The Chinese talk of ‘interesting times’ when they are facing tough situations that call for a sharp parting of ways with tradition. When they have to drop the accustomed approach to the issues of life and compelled to look for new paths in order to sail above the storms, they say they are living in ‘interesting times’. Now, is there anything ‘interesting’ about forsaking tried and trusted methods of the past? Hardly any.
But you must do without these ‘tried and trusted’ conveniences if that is the route to overcome threatening challenges.
In the State of Osun, we are also witnessing ‘interesting times’ as we mark the Muslim festival of Eid-el-Kabir at the time of a pandemic claiming lives and shutting down businesses and restricting social activities. Our dear state isn’t the only affected one; our country and the entire humanity are lying prostrate at the feet of Covid-19.
Yet, we in Osun are not so distressed as not to celebrate the good season God has mercifully given us. Even amidst the scourge of coronavirus, we must remember the far more existential reasons to celebrate. We have enjoyed the ambience of good governance provided by the administration of the All Progressives Congress, APC, headed by Governor Gboyega Oyetola. A security apparatus is emerging to tame the pockets of crime. The hinterland is being opened up to enjoy the bounties of development denied them for years. Industry, education, agriculture, the civil service, community healthcare, infrastructure etc. have received a safe fillip preparing the people for a smooth sail into the future. In politics, the terrain is being sanitized to rid the profession of the tag, ‘dirty game’. This is the result of the discipline the governing APC has instilled among its rank and file.
All these achievements are in sync with the message of Eid-el-Kabir. The festival is symbolic of the hope brought by mankind. God reached out to man at a critical time. Man was to lose a priceless possession, his son, as a sacrifice demanded by his Creator. Man was in a tight corner. Should he disregard his God and look for a way to flee from Him? Or should he simply obey Him and wait for what would follow? Man chose wisely and the God he honoured didn’t fail him. He miraculously provided a ram that replaced the prophet’s son.
Man has over the ages celebrated this faithfulness of his Lord each time he remembers this encounter between him, his son and God.
We are not left out of the joy of the season in Osun, even if, as I observed earlier, it’s under difficult times. It’s the reason we need to rejoice with moderation. Eid-el-Kabir itself teaches restraint, discipline, and an identification with the poor, the underclass and the vulnerable. That should be the direction of every government and every citizen, regardless of ideology, religion, gender, political orientation, educational status etc.
Another lesson of Eid-el-Kabir is its message of hope. We should be optimistic when we experience trying times. God stepped in for His prophet when he was about to lose his son because he believed in Him. Here in Osun we must also trust in the government God has given the citizens in order to savor of the Heavenly blessings that flow from cooperating with our leaders.
In Osun, therefore, we have hope for a bright future in spite of the ‘interesting times’ heaped on us by Covid-19..
Barka da Sallah!
OYATOMI is the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC, State of Osun