Churches organized Christmas carols in which their choristers rose to the occasion by rendering soul touching and inspiring tunes…
Desmond Mgboh, Kano; Ola Timothy, Maiduguri; Sola Ojo, Kaduna; Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo & Billy Abel, Yola, Jalingo
It was yet another exciting Christmas.The celebration was characterized by a feeling of joy, care and love among members of the Christian community in many parts of northern Nigeria.
In Kano State, this year’s memorial celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ could not have been any better. Love and peace were standing the air and merriment was everywhere.
Unlike in previous years, the partying was even merrier as many residents of the state, Igbo particularly, shifted their trips home till the general elections, which come up in a few weeks time.
For the celebrations, many churches and even schools in the state, set out in grand style, making elaborate arrangements for the entertainment of their members. They held funfairs, Father Christmas and carols while some rolled carpets in special ways ahead of the feast of the birth of Christ.
Churches organized Christmas carols in which their choristers rose to the occasion by rendering soul touching and inspiring tunes centered on the birth of Christ and God’s special love for mankind.
It was an amazing time at the Living Faith Bible Church, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Calvary Life Assembly Church, St. Rita Catholic Church, Sabon-Garri, Kano and St Louis Catholic Church.
Bompai, Kano. They all sang away their souls in honor of the newborn baby and Mother Mary.
Mr. Babatunde Samuel is the principal of Holy Cross Primary and Secondary School, Badawa, Kano, told Daily Sun that his students, their parents and people of Badawa enjoyed a delightful time at their Christmas funfair.
As it is with tradition, Christmas was marked with services in many churches and other worship centers. Reverend Father Augustine Nnadi of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Emir’s Road, in his sermon, urged the congregation to emulate the life of Christ in their daily encounter with their neighbors.
Former state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and Overseer of Calvary Life Assembly, Bishop Ransom Bello, implored the Christian community to imbibe the values of love, humility and care as symbolized in the birth of Christ.
The season was also characterized by lavish merriment. In spite of the challenging economic situation, many Christians and their ethnic communities marked the festival in a special way. Starting from individuals, groups and communities, especially Igbo, who ended the year just few days to Christmas, to those who closed their meeting books for the year with a grand party, it was all fun.
Assorted cuisines and eatables, including soft and hard drinks were served to visitors in many homes depending on the financial capability of the family. Rice, especially fried rice, pepper soup, pounded yam were commonly served to guests.
The poor were not left out of the yuletide Foodstuffs were donated to many orphanage homes in the spirit of the season. The same kind gesture was also extended to widows and underprivileged persons in most churches Celebrants and their friends made out time to visit places of interests and parks. Mallam Abubakar Bello, a Muslim, said he joined many of his Christian friends during the celebrations, among whom is John, his colleague in office who leaves in Dakata.
Christmas in Yola, Adamawa State, began early with a carol put together by the state CAN. The event, which featured the lighting of the Christmas tree by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, was coloured with coral songs from various groups.
As expected, the event pulled together Christians, regardless of their political affiliations. Present also were Deputy Governor Martina Babale, former governor Bala James Ngilari, Head of Service, Edgar Amos, commissioners, legislators among others. Mustapha called on Christians to commit themselves to spreading the gospel of Christ, which he explained is the reason for Christmas.
State chairman of CAN, Dami Mamza, said: “We want Christian politicians and not politicians who are Christians.” He challenged Christians and Christian politicians to live an exemplary life, urging them to demonstrate the authenticity of their faith in Christ by the life and character they put up in their daily lives.
The cleric used the occasion to call attention to the 2019 elections as he called on all believers to vote for the candidate of their choice. He insisted that those who would not vote during the elections have no moral grounds to complain against the emergence of bad leaders in the corridors of power.
It was joy and funfair as residents of Maiduguri in Borno State celebrated Christmas without any notable security breach and violence in the state capital, being the first of such hitch-free celebrations in four years.
Though, there were pockets of Boko Haram attacks in some communities in the state before the Christmas Day, fueling anxiety of a possible interruption of the celebration by the insurgents, the festivity however went on peacefully as they were effectively contained by security authorities.
“During Christmas, there were no road blocks, no curfew or restriction of vehicula movement as it were in previous years. Christians said they have access to their churches to worship on Christmas Day,” said Alhaji Bello Usman.
“Praise be to God for last year’s Christmas. Thanks be unto Him that despite the fears and anxiety of threats of attacks by Boko Haram, Christmas was generally peaceful. Maiduguri was peaceful and we had hitch-free celebration,” Yohanna Adamu, a resident said.
He, however, urged the security agencies to step up efforts aimed at ending insurgency in the area. He expressed concern over the recent upsurge in Boko Haram attacks and revealed that some communities in the southern part of the state, with high number of Christian population, experienced a “tragic Xmas day.
“Our people in Chibok Local Government, especially in Bolakla, were attacked on Christmas Day. They spent their night in the bush and we learnt three people were killed and many of them injured. It was a tragic Christmas day for them because Boko Haram interrupted their celebration in the night of Christmas day.”
Scores of families, even non-Christians paid visits to Sanda Kyarimi Zoological Garden and Park, located at the heart of the city to enjoy the tranquility and serenity of the environment.
“This is the only time we have to relax after months of working with and a feeling of the apprehension of Boko Haram attacks,” Alloy Obinna said as he settled down with his colleagues to enjoy the lifestyles of the animals in the park.
Though Monday Market (a popular market) was closed for the season, shops and stores around the market remained opened for commercial purposes. Sales of chickens and fowls were common sights in some parts of the city as some families that could afford them, made last minute purchase early on the Christmas Day.
A few days to Christmas, most faces were gloomy as workers were uncertain about the payment of their salaries. According to Mr. Albert Ulegah, many had feared it would not be paid before Christmas:
“However, to the surprise of many of us, the salaries came at the last minute and placed a smile on the faces of many workers as they rushed to the markets to buy their Christmas needs.
“You could see the wild celebration that took place among the workers.
The concerns about security were also allayed as there was security everywhere. I think there was no incident at all.”
Despite the lack of resources, Christians interestingly gave a helping hand to the weak and extended hands of fellowship to the poor who did not enough to eat or drink at Christmas.
At St. Justina’s Catholic Church, Mayo Dassa, the priest in charge, Rev. Father. James Vontih, working with the St Vincent-De-Paul society, was able to gather foodstuff, meat, cash and other items for the less privileged members of the community.
During the distribution of the items, Father Vontih said members of the church who contributed the items demonstrated the true meaning of Christmas: “Christmas is a very unique season. Most of the time, we misplace our priorities and turn to doing things that are completely different from the spirit of the season. But this is the real essence of Christmas. Sharing with those who don’t have, both the Gospel of Christmas and the joy of Christmas is what God wants us to do.”
At many public places, such as the Jolly Nyame Stadium and others, it was celebration galore. There was a large crowd of young people who came together to celebrate Christmas.
As usual, entertainment businesses experienced a boom. Mr. Adekpe Michael who operates The Nation Bar and Restaurants told Daily Sun that he recorded great sales during the period: “If you look at how tough things had been throughout the year, we were thinking that Christmas may not be much different. However, we were surprised at the turn out of people who came out to our place. We experienced goodsales as we have not since the beginning of this year. The spirit of Christmas is really very defying of all challenges.”
Despite the initial challenges that seemed to herald Christmas, the celebration turned out to be robust and quite lively, beyond the expectations of many.
In Kaduna, despite worries about the unimpressive state of the economy, last year’s Christmas celebration was excellent – the security was okay and the people had a few Naira in their pockets and it went out well
Many people as individuals and groups spent the day visiting fast-food restaurants, gardens, parks and other recreational places like Gamji Amusement Park, Kaduna.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai called on Christians to emulate Jesus Christ in loving one another, promote peaceful co-existing and shun any act capable of truncating the peace the state was currently enjoying in the interest of all.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Isa Ashiru, urged the people to share what they have with the needy while cautioning them against extravagant spending.
Elsewhere, the key solid waste management company engaged by Kaduna State government, ZL Global Alliance on the Christmas day took Santa Claus, popularly known as Father Christmas, to some Kaduna communities to celebrate the season with the underprivileged children with funfair Bitrus Bulus, a resident, said: “Today, I came to Sabo Market to sell groundnut. But I am happy that they gave e food and I had a handshake with Father Christmas.”