To say that Nigerians are not overly enthusiastic as such for the coming year, 2022, given their experiences since the start of the decade, is no exaggeration. Nigerians greeted the new decade at exactly 12 noon on this fateful day full of joy in anticipation. Churches and mosques were packed and there were various events, official corporate and state ceremonies to officially say goodbye to 2019 and usher in the whole new decade.
Nigerians have petitioned / wish for a prosperous new decade to the Almighty. But alas, even before 2020 was over, Nigerians already wanted her to hurry. We were eager to throw it in the trash of history to be reluctantly remembered, only in memory. It was the most difficult year in living memory since the birth of our country, Nigerian and for its inhabitants.
These challenges centered around a new disease called “corona virus”, aka COVID. In fact COVID, like a thief in the night surreptitiously crept in towards the end of 2019. It fully manifested in 2020. So the new decade that began in 2020 has literally greeted us on a bad note from COVID. , a new disease that almost turned our world upside down, changing the way we do things with new restrictive socialization rules.
There has been a global lockdown that has hit all nations, especially developing countries like Nigeria to the core, destabilizing everything. You can thus understand why Nigerians wanted the year 2020 to get off their calendar as quickly as possible and why they have more or less kept watch for 2021 by welcoming it with outstretched hands; like a people thirsty for water in the absolute hope that it would come with plenty of water to soothe our parched throats. In a review of the year 2020 in an article I titled “Goodbye 2020… Never Again”, I wrote among other things: “For Nigerians who live primarily on a daily income basis, this is was kind of hell because they were anchored. Small, medium and large businesses, the unemployed, underemployed and even white-collar workers have been negatively affected by the soaring prices of consumer and other goods… The naira has been devalued with concomitant debilitating results. Inflation was at an all time high in 2020. ”
Suffice it to say that our hopes for this year 2021 have been virtually shattered. The prices of goods and services have increased in geometric proportion since this year, well beyond the 2020 levels that we then considered to be at an all time high. The devalued Naira last year amid lamentations has further depreciated this year against its purchasing power and against that of our major trading partners. The Central Bank of Nigeria introduced E-naira, the electronic naira this year, to indirectly help curb inflation in one way or another.
However, Nigerians are now more concerned with keeping body and soul together than they barely glance in that direction. Speculation arising from hints by the federal government itself that the retail price of fuel could be increased to N300 per liter adds to anxiety about the year 2022 in terms of what it has in store for citizens.
Insecurity is no less pervasive than last year. In fact, there are new dimensions this year. Kidnappings are now commonplace across the country. For the first time, rail services on the Kaduna-Abuja route have been suspended due to an explosion on the tracks. Indeed, more influential and prominent Nigerians are dying from kidnappings, outright assassinations than from COVID this year.
Last year, COVID dealt a heavy blow to the ranks of the elites. Not anymore this year. They are facing another form of threat related to insecurity in our country. Imo State joined the league of insecure states this year. More students are kidnapped this year 2021 than in 2020 and more ransoms paid. The then Nigerian army chief of staff alongside other officers was killed in a plane crash this year while on active duty.
The fact that primary elections will be held next year to choose the presidential and other party flag bearers for the 2023 general election adds to the tension of 2022, especially since it will be a new one. electoral cycle with President Buhari, several governors and legislators at all levels. due to leave their current position at the end of their terms in 2023, while others seek re-election. For this reason, the fight for party tickets will be a battle royale next year. Our policies are already filling their arsenal. And more money would flow into the economy through campaign spending. This will be good news for political wholesalers.
Although President Buhari has visited his doctors in London a few times this year, he has attended and attended more international gatherings, this year especially those aimed at attracting more investment to Nigeria and tackling to the common problems of the world than at any time during his presidency. Apparently, the President is well aware of Nigeria’s dire economic situation and is keen to consolidate its balance. Overall, most Nigerians are taking a wait-and-see attitude towards the year ahead. No matter what it brings for better or for worse, the resilience of Nigerians will stand up to challenges. We live in an interesting time which invites us to spiritual awakening.
This column is on hiatus for Christmas. I wish all of our esteemed readers and loyal fans a Merry Christmas and the best of the year to come.Ikeano, a journalist, writes via [email protected] 08033077519
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