- Spare a thought for military, security, says Atiku
By Lawrence Olaoye and Lateef Ibrahim
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his commitment to free, fair, credible and violence-free election in 2019 was neither a ruse nor another vain political promise.
This is just as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar urged Nigerians to spare a thought for the military and security forces who are on the frontlines on the war on terror.
The President, in a Christmas message, particularly to Christians, said the season is another opportunity to reflect on the imagery of the humble, symbolic and divine birth of a young child thousands of years ago in Bethlehem, Judea, and the message of hope, compassion, salvation, reconciliation, forgiveness and peace that Jesus Christ embodies and conveys.
While felicitating with Christians at the yuletide, Buhari, in a message he personally signed, stated that “We must not forget that what lies ahead of us as a nation is better than whatever we must have experienced in the past.
“With general elections around the corner and heightened political activities across the country, I have charged our security and law enforcement agencies to secure the sanctity of the ballot box and ensure that the outcome of the polls reflects the will of the Nigerian people.
“My avowed commitment to free, fair, credible and violence-free polls is not a ruse or yet another vain political promise. My word is my bond. It is a sworn declaration on the advancement of Nigeria, the future and safety of our young and unborn generations.
“Let us tell the world that, indeed, ‘‘something good’’ can come out from Nigeria. And it will happen, as we all team up to make it happen.
“In 2018, Nigerians have had mixed blessings, typical of human beings.
“On the pleasant side, our economy has made significant progress since coming out from recession and our faithful implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“Agricultural revolution has seen a vastly improved local production to the detriment of importation, while we have achieved surplus in our trade balance. Similarly, infrastructural deficit has been greatly reduced with significant improvements in roads, railways, aviation and power.
“In addition, we have not relented in the fight against corruption while the business environment has been improved through institutional reforms.
“On the downside, we have seen so many unnecessary deaths caused by violent clashes between neighbours, who ordinarily should complement and support one another.
“We cannot bring back the lives lost to floods, unfortunate fire disasters, road accidents, farmers/herders clashes and insurgency. But we can put back smiles on the faces of the grieving, the displaced and the troubled, if we show a little love and recommit ourselves to building relationships with those outside our ethnic, religious and socio-political divides.
“As we celebrate Christmas, exchange gifts, pray and visit loved ones, let us remember many others who cannot be with their families this time. Our brave Armed Forces, and other security men and women who make incredible sacrifices to keep us safe, the aged, the sick, physically challenged persons, all deserve our goodwill in this season of love and sharing.
“Together we can show generosity to our neighbours and demonstrate the diversity that makes Nigeria unique – a land with a beautiful climate and vegetation, beaming with an energetic and creative youth population.”
Equally, the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar in a statement personally signed by him yesterday in Abuja, advised that in the spirit of Christmas, which is sacrificial giving, Nigerians need to celebrate the sacrifice with the nation’s armed forces.
According to him, “There are too much divisions in our nation today and it is up to each and every one of us to inject the healing and unifying serum of love for our neighbour into the nation’s consciousness this Christmas.
“We may be Muslim, Christian or traditional religion adherents. But we are all creatures of God deserving of the love of God and of our neighbours. Let that be the attitude we embrace this Christmas and beyond.
“This Christmas, I urge all Nigerians to spare a thought for our military and security forces who are on the frontlines on the war on terror.
“I urge all Nigerians to think about these heroes who make the relative peace we live in possible. They endure so that we all can enjoy. Because they gave their all, we all have some peace.
“So, when next you see a soldier, boost his or her morale by acknowledging their sacrifices and thanking them. Nigeria owes so much to the gallant officers and the men and women of our armed forces.
“They epitomize the spirit of Christmas, which is sacrificial giving. Let us also celebrate the sacrifice our armed forces make for Nigeria.
“Finally, seeing that the essence of Christmas is that Christ came to earth to reconcile us to God, should we not, as beneficiaries of such divine reconciliation, reciprocate it by being reconciled with each other during this Yuletide period and beyond?
“Once again, on behalf of me and my entire family, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous and New Year”, he said.