analysisBy Adie Vanessa Offiong
"Remember to pray today at miracle time: 12 minutes past 12noon. 12. 12. 12. 12. 12. The Lord bless you." "Good morning, its 12/12/12. Wishing you all 12. 1. Love. 2. Blessings. 3. Divine Health. 4. Wealth. 5. Success. 6. Beauty. 7. Happiness. 8. Peace. 9. Joy. 10. Breakthrough. 11. Prosperity. 12. Divine Favour." These were the kind of messages circulated last Wednesday which had the rare date of being the twelfth day of the twelfth month in the twelfth year of the twenty first century. It is said that the next time such a date will come by again is January first 2101 (01/01/01). Respondents in Abuja spoke about what the day meant to them and how they marked it.
"From two days before when my mum realised it would be a day with a unique date, and that it fell midweek she began drumming it in our ears that we were going to fast at least until 12noon and for those who could go on till 6pm, it would be great," said Hauwa Ahmed.
The twenty year old said, "My siblings and I exchanged looks when she first said it wondering why we had to go through the hassle and not fast on our own accord.
"We managed to convince her that we could observe the uniqueness of the day in other meaningful ways without having to fast. We prayed at midnight and at 12noon and went about our day as normal."
Mr. Jacob Uwezu who turned fifty said it was a very joyous day for him. "I woke up at midnight very excited and prayed. This is my routine every birthday. It didn't even occur to me that the date was unique."
While shopping with his wife to mark the day, Uwezu added that even if his fiftieth birthday fell on another day it would still be a big deal for him because of the significance of turning fifty.
Agnes Ojeimen said she would probably not attach so much importance to the date but for all the noise that had been going on about it. "There has been so much hype about the date and the fact that twelve is a significant number and has some spiritual attachment to it.
"But for me it came and went by like any other day."
Checking online too there was just as much waves.
The Hindustan Times reported that people in Kashmir had a sleepless night as a result of an online message which went viral. It said "that cosmic rays from Mars will enter into Earth and damage mobile phones." According to Hindustan Times, the government had to come up with an official statement to dispel the rumour.
"Late on Wednesday evening", according to the report, "a message attributed to NASA and BBC news service went viral online with people sharing it on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter."
The message, which sparked panic, read: "Attention please: Tonight 12:30am to 3:30am cosmos rays are entering earth from Mars. So switch off your mobile at night. Don't keep your cell with you and put it away while you are sleeping because they are too much dangerous rays."
The message had people switching off their phones and calling each other to take precaution. "After reading the message, we immediately cut off power supply to the mobile tower in our premises," said Naseer Ahmad, a resident of south Kashmir's Bijbehara area, the online newspaper reported.
It further made waves when Pope Benedict XVI sent his first tweet on the same day in the morning to more than 1 million followers on his newly started account.
Senior citizen Mr. Ibrahim Dauda said "For me it is just a date like any other day has a date unique to it. There is no reason in my view why there should be any special attribution to it. For me only dates marked on national and spiritual calendars of any religion should have any special attribution.
"But humans being the gullible people we are, anybody can wake up anywhere and make 12/12/12 a phenomenon for us and we'll follow without questioning."
The seventy six year-old grandfather said, "We should take our minds back to when it was said the world would end and how many different dates have given from the beginning when it was first proclaimed.
"The same importance we attach to 12/12/12 is what we should attach to every single day God gives us the opportunity to wake up and see the light of day," he added.