Category: Current Development

It’s Christmas Everywhere

Red and green ribbons enhanced with flashing coloured lights adorn shop windows. Greetings of “E ku imura odun”, “Odun ayo ni a ma se” all greetings of good wishes are exchanged by all.

From the G.R.A to Gbagba, Taiwo Road to Kulende Estate, Oja Oba to Offa garage, there is an effort not to be outdone in the decoration that is symbolic of the season according to individual abilities. It's Christmas once again.

This season is always regarded as the rounding up of the calendar year contrary to the Christian religious significance of the birth of Jesus Christ. While Catholics and some Christian denomination observe the one month Advent season in preparation for Christmas, the general populace prepare for the celebration and revelry that the holiday season bring.

Ilorin is experiencing a facelift with the decoration of shops, offices, churches, supermarkets, restaurants and even beer parlours. Windows, doors, pillars and railings are draped in the season's green and red colours with the addition of flashing lights of various types and designs generously added for the full effect.

The theme is taken to dizzying heights with the addition of Santa Claus pictures and infated representations. A visit to Chicken Chillies is a delight as you are welcome by a life size Santa Claus dancing to your delight. How creative could people be? Even City Spotlight was going to drape the balcony with ribbons and a giant Christmas tree which could not fit the balcony and had to be discarded.

It is common to find adults of both sexes wearing all styles of red Christmas hats and caps. Our cover photograph is a living testimony. My favourite is the one with flashing red lights and music. Another novelty is the red flashing pendant and wristwatch combination that glow like neon signs. Commercial motorcyclists have colourful lights fitted to the tyre rims which at night remind you of Star Wars movies. I even spotted cars with blue and green LED lights fitted on their rims. This is the beauty of the season.

At the post Office Area of Ilorin, everyone has one for or the other of Christmas decoration for sale. Even stationery shops sell Christmas trees! When asked about the volume of sales, the cheerful response is “business is fine!”.

Christmas Treats for children have been planned by various organizations such as Father Christmas grotto visits at prices ranging from between N500 to N2000. Churches and schools are not left out in the “seasonal sales bonanza”. Unfortunately, while some have interesting activities for the children, others had nothing but plastic toys and open space for the children to run around.

Restaurants and drinking joints have started notifying patrons of their Christmas get together. According to the proprietors, it was an opportunity to thank patrons even though all you get is a free drink or snack. Dome ingenious few even use the slogan “you will get more than you pay for”.

Offices, schools and banks are all having Christmas/End of year parties. For some staff of schools, it is at the party that gift packs of foodstuff and sometimes cash will be presented to all staff. Talking of “Santa Proprietor/Proprietress”

However, a major item in short supply this year is the corporate Christmas cards and wall calendars. These have become items for the privileged few as collector items rather than promotional materials that were distributed years back. How times change. Companies have become “environmental friendly” and I.T. compliant by sending electronic cards via email and MMS.

Christmas musical shows and parties are being hosted by most clubs and hotels with the highpoint on Christmas eve. Many wives will have to miss their husbands after Church as the 'boys' have to hit the town for these events which last all night.

Carol nights are also on the bill. You will get to sing your favourite carols and listen to the nativity story again under the starry harmattan sky. This traditional Church activity has been creatively adopted by corporate bodies and some are even hosted by individuals. Many years back, Ola Olu Hospital pioneered the then popular “Carols on the rocks”. I hope it still continues.

Thankfully this year, we are being saved the usual nuisance of explosive noise of 'knock out' and rockets. It is hoped that with the help of the law enforcement agencies, we will have and 'explosion-free' yuletide.On the home scene, there is a frenzy of shopping for Christmas menu goodies.

Special meals are being planned by the women with the men grinning despite the financial implication. The usual Jollof Rice and Chicken or Pounded Yam and Vegetable are no longer 'cool' with the younger generation. For them, a special lunch or dinner should be eaten outside the home. With the abundance of restaurants, fast food joints and delicatessen in Ilorin, the choice remains yours. I am currently being cajoled for a day out at Fish n Net to which I am yet to give an assurance.
Whatever you choose to do this Christmas, let moderation be your watchword.

This article will not be complete without acknowledging the ingenuity of a young man who caught my attention at depicting the spirit of the season. This hawker of locally made insecticides popularly called “Otapiapia” decorated his basket with gift wrapping paper, balloons and ribbons and guess what? From his trademark megaphone which normally blared “o p'efon', 'O p'adun', 'o p'aayan' 'Otapiapia' was a soothing rendition of the melodious “jingle bells, jingle bells…”

Have a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!



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