Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo has called on the people of the state, especially aggrieved residents to shun violence and embrace peace.
He pleaded that it was about time they turned a new leaf to prevent the state from slipping into a killing field where the blood of innocent residents flow freely.
The governor made the plea in his Easter message to the people in which he re-echoed his call on sponsors and perpetrators of violence to sheath their swords and give a chance for reconciliation.
He also apologised to those who feel offended by any of the policies or actions of the state government under his leadership.
In the spirit of the Easter season, Governor Uzodimma urged such persons to go through the proper legal channels to lodge their grievances.
He gave an assurance that the government would look into them and ensure all efforts to resolve them to ensure peace returns to the state.
According to the governor, it is important for the people to embrace peace for the sake of their children and their unborn children even as violence is alien to their culture.
He wished the people a happy Easter celebration and urged them not to relent in their prayers for peace in Imo and other states across the country.
Read the full text of Governor Uzodinma’s message below:
It is with a profound sense of joy and gratitude to Almighty God that I send my warm felicitations to all the good people of Imo State on this auspicious occasion of the 2022 Easter celebration.
Given the many challenges we passed through between last year’s Easter and now, we should all be joyful and grateful to the Lord who has protected us and given us the opportunity to see this year’s Easter celebration. To the glory of God, we all weathered the storm and are here to join billions of Christians across the globe to joyfully shout “Hallelujah, Christ is risen”.
While we shout hallelujah and celebrate Easter, we must also reflect on the true meaning of Christ’s resurrection for Christians and for all of humanity. Often, we concentrate on the religiosity of the season without the necessary appreciation and deeper understanding of what Jesus Christ demonstrated by dying on the Cross.
As we know, Jesus had the power to refuse or reject death. Remember, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and healed many sick people. Therefore, He had the power to say no to death. Instead, He chose to die for our salvation – Just to save us from our own sins. This is love beyond measure, and the Holy Bible records it as the greatest love of all time in John Chapter 3 vs. 16: ‘‘for God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son so that everyone one who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life “This is sacrifice beyond understanding.
Easter, therefore, offers us the opportunity to rethink the essence of our humanity. As clearly defined by Jesus Christ, the essence of our humanity is to love God, to love one another, and to be ready and willing to make sacrifices for the love of humanity.
The Bible also reminds us that the best way to Love God is to love humanity. This is because if we do not love our brothers and sisters whom we see every day, we definitely cannot love God whom we do not see.
As we celebrate this year’s Easter we should ask ourselves these pertinent questions as Christians who profess the love of God: Do we truly follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ? Do we love our fellow human beings as Christ loved us or are we part of those spreading hate and violence against humanity? How much love have we shown to our state, Imo, and our country, Nigeria?
Can we give up our inordinate ambition for the sake of peace and stability of Imo State? Can we sacrifice our ego for the progress of Imo State and her people? Can we lay down our arms, not our lives, so that people can walk the streets freely in pursuit of their legitimate means of livelihood?
It is truly ironic and disheartening that over ninety percent of both the actors and sponsors of insecurity in Imo State and indeed all over Igboland, claim to be Christians.. Are these Christians the true followers of Christ? Do they even remember the 5th commandment which says; “Thou shalt not kill”? The answer should be obvious,
Let us, therefore, use the occasion of this Easter celebration to purge ourselves of those acts that at best make us hypocrites and at worst enemies of Christ. My brothers and sisters, having gone through the period of lent when we were expected to sanctify ourselves for Christ through fasting, prayers, and almsgiving, it behooves on us to soberly reflect on our contributions to the growth of Christian love which we profess and to the peace of our state.
Are we part of the problem or part of the solution? Are we responsible for the raging insecurity claiming the lives of innocent people or are we assisting Government to halt the carnage? Are we in a position to help reduce the menace of insecurity in the state?
In several fora, I have literally gone on my knees to appeal to the sponsors and perpetrators of these senseless killings to sheath their swords and embrace peace and reconciliation irrespective of whatever grudges they may have. I have also asked for forgiveness from anyone who feels offended by any of the policies or actions of the Government of Imo State which I lead currently.
In the spirit of the Easter season, I would like to repeat this appeal for forgiveness, peace and reconciliation in our state. Heaven will bear me witness that I have always placed the welfare of the people of Imo State above other considerations while taking decisions as Governor of Imo State. It is also on record that I have gone to very great lengths to provide succour to many citizens of the state who were aggrieved by some of the actions of my predecessors.
As peace-loving people, I appeal to you to follow the proper channels to lay down any complaints you may have. As I have done before, I promise to look into these complaints and make all efforts to resolve them to the best of my ability. I am using the period of Easter which symbolises peace, brotherliness, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, and sacrifice to appeal to everyone to embrace peace for the sake of our children and their unborn children.
Violence is alien to our culture. Let us do away with it. How will our forebears – Chief K. O. Mbadiwe, Dee Sam Mbakwe, Chief Evan Enwerem, Chief Collins Obi, Chief R. B. K. Okafor, and Chief H. S. K. Osuji be feeling in their graves? Will they be pleased to see that the state they handed over to us has become a killing field where the blood of innocent women, children, and men now flows freely like the blood of animals?
On behalf of my family and the Government and the people of Imo State, I wish everyone a happy Easter celebration. Let us never relent in our prayers for peace in Imo State and Nigeria. I am confident that the peace we seek is within reach and with peace, the sky will be our limit.
May God Almighty kindly grant our prayers for peace and prosperity in Imo State. Amen.
Happy Easter to all of us
Sen Hope Uzodimma
Governor (Channels TV)
•PHOTO: Hope Uzodimma