IN the Christian calendar worldwide, Easter which will be marked on Sunday, 8th April 2012, is a time that Christian faithfuls mark the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is usually preceded by a period of fasting, otherwise known as the Lenten Season.
It flows from the twilight of the ministry of Christ when, after he had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, he was led by the Holy Ghost to be tempted by the devil. Passing the test in spite of all odds became symptomatic of the need for man to survive the vicissitudes of life as demonstrated by Christ’s perseverance and sacrifice.
For a society that is beset with great moral and institutional challenges like Nigeria’s, there is the need to take in and digest the symbolic lessons from the life of Christ up to the cross. All through the temptations that came his way, he did not falter. His mission was to lay down his life as sacrifice to redeem mankind; a mission he diligently set out to achieve and did, indeed, achieve.
In the flurry of political campaigns in Nigeria, politicians are wont to make attractive promises to the electorate just to secure their votes. They claim they are going into politics in order to serve and liberate the people. Yet, there are few other countries in the world where the people have been so short-changed by the political class than in Nigeria.
Most times, politicians come into public sphere with little or nothing by way of assets. But no sooner after coming into office, they become millionaires in both local and foreign currencies. They embezzle public funds which they utilise to live lavishly and salt the rest away into safe havens abroad. All these, at the expense of utterly broken-down infrastructure, impoverished populace, shaky economy and unstable polity. Rather than make sacrifices for others, they do very little more in government other than feather their own nest in a country where religious organisations are growing in leaps and bounds.
As a matter of fact, some of the richest corporate bodies in Nigeria today are religious organisations, but it is doubtful if this is what the death and resurrection of Christ was meant to demonstrate. Even when one of the malefactors hung beside Him derided Him, He still found time to pray for those crucifying Him. He willingly laid down His life even when He could have called ten thousand angels to descend on the world and set Him free.
Although sacrifice is well known to all religions across cultures, the most efficacious is one with the shedding of human blood which dates back to Old Testament practices. But the purer the totem, the more efficacious the sacrifice would be. Our Lord Jesus Christ being the sinless Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world, this sacrifice which Easter symbolises, was a perfect one to redeem man from corruption and rot.
At no other time than now does Nigeria need leaders whose self-sacrifice would be a shining example. Nigeria, surely, is in desperate need of re-birth.
This Easter season should therefore be used as an occasion by all Nigerians, the governors and the governed alike, to seek for a national re-birth by graduating away from corrupt and sinful ways into a new life of honour and righteousness that will edify and glorify God. For, as the scripture admonishes, “righteousness exalts a nation, while sin is a reproach to anyone”.
This Easter must be seen by all as a season of renewal both for individuals and as a people. We wish Nigerians a Happy and Fulfilling Easter.