By Tolu Ogunlesi
It is Easter, the season when Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Good Friday he died, and was buried. On Easter Sunday he rose from the dead, following which he made special appearances to those we would, in Nigeria-speak, call his ‘loyalists’.
Students of ecumenism will be delighted to realise that centuries after the events that we today celebrate annually at Easter, the handlers of Nigeria’s ailing president (who’s Muslim) have chosen to turn to the Holy Bible for guidance on handling a 21st century ‘resurrection’.
For close to five months Nigerians assumed their president, Umar Yar’Adua, lay in a ‘grave’, shrouded in deceit and confusion. Apparently we all were mistaken. A certain ‘cabal’ knew what we didn’t know - that Umar Yar’Adua had risen from the dead; and that since every resurrection must be followed by a revelation, it was critical to get him to show himself, Christ-style, to his disciples (‘loyalists’).
Jesus Christ settled for two disciples, picking the Jerusalem-Emmaus highway as the setting for his debut revelation (see Chapter 24 of The Gospel of Luke). Umar Yar’Adua settled for three - or were they four - Islamic clerics, and the presidential quarters as location. (Somehow his handlers got the timing wrong, choosing Easter Thursday for the revelation, instead of Sunday – or Monday. But let’s forgive them and overlook that. And pardon me for nitpicking, but if they can’t get basic theology right how do they expect to run a country as complicated as Nigeria!)
So, in the evening of last Thursday, April Fools’ Day (some reports say Friday), Ustaz Musa Mohammed, Chief Imam of the Abuja National Mosque, Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, president of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, and Sheik Musa Pantami were reportedly ushered into the presence of Mr. Yar’Adua, to see the risen president for themselves. And like all good disciples, the three clerics were given the great commission of taking the gospel of the resurrection to the far ends of the earth. They decided to turn to a medium that the president’s handlers appear quite familiar with: the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Hausa Service.