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Lent: Jonathan, Buhari, PDP Urge Reflections For Peace, Prayers For Peaceful Polls

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 18, (THEWILL) –  The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, has called on Nigerians to use this season of penance to reflect, meditate and pray to God for peace and the rebuilding of our nation.

Buhari made this appeal Wednesday in a Lenten message to Nigerian Christians, as they joined other Christians worldwide in observing the annual period of repentance, sacrifice, fasting, prayers and almsgiving for the forgiveness of sins and spiritual revival.

The message reads: “My dear brothers and sisters, as we pray daily for mercy from God, let these 40 days be for us, a greater opportunity to change our ways and our hearts so that God can heal our land; which is in dire need of leaders and citizens who will show love and care for the poor and the rejected in our midst, for whom, Jesus Christ also sacrificed and died for.”

“Let us abhor discriminations in our country on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, gender and political orientation and work for a united, peaceful and progressive Nigeria where few men and women will no longer have the pleasure and privilege to deprive the majority of our common wealth.”

“As you observe this very important spiritual exercise, I will also join you in prayers to God for the strength you need to go through this season and for the forgiveness of the sins we all have committed against God and humanity.”

His message came on a day the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged Nigerians to use this year's Christian Lenten period to pray for peaceful conduct of the March 28 and April 11 general elections as well as re-dedicate themselves to the virtues of compassion, good neighbourliness and love for one another.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Ash Wednesday said Nigerians must use this period “to refocus their desires and work together as one united family under God, irrespective of ethnicity, political affiliations, class or creed.”

The party urged the citizens to ensure that they vote only peace-loving individuals at all levels and reject those associated with violence and bigotry.

“We must use this year's Lent to reaffirm values that bind us together as a people. The fact that the March 28th Presidential and National Assembly elections fall within this solemn period, which is universally dedicated to fasting, prayers, penance and charity is of great significance, even as it provides us an ample opportunity to re-commit our democracy and dear nation to the Almighty God.

“We must therefore allow our thoughts and actions to be divinely directed. We must use the fasting period to strengthen our resistance to evil machinations that may present themselves against the success of the elections by not only shunning all forms of violence and squabbles but also ensuring that only peace-loving persons are elected at all levels”, the PDP said.

The party called on religious leaders to use this period of spiritual re-armament for effectual prayers and messages that emphasize love and peaceful co-existence in the country.

While reiterating its commitment to the unity, stability and prosperity of the nation, the PDP also urged the political class to eschew all statements and actions that promote division among the people.

It also called on those behind the insurgency ravaging the country to retrace their steps and understand that life is sacrosanct and should not be wasted for any reason whatsoever.

The PDP wished Nigerians a fruitful Lenten observance and prayed for endearing peace in the country.

Also, President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Christians to pray fervently for peaceful, violence-free and successful general elections in the country on March 28 and April 11, 2015.

In a statement Wednesday, the President also seized the opportunity of the commencement of Lent to call on all political leaders in the country, Christians and non-Christians alike, to rededicate themselves to the commitment they have made to peaceful, non-violent campaigns and elections, and do their utmost best to ensure that their supporters across the country uphold that commitment.

“In the spirit of that commitment, President Jonathan further urges all those seeking political office in the coming elections to eschew hate speech, incitement to violence, divisiveness and the malicious denigration of opponents.”

“He urges all political parties in the country to join the federal government in giving the fullest possible support and cooperation to INEC to ensure that it delivers free, fair and credible elections.

“As they observe Lent, President Jonathan urges the Christian community to reflect more on all the ideals of human existence taught by Jesus Christ during his ministry on earth.”

“He calls on Christians to make those ideals, including piety, love for others, tolerance, humility, selfless service to others, honesty, fairness, justice and equity more manifest in their daily lives.”

“President Jonathan prays that God Almighty will answer the prayers of all Nigerians and bless the country with successful elections, continued unity and further progress,” the statement said.