Nigerian political and religious leaders have called on citizens to have faith in the country and the possibility of emerging from the current challenges as a great country.

They made the call yesterday in their New Year messages where they stated that although the challenges can be overwhelming, they are surmountable.

Political leaders speaking yesterday about an emerging national renaissance were Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, his Delta State counterpart and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vice-presidential candidate Ifeanyi Okowa, and the Senators Forum from the south.

Urging Nigerians to pray for national unity, peaceful elections in 2023 and voting for the right candidates, religious leaders were the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Primate, the Church of Nigeria (Communion Anglican), the Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba. and the Chairman of the Lay Council of St Christopher’s Catholic Church, Games Village, Abuja, Dr. Ralph Igweh,

Akeredolu congratulated the people of Ondo State on witnessing the new year 2023, emphasizing the need to imbue themselves with the spirit of gratitude to Almighty God.

According to him, despite the many challenges of the past year, the state has reason to appreciate God’s enduring grace and mercy that sustained him and his people.

Akeredolu, in a new year statement made available to LEADERSHIP by his chief press secretary, Richard Olatunde, called on people to intensify prayers for the peace and prosperity of the country, especially as the general election approaches. of 2023.

The governor, who was optimistic that the country will emerge stronger and better from its challenges, urged his compatriots to rededicate themselves to the unity and progress of the nation.

“2023 is a very crucial year, especially in the life of our country. We must be deliberate in making the right decisions. Our collective goals must show our respect for our diverse interests.

“We must reflect on the desires of our people and protect the interests and sentiments that have kept us as one indivisible county.

Let’s embrace reason and truth. We must be unanimous in avoiding cynicism and mistrust. Our main objective must be competition in the election of leadership.

“As the 2023 general election approaches, let us make a conscious effort to deepen our democratic gains by electing a competent candidate as the next president.”

According to him, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is capable of greatly improving the country’s democracy.

“He will provide opportunities for the great people of this nation and make the country a shining beacon of hope and stability,” the governor said.

For his part, Governor Okowa affirmed that hope, dream and aspiration as individuals, families and Nigerians will come true in the pivotal year of 2023.

He said in a New Year’s message broadcast on national television and radio yesterday that with a few weeks to go before the general election, 2023 promises to be a great year for Nigerians as they prepare to elect new leaders for the country.

While congratulating Nigerians on entering the new year, he lamented that Nigerians have had a turbulent 2022, dealing with ongoing insecurity, rising hunger and poverty, and an economy plagued by huge debts.

“First, let me say Happy New Year to all of us. Those of us who are alive to witness the birth of 2023 have every reason to thank God for his manifold mercies and sustaining grace. Nigeria needs to be rescued and rebuilt from the misrule of the APC led administration.

“For that to happen, I urge all Nigerians to think rationally, objectively and dispassionately in our choice of candidate. I call for us to vote wisely and urgently allow Nigeria to get back on track.”

The governor said the APC-led federal government had thrown Nigeria and its citizens into untold hardship.

“By all development indices, Nigeria has never had it so bad; insecurity is widespread, inflation is skyrocketing daily, public infrastructure is in shambles and more than 133 million Nigerians are mired in poverty, according to the latest report from the Office for National Statistics,” he said.

For its part, the Forum of Senators of the South stressed the need to forge a united nation to strengthen the ties of the country and make it strong to overcome the worms of corruption, insecurity and economic deprivation.

The forum, made up of members of the Senate of southern descent, insisted that Nigeria can only witness progress and prosperity if all citizens value unity and patriotism.

This was contained in a statement to mark the celebration of the new year by the forum’s president and senator representing the Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele.

Bamidele called on religious and political leaders not to make inflammatory comments that could further widen existing divisions and fan the fires of disunity that has been the main challenge tearing the country apart.

He asserted that the country came together through God’s design, and not by any mortal’s knowledge, urging Nigerians to be circumspect of this fact and protect the unity of the country.

He said: “I want to take this opportunity to call on our community and religious leaders to continue preaching the message of peace to all Nigerians, because a nation cannot progress and prosper unless there is unity between tribes and religious organizations. .

“We must know that a peaceful and united nation is a foundation and fertile ground for achieving and sustaining progress and prosperity.”

“In that spirit of unity and patriotism, we believe that citizens can do well by voting conscientiously in any election without outside influence or incentive.

Similarly, the CAN said that 2023 will be a year of turning around for Nigeria’s fortunes,

CAN President Archbishop Daniel Okoh, making it known in his New Year message yesterday, said that amid challenges, 2023 is a year of golden opportunities for Nigerians, praying that Nigerians do not waste or do misusing the opportunity to elect focused leaders. and compassion that will lead the country to greatness.

Okoh also called on security agencies not to let up in their efforts to ensure safety on earth; and also support the holding of peaceful general elections in 2023.

“Our politicians should realize that we don’t have any other country except Nigeria. Consequently, this reality should inspire them to be more responsible in making politics with the best interest of the masses at heart.

“Similarly, religious leaders must know that there is life after the 2023 general election. Therefore, our speeches and conduct must focus on encouraging our people to build a Nigeria where fairness, justice and fairness reign. ”.

The CAN president further assured CAN’s commitment to continue partnering with government, civil society and development partners to build a peaceful and prosperous country.

“We remain impartial and will not interfere in the duties of government agencies, but we will always promote and support good governance at all levels. However, the CAN will continue to raise prophetic voices when and where necessary”, he said.

The Primate of the Anglican Communion of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba, has called on Nigerians to turn to righteousness for God to turn Nigeria’s fortunes around as the country heads to elections.

The primate, who made the appeal yesterday at the Advent Cathedral Church in Abuja, said that the year 2023 will be the year of divine exaltation for Nigerians, but God’s standards for individuals, families and the nation have not changed.

“Proverbs 14:34 says: ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people, and God’s standards will not change even for Nigeria. Therefore, in order for us to see promotion, increased growth, prosperity, and indeed, many good things that God intends to do for humanity this year, we need to walk in obedience, in diligence in faith with God, because if we refuse to honor God, God won’t be forced to do what he wants to do, but he may still have a rule. God is asking us to return to the path of justice, that is God’s purpose for us,” he said.

According to Ndukuba, righteousness is the panacea for evil, it is the panacea for corruption, and it is the panacea for all evil that has ever existed.

“We are under the siege of evil. A situation where evil is covered up and evil is encouraged and those in the corridors of power to do what they are supposed to do are not doing the right thing.”

Vote for leaders who can meet security challenges, Igweh tells Christians

St Christopher’s Catholic Church Lay Council Chairman, Games Village, Abuja, Dr. Ralph Igweh, urged Christians to vote for the right leaders who are capable of addressing Nigeria’s security challenges.

In his new year message, Igweh said his elections should be devoid of political sentiment.

According to him, “in the true demonstration of Christian values, may we all be guided by the Holy Spirit in this election year. It is our civic responsibility to vote for the right leaders to run the affairs of this country.

“May our options not be guided by ethnic-religious, social and political feelings, but by values ​​of good conscience. We are burdened by security challenges brought about by socioeconomic problems in a country blessed with enormous human and natural wealth. Bearing this in mind, let our choices be equally guided by thoughts about the future of our children and the unborn generation.”