Chris­tian groups and Eid el-Fitr hol­i­day

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

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!

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