Unusual Sallah and Other Stories

 Unusual Sallah and Other Stories

By Afeez Odunoye


“Muslims have had two quiet Sallahs this year. The pomp and pageantry that brightens both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Kabir took an inevitable rest this time. It’s so sad I couldn’t embark on ‘meat-eating ‘parols’. This new normal should free the boys and our cities.”


“My friend, you have to be ‘calming down’. There’s so much to be grateful for. Hopefully, you would make those trips next year. ”


“Haha. I’m grateful, however, rising cases are raising fresh concerns in Asia and Africa.”


“It’s troubling, to say the least. The World Health Organization has warned that fighting coronavirus could take longer.” 


“I fear that relaxed restrictions could lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases on the African continent after the Sallah holidays. We should connect with the fact that the fight is still on.”


“Thankfully, the head of Muslims in Nigeria and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar advised faithful to observe safety protocols during the celebration.” 


“And I’m glad the President didn’t entertain guests too. He is leading by example and deserves commendation.” 


“But he broke the silence on the probes of suspended acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and NDDC.”


“Abuse of public trust is so immersed in the mix and drama. President Buhari voiced the thoughts of some of us. His administration is plagued by individuals keen on creating confusion and sharing goodies. I’m not swayed by the stern talks on pushing the anti-corruption fight further.”


“There is an opening for the recovery of more loots here. Perhaps we can use some of the funds to help our pharmaceutical industry where we import almost everything, but water.”


“Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye’s intervention is timely. We need to boost local production to address the shortage of medical supplies. The NAFDAC Director-General revealed that the Buhari administration is funding the revival process.”


“From that interview, I took away collaborations. Government can’t do it alone.”


“Exactly my point too. Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare is travelling on the same path with a new policy document for the growth of sports in Nigeria.”


“Hundreds of valuable documents have been neglected for too long by those who should know. This wouldn’t be an exception.”


“Rest and be optimistic for once. The revised Sports Industry Policy document will drive the industry’s growth from recreation to business. The Sports Industry Working Group (SIWG) submitted the strategic document on Tuesday. They have been working tirelessly on it since February.”


“What are the direct benefits of this input from the SIWG?”


“The document will bring remedies to long-standing bottlenecks in the sector. And the focus points are infrastructure, investments, incentives, and policy.”


“I hope everyone gets to win.”


“Yes. Olumide Akpata has emerged president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Akpata’s victory emphasizes the potency of disruption and support for the underdog.” 


“My friend, Akpata is not an underdog. He has been practising law for over two decades, serving as a member and chairman of key committees of the legal body at separate periods.”


“The process has some issues though. From voting discrepancies to the disenfranchisement of some members.” 


“I’m not surprised. It’s all gimmicks. But we must commend the NBA for choosing e-voting to elect new executives. The Independent National Electoral Commission should pay attention and give us e-voting or quasi-voting as an alternative in 2023.”


“The anti-establishment that gave Akpata the mass votes of NBADecides 2020 expect the best from him.”


“Everyone expects the best, from President Buhari to the National Assembly.”


“The new president should unite the association too now that elections are over. For the advancement of the profession and our country.”


“He has taken the first steps with his acceptance speech. He should continue on that path.”


“Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is back on his ‘corn-eating’ expeditions. Things no just balance with our politics.”


“You’re missing the point. Have you forgotten that he’s a man of the people? Have you forgotten that the strategy secured electoral wins for him thrice between 2008 and 2016?” 


“The Edo governorship election promises to be one interesting, full-length series. I’d be monitoring events now that families of the top candidates, Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu have decided to work against their sons and add to the drama, twists and turns of the September 19 finale.” 


“That’s the problem with our elections and politics. The real issues like business growth, health programmes, robust and inclusive employment strategies don’t make it to mainstream discussions the way they should.”


“Not a few manifestoes have failed to live up to expectations. Meanwhile, any group or individual can offer support to any candidate of their choice.”


“No one is disputing that. But are we rallying around candidates that come prepared for these elective positions?”


“You should know better. Our elections are primarily about interests and cuts here and there.” 


“I know some upright politicians that don’t belong to that class. Unfortunately, we lost one of them, Pa Ayo Fasanmi on Wednesday. He was 94.”


“May God rest his soul. Baba was loyal to people-driven politics till his last breath. He remained an Awoist through the rains and storms. You don’t get to see that often in our political class where jumping ships, from one political party to another senselessly, is not surprising anymore.”


“Hmm…Is Nigeria unsafe for the Yorubas?”


“I see you’re aligning with the thoughts of Prof. Banji Akintoye, leader of the Yoruba World Congress. Nigeria is not safe for everyone in every sense. The recent killings in Kaduna where a pop star lost his father and Wednesday’s attack on the convoy of Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum by Boko Haram insurgents are critical pointers.” 


“A lot has to be done really from policies to manpower and equipment. This is not the time for the exchange of rhetorics, giving baseless excuses and neglecting responsibilities.”


“I’m worried that the Yoruba nation was inducted as a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization at the body’s virtual General Assembly on Saturday. That’s a lot to take in.”


“Some groups don’t want the best for the Yorubas. It is well-thought-out and in tandem with current realities. Give it to Prof. Akintoye.”


“There you go again. What do you want?”


“I want big money like Victor Osimhen who has joined Italy’s SSC Napoli from Lille in France. The 21-year-old would earn between €4 million and €5.5 million a year net without bonuses. He is the most expensive African footballer at the moment.”


“And that comes with a lot of expectations. I wish the lad all the best at his new club.”


“Proprietors of private schools are afraid that exiting students may not get the best results in the forthcoming WASSCE. They have less than two weeks to revise for the exams.”


“What have they been doing at since March? I don’t see any genuine basis for an extension.”


“Some of them have been engaging in economic activities since schools were shut. There would be consequences of the same class with the scheduled reopening of Lagos churches, mosques and restaurants.”


“You worry too much. The state government has said it will monitor compliance and restrict the number of services that can be held by these religious centres. Obedience and excellence is the plan you know.”


“I hope they comply.”


“Please spread the word around too. COVID-19 is real. It’s no joke or money-making plot.”


“I have been doing that. Stay safe, my friend.”


“Barka de Sallah once again. May Allah heal the world and ease our affairs.”




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