|Abdullahi...the 13th Sports minister|
Nigeria became a democracy again in 1999. Sports has had a high level of mortality of sports ministers. Between May 1999 and now, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi is the 13th minister! When on Tuesday, 13th February 2012, the President hosted the Nigerian Super Eagles in the banquet hall of the Villa. I was sitting as a guest in the studio of Nigeria Television Authority for Tuesday Night Live.
A strange thought struck me. Today is 13th and the minister is the 13th. For 19 years Nigeria lacked victory in the Nation’s Cup and jersey number 19, Sunday Mba, scored and delivered the trophy. What has figures got to do with a man’s life?
Friday the 13th February 1976 was a bad day for Nigeria when General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, Colonel Adetunji Taiwo and Lieutenant Colonel Akintunde Akinsehinwa (Murtala’s ADC) were killed. Ironically, no one in Nigeria remembered to celebrate or commemorate that day. It’s 37 years ago. Another odd figure.
There is much confusion regarding the number 13. However, in many places the number 13 is considered to be an unlucky number. There are many theories regarding it and one of the common one is that 13 is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper, alone with Jesus. Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member to arrive.
1313 Mockingbird Lane. Friday the 13th and 13 black cats. Baaaad omens? It's 2009 and there remains an air of mystery surrounding the number 13, carried from dark times that still causes most of us to avoid anything associated with the number 13. High rise buildings are built without 13th floors (if there are 14 floors or more, there is a 13th floor but it's either skipped or renumberated!), airplane flight numbers are reassigned to avoid this association.
The number 13 has a long tradition of being unlucky. However, in occult circles, the number 13 has its own significance. The definition of occult when used as an adjective is: of or pertaining to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies.
The definition is quite broad and encompasses many beliefs and is not limited to popular conception that the occult equals Satanism. Perhaps, the most famous occultist of all time was believed he was the Beast 666 from the book of Revelations chapter 13.
Superstition follows the number 13 across time and throughout cultures; however, it has sacred meanings, as well. And like superstitions, the number 13's significance is found in many places throughout history. For instance:
The lunar calendar, favoured by many spiritual belief systems, is sacred and contains 13 lunar cycles with a moon that moves 13 degrees across the heavens each day. The Tarot Deck contains 13 cards of each suit in the minor arcana. The Death card is numbered 13. Like many representations of 13, it represents the end of one thing, only to lead to a new beginning.
The human body has 13 major joints. In the ancient runic alphabet, the 13th rune symbolised the end of a cycle and the new beginning that followed. Witches covens have 13 members. The final step on the ladder before Egyptians souls reached to their eternal rest is the number 13.
While it seems this would be bad luck, they saw it as the step that led them into their immortal afterlife. The Aztec religious calendar centered on the number 13, though their regular calendar was based on a 365-day year with 18 months. The same day would fall concurrently on both calendars every 52 years - a multiple of thirteen. Paganism sees the number thirteen as a time of transition and in Celtic beliefs was considered the "coming of age" for boys. Old Celtic beliefs say that the number thirteen is sacred as it represents the one joining the Goddess, represented by the number three. Numerology puts significance on the number thirteen when the equation 1+3=4 is considered, four being representational of the circle of life.
While modern superstitions place negative meanings on the number thirteen, in older belief systems, now considered to be linked to the occult, 13 is a number of transition and change. One ending becomes a beginning, continuing the sacred cycle of life.