Okorocha, Ihedioha preach peace, love at Christmas


Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha

• Make sacrifices, Obi urges Christians
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha and the immediate past Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, have congratulated Christians as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This came as former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, urged Christians to be ready to make sacrifices in appreciation of God’s gift of love at Christmas.

While Okorocha’s goodwill message was signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, Ihedioha’s statement was endorsed by his media aide, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, and made available to The Guardian on Thursday, in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

Okorocha noted that Christians should use the opportunity to pray for “unity, love and understanding”, asking “for the efficacy of a united nation”, as well as “the progress, development and prosperity of the state and her citizenry in the coming years. The governor expressed satisfaction with the World Bank’s recent index of poverty reduction in the state from 57 per cent to 19 per cent.

According to him, the problems of the militia groups, insurgency, pro –Biafra protests and Niger Delta agitators should be seen as challenges confronting the nation. He urged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari and his administrative programmes.

The statement reads: “To say the least, it is not advisable for the leaders in the North-East to be accused of being responsible for the actions of the Boko Haram apologists or the leaders in the South-East being accused of sponsoring Pro-Biafra protests, ditto, the South-South and South-West leaders with regard to the overtures posed by certain groups in the areas.

What Nigerians and of course the leaders in particular need to do now, is to unite and find lasting solutions to all these challenges, because we cannot afford to hand over to the next generation what we have at the moment as a nation. Nigerians must strive to hand over to the next generation a united and prosperous nation, all the ethnic and religious groups can be proud of.

The Governor also asked Nigerians to be committed in their support for President Mohammadu Buhari and the APC governments at all levels because they all meant well for the nation.
He particularly appealed to the people to appreciate the good intention of the Rescue Mission Government to make the state better than it was and to also acknowledge that as their governor, he meant well for the state and her good people.

He said that, with the poverty rate of the state, according to World Bank and United Nation’s reports for the year 2015, released in June dropping from 57 per cent in 2011 when he came in as governor to 19 percent in 2015, it could be argued, that the state has been re-positioned for greatness.

He assured the people of the state that he would not relent in his effort at sustaining the state on the speed lane of development, growth, progress and prosperity. He wished the good people of the state hitch-free Christmas and prosperous New Year.

The governor appealed to the people of the state to remain steadfast in their prayers for him and the Rescue Mission Government in the state.”

Ihedioha, on his part, opined that the period calls for “the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ which the season represents, offers a unique opportunity to extend love to families, friends, neighbours and indeed all Nigerians from all walks of life to imbibe the virtue of forgiveness towards ensuring peaceful coexistence.”

He, however, berated the low-key celebration in Imo State, describing it as: “the bleak celebrations in Imo State owing to the avoidable hardship the citizens are subjected to. He, therefore, called for restraint in the interest of the state and urged citizens to eschew tendencies that promote hopelessness, intolerance of dissenting views and inclinations, noting that the need for sober reflection during Christmas is a timely opportunity for leaders and followers alike to reflect on the state of affairs.”

Ihedioha reminded the Christian faithful that Jesus Christ brought redemption into the world without any discrimination, urging people to follow his footsteps.

Emeka Ihedioha

Emeka Ihedioha

In the same vein, former Anambra governor, Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday extended felicitations to Christians.
The text of his message reads: “Ndi be Anyi, ekenee m unu. Let us all thank God that we are here today to celebrate yet another Christmas, an occasion which as Christians we should use to remind ourselves of the mystery of our salvation and the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ who is our way to eternity.
“However, this time, we have a Christmas which is characterized by sadness, arising from difficulties affecting the world, including our country. This period therefore actually calls for prayers and deep reflection on, and re-examination of, the lives we have led up till this moment. The dictum of Socrates comes to mind here: “An unexamined life is not worth-living”.

As we march towards the end of 2015, I appeal to all of us to go into the New Year with a new commitment to make sacrifices for our country and our people. I also enjoin all of us to believe in our country, support our leaders and exhibit the spirit of patriotism that will be in tune with what will lead to progress and development.
‘May Almighty God continue to guide and protect us, so that 2016 will be a better year for Anambra State, Nigeria and indeed for all of us.

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