Two things caught me unawares today, December 17,2019 being my 66th birthday. First,I had been busy over serious issues concerning 2020 and could not have given myself to frivolous rituals called birthday . Secondly ,Dr Mira Govindarajan, a respectable and respected cardiologist in faraway India ,(with the genuine warmth
opened a floodgate of messages from well wishers from far and near ,leaving me speechless as it was to me a foul and fair a game . Foul, because those who wished me well never knew I do not believe in celebrating birthdays the way most people mark it. Fair, because this day affords me a golden opportunity on how best to mark birthdays ,( if at all one is divinely convinced and led to mark it ) When I clocked 60 in 2013, God told me the importance of 6 and 60 as representing distinction while I marked it with the public presentation of the second ( enlarged) edition of the journalism textbook of my authorship ( Journalists and the Hand of God ) dedicated to the loving memory of the founding Chairman of the Punch newspaper, Chief Olu Aboderin. Barely two weeks after its outing I landed a job at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital ABUTH, Zaria where I did my best as editorial consultant for the hospital’s publication and senior executive Officer for the hospital. Again in 2015 when I clocked 65, God took me to study Genesis 5:21-22 and showed me the secret of walking with Him , the way Enoch walked with Him at 65 .
I thereafter ,towards commemorating my 65th birthday, presented to the public two poetry books of my authorship, ” HEROES ” and HEROISM,SONGS AND TROUBLES ” dedicated to Chief Shuaib Afolabi Oyedokun and Dr Akin Ogunbiyi respectively. I have since offered the books for online free downloading ,with hundreds of visitors all over the world helping themselves to them . Resultantly, a student leader ( among those who downloaded the books ) in one of the universities in Cairo is now volunteering to coordinate a distance-learning class in which I would be giving instruction on various issues having to do with heroism, Stories behind the headlines, communication, biography ( from the cosmological perspective) and history. There is no space here to delve into explaining the fact that much of the way we celebrate birthday today is outrageously unbiblical. Two direct references to birthday in the Bible were a sad story of execution and arrogance.( Gen 40:18-22; 41:13 Matt14:6-11; Mark6:21-28)And there is no where in the new testament where Jesus Christ asked us to memorialize birthday but His death which is to be done ” in remembrance of me.”(Luke 22:19) If there is any birthday which is most idolized and celebrated today in christiandom , it is the Christmas in which we mouth our love for God but where our heart is very far from Him. How do you celebrate the birth of the Lord of all and lover of the poor yet it is always an occasion to draw the blood from the poor in different ways ,even at the church and in both private and in public duties. Each time I reflect on the way we do birthday,
I am always reminded of the message in Isaiah 58:1-14 in which the Prophet told the people about God’s attitude to their fasting. It is the same attitude that God is having to our many birthdays . The opportunity which my 66th birthday presented to me is showcasing how we ought to mark it in solemnity of ” loose the bands of wickedness… undo the heavy burdens…deal thy bread to the hungry and clothe the naked…”
If my 60th birthday gave me a reason to live a life of distinction while the 65th inspired me to walk with God, the 66th which stole upon me unnoticed has given me a cause to maintain integrity on money matters, even to the best of my knowledge and ability. Two of my banks have today invaded my phone through text messages celebrating me and wishing me happy birthday . One of them just few hours ago has however wrongly credited my account with a sum of money which from my own investigation, does not rightly belong to me. I am yielding the money back to the said bank forthwith. In the spirit of December 17, being a day of heroes and a day in which I do clock 66 ( coincidentally , Major General Muhammad Buhari also clock 77 today ) I make bold to say that ” the little that the righteous have is better than the loot with which the wicked oppress the poor and most importantly we delight in God , who ” hast put gladness in my heart , more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. “