaba, by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, to mark this year’s Easter celebrations, urged Christians to reflect on the import of Easter celebrations in their dealings, not only with other Christians, but with people of other religions.
He said Nigerians must eschew bitterness and all forms of violence, stressing that the progress, peace and security of the nation is anchored in good neighborliness and peaceful co-existence
“I urge you all to let the significance of the celebration reflect in our relationship with one another both Christians and the people of other religions. There is no doubt that these are tough times in our country”, he stated.
“Intolerance and impunity continue to rear their heads through sectarian violence. But, rather than succumb and feel threatened about these uncertain times, we should rise to the fact that these are trials that are supposed to strengthen our resolve to confront our challenges,” Governor Okowa added.
He reminded Christians that having gone through 40 days of fasting and praying, Easter was a better time for them to purge themselves of those weights that “have impeded our progress as a people over the years by demonstrating love in its fullness not only to one another but also to our society”.
The Governor enjoined Christian faithful and Nigerians in general to extend the spiritual benefits of Easter, which are love, peace, justice, sacrifice and kindness to their daily living, and through this contribute to unity and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
“The major lesson of Easter is for us as Christians, to rethink the reality of our faith. As Christians, we should continue to uphold the principles of our faith as it relates to honesty, justice, integrity, accountability, compassion, selflessness and the pursuit of the common good,” he added.
The governor also used the celebration to draw the attention of Christians to the underlining message of the Cross, which he said must not be lost to the accompanying festivities.
“The passion and death of Jesus underscores the love of the Father who gave his only begotten son in love for us and the willingness of the Son to sacrifice himself for others to be liberated from the weight of sin”.
“The story of Easter is that of relief that comes after anguish, pains, trauma, deprivations and sacrifices. Indeed before the joy that heralds the glorious morning of resurrection, there was terror and thick darkness that were strong enough to swallow up the eventual joy of Easter. It is therefore necessary to remind us all that there is always a glorious dawn after darkness, and without the difficult challenges, the huge and irrepressible triumph of Easter would have been a fantasy.”
Governor Okowa also used the medium to reiterate the commitment of the State government to make life better for all citizens and residents of the state through his S.M.A.R.T. Agenda.
He said: “This is our primary concern as reflected in the quantum of projects being executed across the State and the way we are committed to the welfare and prosperity of our people.”