Dear Compatriots, I greet and felicitate with you all once again as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I join all of our Christian compatriots in giving thanks to God Almighty for the divine gift of Jesus Christ the Messiah whose earthly incarnation we commemorate today.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who the Prophet Isaiah heralded as the Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor, I believe it is very appropriate that we all, Christians and non-Christians alike, reflect more deeply on the virtues and ideals which the Messiah espoused during his earthly mission.
To my mind, there can be no doubt that the greater internalization of the virtues of love for our fellowmen, tolerance, Godliness, honesty, fairness to others, selflessness, and peaceful co-existence with others, by all adult Nigerians, and the inculcation of the same in our youth, will definitely help our dear nation to overcome most of its present challenges.
Peace and love for others, especially, were a constant refrain in the Messiah’s teachings and admonitions to mankind.
Therefore, as we celebrate his birth, I urge all Nigerians to offer special prayers for a greater manifestation of divine peace in our country and the vanquishing of all demons of hatred, divisiveness and disunity in our midst.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us also remember and offer special prayers for all of our countrymen, women and children who have suffered and continue to suffer untold hardship, deprivation and death at the hands of terrorists and insurgents.
Let us also continue to pray for our gallant soldiers and security agents who remain at the forefront of the national effort to overcome terrorism and violent extremism, even as the rest of the nation celebrates Christmas and the coming New Year.
In this season of goodwill, I urge all patriotic Nigerians to rededicate themselves to doing all within their powers to support the brave men and women of our armed forces in the ongoing war against terrorism, and also support the Federal Government’s efforts to provide more succour to the hapless victims of terrorist atrocities.
The Victims’ Support Fund which we have established to raise additional funds to assist our compatriots who have been adversely affected by continuing insecurity in parts of our country remains active.
I call on all individuals and corporate organisations who have not yet done so, to donate more generously to the Fund which is being efficaciously deployed to ease the sufferings of victims of terrorist violence in the country.
Dear Compatriots, we are also celebrating this Christmas against the background of preparations for next year’s general elections.
I seize this opportunity to reassure the nation that my administration will give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) all necessary support to ensure that it delivers very free, fair, credible and acceptable elections in 2015.
National security agencies will also be given all necessary support to enhance their ability to ensure that the elections which should strengthen democracy in our country are peaceful and violence free.
I urge our political class to be law- abiding and place the greater interests of our nation above all personal or sectional interests in the countdown to the elections.
Let us all be more statesman-like, conduct issues-based campaigns, and eschew the promotion of falsehood, division and hatred of others as we seek the votes of our countrymen in what should be a peaceful competition among contending points of view for the progress and development of our dear nation.
I remain convinced that God Almighty is still with us as a nation even in the midst of our current challenges which we shall surely overcome with greater unity of purpose, dedication, commitment and perseverance.
Let this year’s celebration of the birth of Christ the Messiah rekindle, strengthen and reaffirm our faith in our national ability to overcome all challenges, with God on our side.
I wish you all very happy Christmas celebrations.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.