I am indeed delighted to join our Christian brothers and sisters to commemorate this year’s Easter celebration.
We thank the Almighty God for granting us the opportunity to celebrate another Easter at a time of great promise and hope for our dear nation, despite the challenges we also have.
Easter, the season in which Christians mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, represents the triumph of good over evil; and life over death. It is also a time to show love, forgiveness, compassion and renewed hope in the Grace of God.
The Holy Scripture affirms that happiness and fulfillment in life do not flow from acquiring the best things in life, but in being richer in a relationship with God and fellow human beings.
Let us use the opportunity of this special season to deeply reflect on how every one of us can imbibe the profound teachings of Jesus Christ with renewed vigour.
In so doing and by placing the joy, comfort and happiness of others above ours, we will make a statement that vices such as, hate speech, bigotry, corruption, banditry and terrorism have no place in our nation. We must do all it takes to love our neighbours and display increased spirit of tolerance and accommodation.
I commend those who recognise and support our unwavering efforts to prevent the spread of conflicts in our communities; check wanton criminality and the taking of innocent lives; unite the country; and steer the ship of state to a steady path of economic growth, job creation and development.
While we enjoin law-abiding fellow compatriots to work for peace and social justice in our beloved country, let there be no doubt of our resolve to firmly resist others who may want to make cheap political capital out of current national security challenges.
Our programmes and policies in the last three years have resulted in bringing down the prices of staple crops; gradual improvement of road, rail and electricity infrastructure; and making Nigeria the preferred destination for investors. More than ever before, we are ready to consolidate on these gains and ensure that we improve the lot of our communities in the years ahead.
Thankfully, our Dapchi schoolgirls who were safely released recently after 30 agonizing days in the hands of their abductors, have been reunited with their families. I am very optimistic that all others, including the Chibok girls who are still in captivity will be safely released unconditionally to their families. I urge you to continue to pray for their safe return.
In the meantime, I have given clear instructions to our security agencies to prioritise safety in schools in areas where the humanitarian and security situation are still dire, in addition to ensuring adequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
As we approach the period of campaigns, I appeal to our political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of our electoral process.
I am optimistic that with God on our side, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over. They are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong. I remain committed to bequeathing a legacy of supremacy of the people’s will through the ballot box.
May this year’s Easter celebration bring us renewed hope and confidence as a great nation.
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
March 29, 2018.