Nigerians love life to the fullest. They love parties, partying, festivals, jollification and merriment. They love to sing and dance. When a child is born, they roll out drums. Even “graduation” from crèche, nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, attract wild celebrations. Marriages, “omugbo” and “baby wash” attract merry-making. The father and mother of it all is death. Yes, death, which ought to be a period of mourning and sobriety. That is when the real parties start-for days. That is whom we are. Nigerians are too afraid and scared. They would rather stay cocooned in their comfort zones, transfixed like an insect rendered immobile by some insecticides, rather than challenge impunity. Holidays induced rest is quite useful in reducing stress, anxiety and worries. Rest keeps us mentally, physically and psychologically alert, allowing our bodies to calm down and gather necessary energy and vitality. There is a strong relationship between rest and sleep. So, take out time to sleep well. Says Eric Olson MD of Mayo Clinic, an adult needs 2 to 8 hours of sleep to function optimally.
Lack of sound sleep is one of the major causes of auto accidents. Scientists and medical experts have shown that rest and sleep boost our immune system against various attacking viruses which cause assorted ailments. Sleep and rest improve our memory and synthesize new ideas; restore and energize us; stimulate creativity; manage our overweight; improve our mental and emotional capacity and increase productivity and concentration. More significantly, rest and sleep slow down our aging process, make us happier, reduce pain and make us eat fewer calories.
Even, the Holy Bible recognizes the importance of rest. After all, God Himself rested on the 7th day after he had finished His creation (Genesis 2:2-3). See also Matthew 11: 28-30; Exodus 20:8-10; 33:12; 33:14; Isaiah 14:3-4; 26:3; Psalm 4:8; 23; 55:6; Mark 2:27; 6:31; Psalm 127:2; John 16:33; Hebrews 4:9 – 11; 32; Philippians 4:6-7; etc. The Holy Quran is also emphatic about the importance of rest and sleep. See Al – Furquan, Chapter 25: verse 48; Surah Furquan 47.
President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the biggest black Nation on earth (200 million people) was in faraway London, recently, on a “private vacation” notwithstanding the important place of the Vice President in our Presidential system of government (See sections 142 – 145), Bills were sent to Buhari in faraway London to sign into Law, Laws that govern Nigerians. Since 2015, he has had to travel abroad severally on numerous “private vacations”, “private rest”, “personal matters”, etc, without explanations to Nigerians as to the nature and colouration of these visits. He took on the habit of lumping publicized official trips with private visits and vacations, many of which later turned out to have been based solely on unexplained illness and medical treatments. We thank God for his life.
On 6th June, 2016, for example, President Buhari had announced a 10 day trip to London, which was later extended by 3 days for “more rest”. He returned to Nigeria on 19th June, 2016.
On 19th January, 2017, Ozekhome remarked that President Buhari went to London and stayed for a whopping 51 days, returning to Nigeria on 10th March, 2017. On May 8, 2017, Mr. President again went to London and stayed there till August 19, 2017, returning well after three whole months.
A brilliant analysis by Guardian Editorial of November, 9, 2019, shows that Buhari has spent no fewer than 404 days outside Nigeria since his 2015 election as President.
This is a mind-bungling one full year and 39 days out of a mere 4 ½ years!!! He has since seen the airports of 33 countries of the world, with 240 of these 404 days spent in London alone. So enraged were UK-based Nigerians that they were forced to storm the Nigerian House in London in 2017, forcing the President to literally flee to Nigeria. The Aircraft are usually parked and paid for, with the Pilots, hosts/hostesses and retinue of handlers and aids, idle while Mr President stays in London.
The statistics show that of the 404 days, Buhari has spent 41 days in the United States; also attended the UNO General Assembly (UNGA) 70th, 71st, 72nd and 73rd sessions in New York. Our “Ajala – travel” President has visited South Africa, France, India, Malta, Chad, China, Turkey, Jordan, Poland, Ghana, UAE, Gambia, Morrocco, Qatar, Germany, Niger Republic, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopian Sudan, Togo, Senegal and Kenya. Buhari is now reputed to be one of the most travelled Presidents in history.
I cannot remember having seen US Presidents Donald Trump or his predecessor, Barrack Obama on any visit, whether official or private, here in Nigeria. Or, have you? So, when does our President actually sit down to analyze, appreciate, reflect, digest and proffer solutions on Nigeria’s myriads of problems? Nigeria is literally sleeping, because its system of government is presidential, which vests enormous powers in the hands of the President.
Shockingly, APC, the ruling party, is insulting a haemorraging nation with the ill – digested argument that the President could govern Nigeria from anywhere in the world. This argument is not only weird, it is also immoral, unconstitutional and unpatriotic. It stands logic on its head.
Historically, the first international Presidential trip by any American president was by Theodore Roosevelt, in 1906, when he visited Panama. His four immediate successors made about one international trip each, to cement acceptability of Presidential global trips.
George Washington in 1918 – 1919, embarked on a 9 day journey to Europe aboard the “George Washington” Ship. 40 years later, President Devight Eisenhower used a mere 9 hours to carry out the same trip. President Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001 – 2009) and Barrack Obama (2009 – 2017) each visited 72, 73 and 58 different countries, respectively.
Nigerians join the queue through public holidays
The Federal Government of Nigeria declared Monday 11th November, 2019, a Public holiday, for the Muslim feast of Ed El Maulud (The Birthday of Holy Prophet Mohammed); Peace be unto him). This is one of the compulsory holidays in Nigeria. There are many holidays by Christians. Nigerians are accustomed to life of leisure at Public expense. Successive governments bribe Nigerians with extra days off work, even when, most times, the holiday falls on a Saturday. It is then extended to the first working day, or even two, of the following week. Past governments, awash with petrodollars, may probably be excused for indulging in mass idleness, in a delusional grandeur of wealth. But, a government of “change” grappling with financial adversity should be more serious and circumspect in dishing out holidays.
Nigerians love the sound of “public holiday”. They are days of rest and celebration.
What is a public holiday?
A “public holiday”, “national holiday” or “legal holiday”, means one and the same thing. It is holidays established by laws of the land; and are usually days in which people are free from work. It could be the anniversary of a significant event in the life of a nation, a religious or cultural celebration. A holiday can fall on a specific days of the year. It could also be tied to a certain day of the week or month, or follow the Lunar Calendar system.
Most countries of the world, exercising their sovereignty, observe public holidays, based on their peculiar experiences.
In Nigeria, public holidays have the same status for workers as the weekly Sunday day-off. It is understood that Employers may generally not compel work on Sundays or public holidays in Nigeria.
The public holiday act
The law that establishes public holidays in Nigeria is the Public Holiday Act. The Public Holiday Act creates public holidays for the entire Nation. The holidays are generally of three types: Christian holidays such as Christmas, Muslim Holidays such as the Birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and general holidays such as Labour Day and Independence Day. October 1, is the day Nigeria gained her independence from Britain, her colonial Master; though till date, this has not translated to true fiscal, federalist nation worthy of celebration.
The Public Holiday Act was enacted on 1st January, 1979. It abolished previous public holidays and set the process for making public holidays for the nation, states, and local government areas. The President has the power to declare holidays for the entire nation or any state or part of the country. Governors have the power to declare public holidays in their states or for any part of their states. The Minister for Internal Affairs has powers to change designated holiday dates when he or she determines it necessary or appropriate.
Nigerian workers have a right to a day of rest on Sundays, and to perform no work on public holidays. Employers and employees are enjoined to negotiate and agree on pay for holidays and Sundays. This agreement may be in the form of labour contract, Union agreement, or public employee’s contract.
Ministers and Agency Heads may however order public employees to perform duties on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. They can do so when deemed necessary or in the public interest.
In Nigeria, public holidays are thus regulated by the PUBLIC HOLIDAYS ACT, Cap 378, LFN, 2004, which came into force on the 1st January, 1979.
A Public holiday in Nigeria is clearly defined under section 1 sub 3 of Public Holiday Act as follows:
“In this section ‘public holiday’ includes part of a day and any day declared as work free day”
Public holidays in nigeria: the full list
The full list of statutory holidays, to which more are usually added by successive governments, based on their personal idiosyncrasies or political exigencies, are:
January 1: New Year’s Day (Commemorates the beginning of the calendar year), February 22: Election Day/ Special Public holidays Public Holiday, April 19: Good Friday, April 22: Easter Monday, May 1: Workers’ Day (Commemorates Workers’ labour movement Internationally), May 27: Children’s Day (School holiday for Children), May 29: Presidential Inauguration Holiday, June 4: Eid el Fitr, June 5: Eid el Fitr holiday, June 12: Democracy Day (Commemorates the return to Democracy in Nigeria), August 12: Eid-el Kabir, August 13: Eid-el Kabir additional holiday, September 1: Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year), October 1: National Day (Commemorates the Independence of Nigeria from Britain), November 10: Eid-el Maulud, December 25: Christmas Day (Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus), December 26: Boxing Day.
To be continued.
Thought for the week
“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.” (Kenneth Grahame).