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The ongoing Hajj in Saudi Arabia is revealing our idiosyncrasies as a country and People.

Going on visitation to Madinah, the city of the Prophet is a key part of the pilgrimage, because it is a sunah that is well uphold in Islam. The city has the mosque of the Prophet, his body buried in the chamber of Aisha the daughter, of his best friend, where he died. The city, remains the symbol of Islam, because Islam was firmly entrenched and most laws and practice of the religion were perfected in the city.
There the activities of the prophet’s companions are also recorded for history. The reason why Muslims who are on pilgrimage, see the city as a place to be, and pay salutation to the Prophet.
Medinah is beautiful and peaceful. It is a city that is well governed and has established rules of engagement with visitors to the city. Any violation of these rules by visitors attract consequences. And since most visitors come during Umrah and Hajj the Saudi Hajj authorities put in place laws to make visitors comfortable.
Over the years because of untold incidences, the Hajj Authorities ban cooking of food in the city. Rather it has central kitchen for visitors and food are shared through each country’s Hajj Authorities. Nigeria is represented by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria NAHCON.
Perhaps, in order to prevent breaches of these laws, NAHCON has the sole authorities to provide the Accommodation for Pilgrims and feed them, while in Madinah.
Therefore, it was surprising to have seen a state from the South west Nigeria, arrived in the city with it’s Pilgrims and come with 35 bags of Elubo, cassava flour. You read right. 35 bags of Elubo, one of the food items of Yoruba people.
Coming with such to a city of Medinah, questions the state’s officials level of understanding of the rules of Hajj. Consequently the Elubo, became a nuisance from the airport. The Airport workers were confused about how to carry them to the rented apartment for the state Pilgrims.
Eventually, when the Elubo bags were moved, from the Airport, there was no space to store them in the hotel. Thus, for a long time, they cannot be off loaded from the vehicle.
One can imagine the space, such would take in the reception area of the hotel. The police, had to be invited to ease the tension. An Arab driver is paid per hour and this case, the driver was delayed for hours because of the Elebo and he lost his profit.
The scene and embarrassment it caused, got the hotel management, to regret letting out the premises to Nigeria. It has concluded, it will no longer give it’s facility to Nigeria in future.
Also NAHCON, staff on ground in Medinah were embarrassed, for such action coming from Nigeria. And when the Executive Secretary of the state welfare Board was contacted, he only told the official, the Elubo, bags are meant for the consumption of it’s state Pilgrims.
The hotel management, only agreed for it’s off load into one of the rooms the state rented.
What a people we are?
Abdulfattah Abdussalam
Medinah 2023 Hajj

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