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Celebrating the Yuletide

AS Nigerians join their counterparts in the Christendom across the world to celebrate another Yuletide, which is a season of joy, peace and love, we challenge everyone to understand and embrace the spiritual significance of the birth of Jesus Christ, the saviour of the world, which is being remembered.
December 25 of every year is observed as Christmas Day worldwide to commemorate the birth of the Messiah who came down from heaven in human form over 2000 years ago, not only to redeem mankind but to fully reconcile him to his creator who he had fallen out of favour with after the devil prevailed on him to eat the forbidden fruit at the Garden of Eden.
On the heels of Christmas, is the celebration of New Year, the beginning of another 12 months, which is also observed across the world with pomp and pageantry. It is also a time when most people make resolutions for a change from bad habits to better ways of life.
Some, however, do not have a clear understanding of the significance of Christmas and therefore do not enjoy its inherent spiritual benefits. For instance, some think it is a season for excessive drinking and other forms of merriment and committing of immoral acts which is exactly the reverse of the reason for the season.
Such people must be made to come to terms with the real message of the coming of Jesus Christ who was born in a manger, a birth that signifies utmost humility. His birth also came with love, peace and blessings for all, which is why all Nigerians should use this opportunity to express love, give gifts of food and other materials to fellow citizens particularly the less privileged members of the society, including those in orphanages, prisons and old peoples’ homes.
Such humanitarian gestures should also be extended to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs living in various camps, especially in the northern part of the country after being forced to flee their homes due to attacks by the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
We commend non-governmental organizations and religious bodies that have been visiting and giving succor to these less privileged citizens. Others should emulate such gestures, especially in this season of celebration.
The haves should reach out and spread joy to those who ordinarily do not have what it takes to make merry so that they too, like the privileged members of the society can experience true love and joy and fully appreciate the essence of Christmas.
We call on members of the Boko Haram sect to use the occasion of the Christmas celebrations to reflect on their heinous actions, lay down their arms, give peace a chance and stop the killings of innocent Nigerians in the northern part of the country, since no meaningful socio-economic development can take place in an atmosphere of chaos such as they are creating.
Also, because the Yuletide is associated with high volume of traffic and human movements, on land, in the air and by sea, both within the country and to and from other parts of the world, with people traveling to celebrate with their kith and kin, we urge travelers and transport company owners to exercise utmost caution and appreciate the fact that it is only the living that can celebrate.
We challenge vehicle owners to ensure that their vehicles are in good condition before setting out on journeys with them while transport companies must not overstretch their vehicles and drivers in an attempt to maximize profit. Similarly, airline owners should ensure that their aircrafts are properly maintained and must also not overstretch them and the pilots in a bid to make more revenue as doing so will endanger the lives of not only such employees but travelers whose ultimate goal is to get to their various destinations in safety to be able to celebrate with their relatives and friends.
The regulatory agencies, especially the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIOs, as well as Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, must also be at high alert to ensure that the different transport operators fully comply with the laid down rules and regulations.
For instance, the FRSC and VIOs must not allow vehicles that are not roadworthy, be they commercial or private, to ply the roads while the NCAA, should intensify its checks on aircrafts to ensure that only air worthy ones fly.
They must also prevail on pilots to be very cautious concerning visibility and other weather conditions which are challenges to contend with especially at this period of the year.
Because fire outbreaks are also very rampant due to the present dry season weather conditions, fire services at state and federal levels should be at full alert and ensure that their trucks have water always, to be able to fight any fires summarily.
Bush burning must be guarded against to prevent avoidable wild bush fires that could cause catastrophes.
We are in full support of the ban on fireworks and call on the Police to strictly enforce the ban to guard against tragedies that sometimes result from the misuse of firecrackers.
Though it is a season of festivities, people must ensure that they celebrate in moderation and take time off to reflect deeply on the real reason for the season, the spiritual implications of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who left His throne in heaven and came to earth to redeem mankind and fully reconcile humanity to God.
Once the lessons expected to be learnt from the birthday of Jesus Christ have been learnt, the celebrations would have been worth the while of all.

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