Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, has lamented that Rivers State is now "almost always in the news for the wrong reasons".
Amaechi stated this in his Easter message on Sunday, and implored the people to "find our way back to the path of a glorious future".
He also urged Rivers people and other Nigerians to have hope and a renewed commitment to wait till the resurrection morning.
”In a season like this when we mark the most important festival in the Christian calendar, it is wise that we don’t forget there are people we owe love, care and understanding,” he said.
”No doubt, our state has endured a tortuous political season, which saw political parties jostle and cajole Rivers people to make choices. Our state, which was known and respected as the Treasure Base of the nation, is now almost always in the news for the wrong reasons. This is not the Rivers State of our dreams. We must find our way back to the path of a glorious future. I am one of you, therefore, as your father, son and brother, i beseech you to be of good courage and join hands to build and restore the glory of our state.”
He urged people of the state to imbibe the lessons that the Easter season brings, such as the transformation of Christ from betrayal, torture and death to a glorious triumph on the Resurrection Morning.
"Let’s also remember that one of the lessons that we can take out of the Easter experience is the suffering, shame and despair of the Apostles, yet they were resolute in truth, bound by love and remained a united family until the morning of resurrection. Surely and truly, there is hope for all our hopelessness as the Cross of Christ, which represents His sufferings and death, an atonement for our sins for the sake of love are all virtues we all must imbibe this season,” he said.
”For us as Rivers people, this is a moment for sober reflection and forgiveness. I will not hesitate to implore that we all ask God for forgiveness and mercy for all the things done or left undone and from the citizens for the pain and anguish that they have brazenly suffered which most times are unreported. The persistence of gang violence, kidnappings and killings in parts of the state has dealt a telling blow on the psyche of the people. People no longer feel safe or sleep with their two eyes closed.
”For those of us who feel a sense of personal loss as a result of the last electioneering in the state, I say 'don’t despair, you have vital work to do in the Rivers project'. Believe me, with wisdom and patience, you will own the future.
”Always remember that the task of enthroning a party into power is not as high a calling of patriotism than the task of making personal sacrifices for the peace and general good of the state. Therefore, I appeal to all who truly love our dear Rivers state, to join hands in building the state irrespective of their party affiliations.
”No amount of provocation or even threats should challenge the Rivers spirit of oneness, unity and harmony in you. To the youths, I urge you not to see crime as an escape route from the difficult times we are going through in Rivers state today. I am confident that with resilience and prayer, you can always pull through. Remember, resurrection comes in the morning, therefore have hope and a renewed commitment to wait till the resurrection morning.”