Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has described Jesus Christ as a role model for Christians and Muslims alike.

This was as his co-Chairman of Nigeria Religious Council (NIREC) and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, testerday, called on Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of peace, love, sacrifice and hope which, he said, should be the fulcrum of Nigeria’s progression into the New Year.

In his Christmas message to Nigerian Christians, the Sultan said, “Though his personality or divinity maybe viewed differently by the teeming adherents of Christianity and Islam, the fact remains that in Jesus Christ, all of us, Christians and Muslims alike, have a role model, an exemplar and a symbol of our commonality as a people of faith.”

The season greeting, which was addressed to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsajafor, and signed by Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede, Secretary-General of NSCIA, read:

“The Nigerian Muslim ummah, under the leadership of the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the Sultan of Sokoto, H. E. Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, felicitates with our Christian compatriots on the occasion of 2014 Christmas. As you celebrate this important religious milestone, the Muslim community wishes you God’s guidance and abundant blessings embedded in the festive season.

“The occasion of the commemoration of the birth of Jesus (PBUH) offers us another opportunity to renew our prayers for the restoration of peace in our dear country. We join you in prayers as we beseech the Almighty God to extricate Nigeria from the shackles of her current challenges.

“Prophet ‘Isa (PBUH) or Jesus is one of the top-ranking Prophets of God that all Muslims venerate. In fact, the Qur’an mentions his name more than 25 times (i.e. Q. 2:87; 2:136; 2:253; 3:45; 3:52; 3:55; 3:59; 3:84; 4:157; 4:163; 4:171; 5:46; 5:78; 5:112; 5:114; 5:116; 6:85; 19:34; 33:7; 42:13; 43:57; 43:61; 43:63; 57:27; 61:6 and 61:14). Though his personality or divinity maybe viewed differently by the teeming adherents of Christianity and Islam, the fact remains that in Jesus Christ, all of us, Christians and Muslims alike, have a role model, an exemplar and a symbol of our commonality as a people of faith.

“As millions of Christians in our country mark the birth of Jesus (PBUH), we pray that the occasion signals the beginning of more peace, more understanding, more security and more faithfulness to the true teachings of God as preached and lived by Jesus (PBUH) among us all.

Once again, on behalf of the entire Muslim ummah, accept our hearty felicitations and sincere season’s greetings.”

However, the President of the CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has called on Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of peace, love, sacrifice and hope. He said these should be the fulcrum of Nigeria’s progression into the New Year.

Oritsejafor, who gave the charge at his Christmas message, noted that 2014 has seen all kinds of difficult situations.

“The greatest news in the midst of these challenges is that of hope and the promise of better times ahead of us, which is the message of Christmas. The great joy with which families all over the world, including Nigeria, welcome the season of Christmas should be allowed to permeate through the fabrics of the society.

“Eating chicken, turkey and drinking wine often characterise this season, but equally important at this time should be the virtues of peace, love, sacrifice and hope which should be the fulcrum of Nigeria’s progression into the New Year. Our actions, attitudes and entire body language in the coming year must reflect these three virtues,” he said.

According to the CAN president, “with love, the less privileged are cared for; with peace, key actors of conflict will be inspired to lay down their arms; and hope brings on the spirit of a new Nigeria; so, ultimately, these virtues could together make the difference in 2015.

“Christmas comes with peace, love, sacrifice and hope for a better future and these should be the preoccupation of all faithful during the celebrations. Faithful should never spare a moment to reflect on these virtues even as they eat, drink and make merry.”

He stressed that Christmas cannot be said to be truly celebrated if the commitment is not kept, while urging all faithful to use the occasion to re-establish their relationship with God and mend broken ties with their fellow human beings.

Oritsejafor, who described 2014 as “a year of mixed fortunes –for individuals, for the Christian family, other faithful and the entire society,” said the year has seen “the extremes of fundamentalism and terrorism, natural disasters, disease epidemics and other forms of societal challenges.”

“Once again we find ourselves at the end of another year that has seen all kinds of difficult situations, important questions and challenges, but also signs of hope, both in the Church and in our society,” he said.

He urged all Nigerians not to lose sight of the challenge of securing their environment even as they rejoice during the celebrations, calling on all faithful to reflect on the happenings of the year, especially those moments that threatened the foundation and existence of the nation and work towards inspiring a positive change in the world.

“We must all be security conscious and assist constituted authority in securing our property. I remain confident that good will prevail over evil, as we genuinely reflect on these issues and renew our vows to God through the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas,” he said. [Mynewswatchtimesng]


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});