Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to set aside their differences and celebrate the love and joy that comes with Christmas.
“I heartily rejoice with our Christian brothers and sisters on the occasion of this year’s Christmas,” the president said in his Christmas message to Nigerians on Saturday.
“Many of us look forward to this festive season as a time to travel, share gifts, spend quality time with family and friends, attend special carols and events, and generally relive the good moments of the year. In whatever circumstances we find ourselves, Christmas is a period when we come together to rejoice and set aside our differences.”
Nigerians, he reiterated, should celebrate the period by showing genuine love, care, compassion, and empathy for one another”.
We must never lose sight of the symbiotic relationship between Christmas and hope; Jesus Christ and humility, Christianity and grace.
“In this season of love, joy, and peace, let us not fail to remember those who really wish to celebrate but are constrained in one way or the other by reaching out to them,” the Nigerian leader continued.
Describing this Christmas as unique, Buhari said he has cherished memories about the period since he became president in 2015.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
The message, which comes a few months before the country heads to the polls, also re-echoed his commitment towards a credible exercise and a better nation.
“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,” he added.
“The advances we have made so far on the economic front, especially in infrastructure; food security, anti-corruption, security, and energy sufficiency, among others, will need to be built on.
“This joyous season has coincided with the period of campaigns to usher in a new administration. I urge you to be circumspect and vote for those that will 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. I want to assure Nigerians that those who violently seek to disrupt the peace of our nation have lost the battle.”