Governors Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enuu State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State are some of the states helmsmen that have sent out greetings to Christians in their states and across the country on the celebration of Easter.
Governor Zulum in a message, released by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau on Saturday, used the season to warn, that notwithstanding the global focus on Covid-19 pandemic, Nigeria and the international community must never lose sight of the Boko Haram insurgency, which he sees as an older coronavirus he labelled “Covid-2009”.
“I warmly felicitate with our Christian brothers and sisters in Borno state and beyond, at Easter, which is a season we should recognize and imbibe selfless sacrifices and renew our hopes and convictions.
While wishing all Christians a happy and memorable Easter, I share the pain, that the important Easter is being celebrated at a time Nigeria, like many parts of the world, is battling to contain a pandemic caused by coronavirus disease. The Covid-19, first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, has so far caused the deaths of nearly 104,000 persons around the world from which Nigeria recorded 7 in mortality. Borno state government will remain relentless in fighting this dangerous and highly contagious disease through strict preventive and responsive measures.
“In the midst of the fight against Covid-19 however, there is the risk of stakeholders in Nigeria and the international community, losing focus on the fight against Boko Haram, which to us in Nigeria, is an older ‘Covid-2009-coronavirus‘. Although the Boko Haram, under its initial identity as Taliban, launched its first attack back in October 2003 around Yobe state, the group gained notoriety in July 2009 and since then, no one knows the exact thousands of persons killed by this dangerous ’Covid-2009’”
“The Boko Haram is equally contagious through the spread of violent ideologies and links with terror groups around the world. It is also contagious by creating permanent fear and agonies for millions of people. We cannot afford to be distracted. We must be simultaneous and consistent in applying and sustaining tough measures against Covid-19 and ‘Covid-2009’. With their proven evil mindset, Boko Haram insurgents would expect us to be carried away with Covid-19, so they can exploit the situation to make Covid-2009 worse than it already is. We must never let this happen” Zulum said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu congratulated Christians in the State on the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, urging them to emulate His virtues of humility, perseverance and compassion.
The Governor also urged Christian faithful in the State to continue to live in peace and harmony with believers of other faiths in the State.
He noted that “good neighbourliness, selflessness and patience were among the several lessons taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ”.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, Governor Sanwo-Olu reminded Lagosians that the events leading to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were epochal in the annals of Christianity and humanity.
The Governor therefore enjoined every citizen to reflect on how best to positively impact the lives of friends, colleagues, neighbours and family members.
He added that ‘‘as Christians, this period offers us an opportunity to rethink our relationships as individuals, as communities and as a nation.’’
“The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ typified love, affection and tolerance. It also marked the end of evil and beginning of good deeds.’’
With the corona virus pandemic threatening to bring the entire world to its knees, Sanwo-Olu said the occasion of the resurrection of Jesus Christ should be a veritable avenue for all to show more love, kindness and care for one another.
The Governor said the citizens should join hands with the government in the fight against what he described as the common enemy.
“We must brace up and be ready to confront this scourge with uncommon resolve and dedication. We must not be deterred by the speed at which it is spreading, rather we must work harder to eradicate the pandemic and all that it stands for. As a government, we will do everything within our powers to rid the State of this unwanted guest.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu commended Lagosians for their steadfastness, resilience and cooperation with his administration since his assumption of office. He assured them of his administration’s commitment to good governance and people-oriented programmes.
Governor Fayemi felicitated with Christians in the state and in the country on this year’s Easter celebrations in a goodwill message in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday. He said witnessing the Easter is a special grace from God in view of prevailing situation all over the world.
Dr Fayemi said Easter is very significant because it is an annual event marking the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
He urged Christians and adherents of other faiths to emulate the sacrifice and selflessness of Jesus Christ in their daily lives.
He described this year’s Easter as “very peculiar” because it came when Nigeria and other countries of the world are grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic, which has necessitated a low key celebration.
While noting that although this year’s Easter may not allow for elaborate celebration and services in places of worship, the Governor said Christians should not lose sight of the lessons of the season, which centre on love and sacrifice.
He urged the people of the state and other Nigerians not to allow their spirits to be dampened by the raging pandemic and the attendant lockdown in many states, but to have faith that it will be overcome.
The Governor said measures adopted to contain the pandemic including closure of places of worship are sacrifices that should be accepted in good fate at an unusual time like this.
The measures, he said further, are aimed at preventing needless loss of lives and in the overall interest of the people as a responsible government that cares for the people.
Dr Fayemi also reiterated the need to abide by directives to prevent the spread of the virus like social distancing, washing of hands under running water, use of sanitizers, avoiding handshakes, body contacts and crowded places, among others.
The Governor called on Christians to make use of the Easter period to pray for God’s intervention to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and for a return to normal life as soon as possible.
“This is certainly an unusual time. The coronavirus has altered many plans and programmes. Yet we should be grateful to God for being alive to witness another Easter celebration. While we celebrate the season without the usual festivities, we should however spare some time to pray earnestly to God to help us overcome the present circumstance.
“While wishing Christians and entire Nigerians a happy Easter celebration, it is my belief that God will intervene, answer our prayers and bring an end to this scourge so that normal life can return.
Gov. Ugwuanyi, in his Easter Message appreciated Ndi Enugu for their understanding and cooperation towards the state government’s efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the state.
He said precautionary measures put in place to mitigate the pandemic remain in force in the overall public interest pointing out that his administration is not unmindful of the difficulties and inconveniences the measures present and stressing that they are undoubtedly in the best public interest.
He commended the 17 LG Councils, stakeholders, political leaders, others, for complementing state government’s efforts in awareness campaigns and palliatives to rural communities.
He also offered special commendation to health workers for their sacrifice to keep Ndi Enugu safe from the pandemic and lauded security agencies, other relevant public institutions for enforcing compliance, and ensuring security of lives and property.
Gov. Ugwuanyi thanked various religious groups and leaders for their continued support, urging Ndi Enugu: “Let us celebrate this Easter in supplications to God, staying safe, and observing the various guidelines and directives released for the prevention of further spread of COVID-19”.
Engineer Makinde tasked residents of Oyo State to be full of prayers and imbibe Christlike sacrifice this season of Easter.
The governor, who stated this in his Easter message to the people of the state, said that residents and especially those of the Christian faith, must use the opportunity of the Easter season to engage in more prayers for the State and Nigeria.
A statement made available to the Media by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor also encouraged the people to imbibe the lessons of sacrificial living and love, which he said are the hallmarks of Easter.
The statement added that Jesus Christ enormously demonstrated the height of sacrifice and true love for humanity through his death and resurrection.
According to the statement, sacrifice, love and increased prayers were important at a critical time like this, when the world is fighting the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
Governor Makinde said: “As the world marks another Easter, a reminder of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection, it is pertinent to felicitate with residents of Oyo State, especially those of the Christian faith.
“While regretting that they could not celebrate the Easter festivity as they are wont to, due to the restrictions brought upon us all by the need control social gathering and movements as a result of moves to contain COVID -19, I must salute the commitment, comportment and prayers of all residents of the State in the last few weeks.
“I also want to assure residents of the State that their government is doing everything possible to protect them and to ensure that the Easter festivity goes as seamless as possible.
“As we celebrate the Easter season, it is another opportunity to offer more prayers to God to heal the world by granting wisdom and direction to humanity on a solution to Covid-19. As the Bible makes it clear that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much, I am sure that our prayers can go a long way at this critical period.
“Also, as a people, this season offers us the opportunity to put into practice the lessons of sacrifice and love, which are the reasons for Easter. I urge you all to be selfless and sacrificial at a period that the State and the country goes through so much and to also show love in every little way.
“It is my sincere prayer that God in His infinite mercy will heal our lands and make these trying times to pass over us in a short while. I felicitate you all and wish you a Happy Easter.”