In the spirit of the New Year
The old year is dead. Welcome to the New Year. The old year now inside the womb of the past had wounds and scars. It had bleeding blisters and blistered the lives of hapless millions. But it also catapulted some to fame, to wealth, to undreamed-of heights. It made millions homeless and made millions more hopeful; such contradictions as we know make up the world, actually define our existence. Some survived terrible illnesses, danced and walked again. Others did not survive the onset of our readily-available, simple and familiar tropical malaria. Yet for some ‘their dry bones rose again’ in a manner of speaking, if I may borrow the metaphor of Prophet Ezekiel in the Bible.
What we have left of the old year however are memories – sweet memories; and not-so-sweet memories for millions. Bitter memories for some others; yes, bitter memories for some who actually prayed for the old year to accelerate its departure. The face of last year was too dark for some of them. Those who lost loved ones, went into depression, went through a divorce, lost fortunes, lost jobs, suffered deportation, had family members kidnapped and killed do not have pleasant memories of the old year. There are individual memories just as we have collective memories. All the individual memories make up the collective. Also, there are private memories, experiences too shameful for the public eyes, for the collective eyes.
The national memory is made of national experiences. These are issues that hit the headlines and give us a sense of where and what we are. Hunger. Inflation. Loss of jobs. Suicide by teenagers. Increase in the number of the mentally-ill. Uncertainty. Assassinations. Genocide. Kidnappings. Gruesome deaths, sometimes mass in the number of lives snatched from the owners. Official lies and fake news. Melodrama of the highest and most profane standard in the National Assembly. The shenanigans of the political class across the country irrespective of party affiliations. ASUU strike! These make up the national memory in the out-gone year. What do we make of these events? Are they memories we want replicated in the New Year?
In the out-gone year there were marriages, child births, excellence in some areas. Some girls from a school in Anambra State got recognition in the computer world. Our President became stronger. His son survived a scary accident. There were floods that did not kill people. There was no fuel scarcity. North Korea and America did not go to war. Indeed the two sworn enemies became friends, sort of.
Whereas we consider the old year from the perspective of history the New Year is seen and welcomed from the viewpoint of the possible, the new and the fresh. It is something that can be controlled through wishes, action and prayer. The past year is gone, stored in a memory bank. The New Year is ahead of us. Some entered the New Year in a spiritual manner after religious experiences in December, after a pilgrimage of sorts. For me as with the thousands who share the same faith with me, I entered the New Year after the Feast of tabernacles in Warri on the 23rd of December. Stock-taking and invocation of blessings were part of the exercise to end the year.
The New Year carries hope in its womb. It is the hope for, of the future. It comes with a warning though, a subtle one – things should be done differently to achieve different or better results. It is a spirit of optimism, of a new beginning as a way of starting anew. Putting aside the spirit of fear, of doubts of failures in the past year, the New Year opens its channels for better and spirited ways of doing things. The commencement of a New Year, of a new season therefore is an opportunity for a review- a time to refresh ourselves and make peace with all forces. It is time to live in harmony with the elements and the political forces. This is the spirit of the New Year. The New Year is a marker, a reckoning point for those whose eyes are open to the opportunities offered by a new season.
So let 2019 be a new season, a new spirit, to all of us as individuals and as a nation. For us in Nigeria, it is an opportunity to review our politics, our security, our values system and our ethical and moral conduct. By coincidence 2019 is an election year. It is a year that redefines our approach to electing leaders who would be committed to the new spirit, the new hope and optimism. As we pick the ballot paper and drop it inside the ballot box there is the feeling that that single vote could make a difference in the lives of the people. There are still fears whether the votes will really count. There are fears that the results will be rejected by some. But there is the optimism that we often get to the brink and manage to take a step backwards to avoid an implosion.
The years will always end. The years will always come. We met the years here. We shall ultimately leave the years here. No one can take the years away; not even the power brokers in the biggest and powerful nations. Time is a teacher. But time is also an agent of retribution. So this is the lesson for all mankind. In the final analysis, we are infinitesimal, almost absent in determining the trajectory of the New Year, of the world and of time. It is nothing strange to assert that some of the powerful human elements who run the world today, who have welcomed the New Year may not be around when the year finally closes its eyes in sleep. This is the power of time, of the overwhelming force which really controls the universe. Can you with any certainty assert that you will be around to bid 2019 goodbye and usher in 2020?
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