FEATURE ARTICLE

Monday, January 23, 2023
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2023: THE YEAR OF GREAT EXPECTANCY

he strenuous activities of the Yuletide and New Year caged my mind and my hands. My legs turned into Mister Jegede. My car was always on the road. The quantity of fuel it consumed in this time of scarcity and high price was not something to write home about. In fact my pocket has dried up. As the year 2023 began, my mind was willing to write but my body was so weak to put it down in black and white. However, this week scales fell off my eyes and my thinking faculty was activated. Courageously I picked up my pen and dusted my laptop. A local proverb says that whenever someone wakes up from sleep it becomes his morning. Therefore I wish you my lovely fans a happy New Year. But if you are not happy, do not say Amen. With patience accompany me in this maiden New Year write-up and see how happiness will come back to you soonest. Read, assimilate and act according to my prescription. A trial will convince you.

It is exactly two thousand and twenty-three years that the Savior of Mankind and our Lord Jesus Christ came into this failing world. He came. He saw. He wept. He died a sacrificial death on the infamous gibbet. He was buried unceremoniously. On the third day he rose from the grave mysteriously. The armed soldiers who were instructed to guard his tomb and to shoot him dead again, if he dared to rise, were dumbfounded and blinded. Divine power is greater than human power. The helpless soldiers were bribed to say that the disciples of the slain Jesus Christ stole his body from the tomb when the soldiers were deep asleep. If I were there by then, I would charge the ailing soldiers for sleeping on duty. Indeed the devil is a liar. He inspired the soldiers to tell lies. Only God knows if the soldiers in question died repentant or unrepentant. We shall sort it out on the Resurrection Day.

We thank God for ushering us into the New Year 2023 despite our dishonesty in following the footsteps of the untruthful soldiers. The Holy Book says, "The truth will set you free" (Jn. 8:32). Jesus Christ died for the truth to set us free. Unfortunately we chained ourselves in lies and injustice. John the Baptist was beheaded for testifying to the truth. He condemned injustice and was silenced temporarily but not forever. He lives forever while his killers were silenced eternally.

What makes evil to triumph is that good people kept silent. The Nigeria National Anthem says, "The labours of our leaders past shall never be in vain." Yes, our good old leaders fought for our independence with all the arsenals at their disposal and won it. Unfortunately external colonization ended while internal colonization started. Corruption was enthroned and the center could no longer hold till today. The late Sunny Okosun prophetically sang, "Which way Nigeria? Which way to go? After many years of Independence we still have a long way to. How long shall it take us to reach the Promised Land?" I wish God would allow Sunny Okosun to come back to life and see how far we are derailing.

We wish ourselves happy New Year 2023. The question is how happy are we now? Sadness seems to take the lead in our lives as Nigerians. The three words 'Happy New Year' are words of consolation. The other day I came across a lady called Happiness from birth. She looked so dejected. I asked her how happy she was feeling in this New Year 2023. She sighed and shook her head negatively. She regrettably told me that she has urgently applied to the Ministry of Personality for a change of name. On publication she will henceforth go by the name Sadness until Nigeria resurrects with joy again.

Our country Nigeria is the giant expectant mother in the whole of Africa. She has already given birth to millions of helpless children. Thus she is expecting to get a healthy and hopeful child this time. She prays for safe delivery as well as for a bouncing joyful baby. Let us assist her with ardent prayer. God's grace works on nature. Our prayer will be effective only if we fulfill our right of franchise by registering as eligible voters and have collected our Permanent Voter's Card (PVC). Have you collected yours? If not, why not? Time is ticking.

On the presidential ballot paper, the names of eighteen presidential candidates will appear. They are all vying to occupy the Number One Seat at Aso Rock in Abuja. Some of the candidates are sound in mind and body while some are not. We must shine our eyes well before we cast our votes on 25 February 2023. There is a hopeful shining star among the candidates. By his fruit and antecedents we know him whom the cap fits as the incoming President. He is the only one destined to salvage this country from years of decay. He is a God-fearing man; tested and trusted. He has the qualities of Moses and Joshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. If we blindly miss this unique opportunity, we shall wander endlessly in the desert. Sadness will be our everlasting inheritance. But if we vote rightly this time, our country Nigeria will be counted among the Comity of Nations in the years to come.

Vote buying and vote selling will lead us into political and economic disability. We cannot exercise our inalienable right of franchise without collecting our PVC. Voting apathy leads to enthronement of injustice. Voting correctly for the best candidate will kill corruption, injustice, hunger, anger, poverty, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, religious bigotry, sectionalism, tribalism, marginalization and bad leadership. Nigeria is soaked in innocent blood. As I was writing this, there was breaking sad news. It was reported that Reverend Father Isaac Achi of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church Kaffin Koro in Niger State was burnt to ashes by bandits in his residence in the early hours of Sunday 15 January 2023. I cried till blood started coming out of my eyes. On the same day, five women were kidnapped on their way to church in the same area. The assailants shot a pastor. Where is this country heading to? We are not far away from Armageddon if a good leader is not voted into power, come February 25.

Nigerians are hungry. A hungry man is an angry man. Very recently, a married man with five children somewhere in Enugu State brutally killed his wife over a loaf of bread. It is quite a pity. Hunger is mesmerizing many families. The cost of essential commodities is soaring higher and higher. Common Kerosene is now unaffordable. A liter of fuel sells now between N300 and N500. Many motorists have packed their vehicles and resorted to trekking. Wheel barrow will soon be used as means of transporting passengers. So many Christmas and New Year returnees are trapped at home due to high cost of fuel and transport fee. Many citizens have developed high blood pressure as a result of the biting economic hardship and uncertainties being experience in this country, which God blessed with abundant natural and human resources.

Who will bell the cat so that innocent rats can heave a sigh of relief? Our happy New Year wish can only materialize if and only if a credible and God-fearing Presidential Candidate is voted into power on February 25. Then we shall count our blessings and bury our curses. Let us remain prayerful and watchful as we march to the Polls. God is not asleep. He is waiting for us to do the right thing before He takes over.

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