At the end of August, the last quarter of the year sets in. This last segment of the year is characterised by months ending in what has come to be known as ember.
Ember months, the Nigerian coinage for the last four months of the year is believed to be associated with a lot of myths and realities.
Generally, it is believed to be characterised by frenzy. So many people get disturbed the very moments August ends and September sets in. Our reporters who visited some churches last Sunday 10th September, reported that special prayers were offered to God to ward off evil occurrences within this period.
Our reporter who went around the city of Uyo to sample people’s opinion about ember months had various reactions from people.
Reacting to speculations about evil occurrences during ember months, Ekaette Bassey, an Uyo based civil servant said that wicked people capitalize on people’s fear during this period to perpetrate wickedness in the land which is the reason for high mortality rate and evil occurrences during this period.
‘’To me there is nothing special about ember months, it is just that majority of people are always afraid of evil occurrence during this period and the wicked people in the society take advantage of people’s fear to perpetrate wickedness in the land. This is why we experienced high rate of mortality and evil occurrences during ember months because the devil uses what you believe to haunt you,’’ Ekaette Bassey said.
But do these ember months have any spiritual attachment? A clergyman, Godwin Abraham, who is the senior Pastor of Rock Word Embassy in Uyo, said that ember months are periods where satanic altars are raised, renewed and where occultic people exchange themselves by killing innocent souls to stay alive which according to him is the root of the high rate of accidents, communal clashes auto crashes etc experienced during this period.
‘’the bible says that God makes everything beautiful in its time. God has His time. The devil makes all things ugly in its own time. This is the timing of the enemy, the satanic timing. The timing where altars are raised and altars are renewed. So at this time, men who are occultic, who don’t want to die will exchange themselves with innocent souls in order to stay alive. At this time we have accidents, bad news, communal clashes and all that you can think of. This is because the essence of satanic kingdom is blood’’ He said.
However, another clergyman Rev. Fr. Anthony Bassey of St Alphonsus Catholic Church does not subscribe to this. Hear him: ‘’to be frank with you, ember months are nothing but the coinage of Nigerians. If anything and I am talking as a catholic priest, all the mad rush about ember months are just another way of saying Christmas is around the corner, let’s grab the much we can’’. The funny aspect of it all is that both Christians and non Christians partake in this race to pile up either goods or money in anticipation of Christmas. Therefore, ember months as most people see is a period to accumulate wealth’’.
Beyond the spiritual attachment, some people believe that ember months carry with them social responsibilities. Among others who share this view is Mr Divine Sunday, an Akwa Ibom State based businessman.
According to him, ‘’You see, once ember months set in, as a business man you need to warm up knowing that the end of the year is fast approaching. So as a businessman, I usually invest so much in my business during this period so as to get good return as the year runs out. Also, the beginning of ember month signals that Christmas celebration is at the corner and this festive period usually comes with responsibility. So, there is need for adequate financial preparation especially among Christians’’.
But what is the view of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) towards ember months? Mr Godsgift Uwen, the Akwa Ibom State Public Enlightenment Officer of the commission, shared his view thus: ‘’the fact is that it has to do with our perception about ember months. To those of us in the FRSC, we believe that ember months are just like any other month except that the perception the public has towards ember months is to an extent a myth.
The fact remains that during ember months, there is sharp increase in vehicular activities and as such the roads are usually congested. This is because people tend to travel a lot in this season to attend activities and because of this rush, the road tend to be congested. But coming to auto crashes that are usually associated with the ember months, it is not because ember months are accident days but people redouble their risky behaviours on the roads during this season and those who are travelling, motorist do speed a lot, people answer calls while they are driving, people overload their vehicles and people drink a lot and would still be driving. It is not because it is habitual that we have insinuations that accidents happen during this period. Instead it is the people work towards it, we see commuters disobeying traffic rules. The result must always be the occurrences of preventable accidents’’.