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Christmas cheer amid recession…


Santa Claus presenting a gift toBaby Joshua Fatuyi. Others are  Mrs.  Ajibola and Ashiwaju at LASUTH

Santa Claus presenting a gift toBaby Joshua Fatuyi. Others are Mrs. Ajibola and Ashiwaju at LASUTH

• Rotary Club organises party for SOS Village kids
• Special Santa Claus visits Children’s Ward at LASUTH

The long Yuletide holiday begins this evening and Nigerians aren’t letting a recession or outages spoil their seasonal festivities. On the contrary, fun-loving Nigerians are enthusiastically embracing the Christmas spirit in its own unique way.

What is uniquely missing this time around is the neighbourhood Christmas decorations. There is the dearth of street parties and carnivals, while the colourful red and green drapings that adorn neighbourhood centerpiece are conspicuously absent.

Christmas shopping is, however, not taking a back foot, though not on the high scale of previous years. According to Efficiency Igwe, who sells stationery in his small shop at Wuse Market in Abuja, but during the run-up to Christmas, stock up with artificial Christmas trees and decorations, trade is brisk. “Nigerians are buying just as much as last year. It’s as if there is no recession,” he said.

Victoria Island is the main business and financial hub in Lagos. It is a busy time for David Eshioke, who takes care of Zenith Bank’s Christmas lighting at Ajose Adeogun street in Victoria Island. This means that he has to switch on the generating set at regular intervals to bring on the beautiful decorations for the yuletide. “This year, I’m doing this job for the third time. It’s worth it,” he said.

The Rotary Club of Ikeja on Monday organised a Christmas party for children of SOS Village, Isolo, Lagos. The yearly event, which witnessed over 50 children in attendance, featured dancing/quiz competitions. Gifts and educational materials were also distributed to them.

President of the club, Mrs. Olaitan Ojuroye, said the party was to give the children some fun in line with the objective of Rotary, which is to serve humanity with special attention at improving the lots of the less-privileged. The club, she said, would also visit the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) on Christmas day.

The Programme Director, SOS Children’s Village, Adelepo Ayodeji, thanked Rotary Club of Ikeja for visiting the children.In a related development, ‘Indomie Special Santa’, on Tuesday, paid a surprise visit to the Pediatric Unit of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to present gifts to children on admission in the hospital. The visit was to extend love and joy of the festive season to those, who cannot participate in the celebration.

The Group Public Relations and Event Manager, Dufil, Mr. Tope Ashiwaju, said the visit was to bring the experience of the Yuletide to sick children. “The brand loves kids and since we started this initiative, we found out that majority of those we had visited in the hospitals beam with smile and happiness whenever they see Santa Claus. It also helps them to recuperate fast,” he added.

The Departmental Manager, Pediatric Department, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Mrs. Osanyinusi Ajibola, thanked Dufil for its kind gesture.

In Kaduna State, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani on Tuesday donated some bags of rice and other foodstuff to over 50 Christian widows and their families to celebrate Christmas. Tijjani, a peace ambassador, made the donation to the widows at the Christ Evangelical Church Ministry in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna.

She said it was part of her efforts to strengthen peaceful co-existence among different faith-based organizations in the country and reduce the hardship most widows face.

Tijjani also commended Pastor Yohanna Buru, the General Overseer of Christ Evangelical Church Ministry, for always distributing foods and drinks to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), destitute citizens and inmates during Ramadan and Sallah celebrations in the past years.

The entire Ile Ife in Osun State this week went agog, as major communities came alive with jubilation when the Diocese of Ife, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) commenced its 2016 edition of Carnival for Christ with the theme ‘Jesus shall reign.’

The Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Olubunmi Adeyinka Akinlade, said the carnival was a celebration to create awareness about the Great Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is the reason for the season.

“It is an opportunity for us to celebrate Jesus at this Christmas season. Everybody look at Ile Ife as the cradle of Yoruba civilization, where traditional worship is very prevalent. It is of course, but this does not stop the spread of the Gospel, which is our mission.”

The mood was also the same at the 26th inter-denominational nine lessons and Christmas carol event in Lagos organised by the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement, Surulere District, where the Vice Chairman, Southern State of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), Archbishop George Amu, said this period is a season where people should embrace peace, love and giving.

According to him, people should remember the significant of the birth of Jesus Christ, which is entrenched in giving and forgiveness.General Leader and District Chairman of the church, Prophet Sunday Korode, submitted that there is recession in town but there is need for everybody to look at himself, reappraise self and then look up to God for His grace to see us through this difficult times.

The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), zonal headquarters (Zone 2), hosted widows residing around Okota-Ago palace axis of Lagos recently. The widows who were gifted with food items, medical and legal counseling also had prayer session to request for God’s intervention into their personal and national lives.

The zonal pastor, Rev. Clem Iwegbu, noted that the event tagged ‘Christmas with a smile’ is their little way of reaching out to the host community. “This year, we decided to focus on the widows. In the past we just go out to the roads, share foodstuffs and cloths just to any person, but now want to concentrate on a group of people who actually need this assistance.”

As part of efforts to also ease the plights of widows, Wellspring College empowered five widows with grinding machines and accessories to start up their own business.

Giving out the items at the school Christmas Carol Service themed “Celebrating The King of Kings” at the school premises in Lagos, the School Principal, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Oloriade, said as a Christian school, the institution is following the teachings of the Bible, which called for the care of the widows in the society.

Relating her ordeal, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Rose Obameh, said she had to fend for herself and her children when her husband died. Her late husband’s family rejected her due to her refusal to abide by their oppressive tradition on widows.

In a related event, no fewer than 5,000 pupils from Oshodi Local Council of Lagos benefited from the Meals for All programme, aimed at improving nutritional and health education in the society at the end-of-year party organized by the foundation at the Oshodi State Primary School Complex.

Mrs. Funke Sodade, Executive Coordinator Meals for All initiative urged kids to have fun during the Yuletide and make the best out the season despite the economic recession. The kids engaged in fun activities ranging from bouncing castle, egg and spoon games, tug of war competition, dancing competition, spelling event, multiplication exercise, among others.

In this article:
Olaitan Ojuroye
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