Christian groups and Eid el-Fitr holiday
The Guardian newspaper reported yesterday the condemnation of the federal government by 16 Christian groups who were unhappy with the government’s declaration of Thursday, 7th July, 2016 as public holiday for Muslims to commemorate the end of the Ramadan. The story appeared under the caption: “16 Christian groups berate government over extended Eid holiday, greet Muslims” in the Guardian of Monday, 11th July, 2016.
The government had earlier declared Tuesday, 5th July and Wednesday, 6th July as holiday. If the moon had been sighted on Monday, 4th July, Nigerian Muslims would have fasted for only 29 days and Sallah would have been on Tuesday, but this didn’t happen.
As the new moon (Shawwal) wasn’t sighted on Muslim calendar, whether he is a Buddhist or Christian elder, knows that the months therein are not static; a month is either 29 or 30 days. So, if this year’s Ramadan lasted 30 days instead of the expected 29 days, it is a matter of common sense that Muslims are given an additional day to celebrate its ending.
Even though the story under reference ended with “greet Muslims”, only a few words, 19 in all, were actually used to convey these 16 Christian groups’ greetings to Muslims, the greater part of their remarks being invectives reserved for the federal government for declaring Thursday, 7th July, 2016 as public holiday for their “enemies.” Hear them: “As Nigerians, we congratulate the Muslims in the nation on their successful completion of the Ramadan fast in 2016.” That’s all the greeting.
The 16 Christian groups listed include the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF); Nigerian Christian Graduate Fellowship; Think Tank for the body of Christ; Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria; Association of Christian Schools in Nigeria; Students Christian Movement; Christian Professionals Forum; Intercessors for Nigeria and International Prophetic Ministerial Association (Inc. Worldwide College of Bishops and Ministers: Africa, UK and USA). The coalition also has Intercessors without Walls; Wailing Women International; Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship; Nigerian Fellowship of Christian Students; Ministers Prayer Network; International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and University Joint Campus Christian Fellowship as members.
Some of the names mentioned as having issued this denunciation are those of Mr Solomon Asemota (SAN); Mr. Asemota (SAN) are: Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (rtd); Prof. Joseph Otubu; Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd); Dr (Mrs) Kate Okpareke; Dr. Ayo Abifarin; Bishop Joseph Bagobiri; Archbishop Magnus Atilade; Elder Moses Ihonde; Elder Nat Okoro and Prof Vincent Anigbogu. Others are Gen. Ishaku Dikko (rtd); Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (rtd); Elder Shyngle Wigwe; DIG P. L. Dabup; Sir John W. Bagu; Dr Saleh Hussaini; Elder Mike Orobator; Chief Olaniwun Ajayi; Justice M. Ogebe (rtd); Mrs. Priscilla Kuye; Chief Debo Omotosho; Dr Musa Asake; Joseph Daramola and Pastor Olatunbosun Emmanuel (Secretary).
In the paralysed reasoning of this fringe Christian groups which have politicised a solemn holiday, Nigerian Muslims, despite constituting about one half of the country’s population, do not deserve a day extra to fulfil a religious obligation. Yet, of the dozen Nigerian national holidays, there are only three Muslim holidays - Eid-el Maulud, Eid-el Fitr and Eid-el Kabir (Adha); the rest of the holidays are actually for Christians or something else. Certainly, left to Muslims, 1st January and Boxing Day holidays should be scrapped.
In an arrogant, combative, combustible and irresponsible language, the so-called Christian groups remarked: “Nevertheless, having illegally appropriated an additional day as pubic holiday during the Eid el-Fitri, the Federal Government and leaders of Islam should be prepared to repay the nation the extra day during the next Eid el-Kabir in which we expect only one day should be approved as public holiday. Nigeria should not be turned into a lawless nation. The APC led government should call itself to order.”
The Christian groups mentioned All Progressives Congress (APC) twice in their misguided, hate-filled statement; but there cannot be APC without Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which they clearly belong to, while hiding behind Christianity.
Listen again to these intolerant Christian elders: “We wish to state clearly that declaring Thursday an additional public holiday is not only wrong but an insensitive approach to the management of the economy. The economic wellbeing of the nation should not be sacrificed on the altar of religious fervour.”
Blimey! Which economy? The economy wrecked by your patrons? You know who is sacrificing and mismanaging the economy on the altar of sectarianism and separatism, it is the Niger Delta Avengers and others bombing gas and oil pipelines and flow stations, sabotaging the national economy and, so far, you have no word for them.
Shamefully, despite their ages and professorships put together, these PDP Christian elders could not justify their silly claim that: “Since the inception of the Buhari administration, it has left no one in doubt of its discriminatory leaning towards Islam as the preferred religion in Nigeria.” How? And you want us to believe you?
Away with the bigotry of Asemota, Bagu and Bogobiri, Joshua Dogonyaro and Zamani Lekwot!