We are apes, this side of creation. No, I don’t mean that ugly orangutan stuff. I mean, we are good at copycatting whatever we see in others, especially if it has a foreign tint to it. That is how come we love making New Year resolutions that are bound to be broken. Because the West does it, it must be good for the East as well.
New Year resolutions date back in history to 153BC January, a month named after the two-faced Roman god, Janus, who could see both his back and front. He was reputed to be able to see his past and future and so could resolve to do certain things to correct his past mistakes.
So, now, we make resolutions to improve on our habits of an out-gone year. We no longer want to lie. We no longer want to steal. We no longer want to ogle other men’s wives or other women’s husbands. We no longer want to sashay about the high streets of immorality, hunting for fickle-brained men or gluttonous women to slay. We no longer want to defraud God or man. We no longer want to fraternize with confraternities of satan. We no longer want to munch delicacies of human flesh and broth of human blood. We no longer want to be adorned by the long talons and red lips of blood-sucking witches. We no longer want to smoke or booze.
Rather, we want to occupy front pews of piety and worship our God. We want to give alms that would ascend as a memorial to heaven for us like Cornelius’. We want to be sincere men and women of honour, caring for the weak and helpless. In fact, we want positivism over negativism, and so, the cyclic hollow rituals go on year in, year out.
However, no sooner are these resolutions made than they are broken because, unfortunately, we are not Janus. We are mono-faced, and frontally too. That is why we are never resolute about using lessons from our past errors to build a better tomorrow.
To start with, do we care about tomorrow? Will tomorrow truly come, considering the way we ruin everything for the pleasures of today? What if it comes, who gives a hoot about what happens after we have long left the stage? Do the evil or good men do live after them or with them? Does it matter? After all, ‘man no die, man no rotten’. Self-preservation is the first law; opportunity comes but once; make the best use of yours is the creed (ask the politicians among us).
Have we so soon forgotten the raging debate over the proposed withdrawal of a whopping N1 billion from the Exchange Crude Account (ECA), ostensibly to fight against a ‘defeated’ Boko Haram? All I could garner from the exchanges between politicians was that, if past governments did, why would not President Muhammadu Buhari’s.
You now see our problem? Nobody is interested in whether or not the money was actually used (or is going to be used) for the good of the nation. Nobody wants to know that it was for this same kind of ‘sleaze’ that Dasuki and a host of opposition politicians are in the gulag today. In any case, nobody cared to tell us why the government needed such a hefty sum to combat the Boko Haram they had gloatingly told us had since been defeated.
Or does it not seem more plausible to align with the accusation that the money is planned to be wharehoused for prosecution of the 2019 election, just as it accused the preceding government in 2015? The cheek of it! The politicians have trained their eyes on 2019 already.
That is why New Year resolutions can never work in our clime. They have muddled the water of life with the mandate secured previously and are yet jostling for another term while Nigerians die in droves. And, mind you, this is not All Progressives Congress (APC) affair only. All governments of all the parties at all levels have failed us and are only splashing mud of confusion around to inveigle weary commoners like us.
That is why I doff my hat for that cleric in the North Central state that was reported to have refused to release his altar to the state governor. He could not allow God’s altar to be turned into a soapbox of lies to swindle the people, as all politicians are wont. May God increase the tribe of such clerics that can tell truth to power.
Governments have taken us for a ride for far too long. They have also resolved to make this year more prosperous for Nigerians. At least, Buhari’s New Year speech, the best thus far since he mounted his gilded office, can testify to that. Yet, the ‘saboteurs’ in the oil industry are still at their game, hoarding fuel and making life unbearable for us. Nobody remembers the President’s threat for all it is worth; he has even forgotten about it himself.
One wonders if this is the work of saboteurs or ineptitude or plainly letting history repeat itself. Like in the ECA fund, if the nation had a history of fuel scarcity, why must it not recur in this regime? But Nigerians never had it this bad; ‘something really do us’!
Had they not resolved to protect us from the marauding Fulani herdsmen? Yet, each passing day, Nigerian communities are fast turning into abattoirs where bones are broken and lives snuffed out at will. We have degenerated to a nation of blood and tears everywhere. The recent massacre of over 50 natives in Benue is one too many. Nigerians have been made fodder for dueling politicians. They play us against one another, using highly flammable religious and ethnic cards, and government had better wake up before the country goes up in smoke.
New Year resolutions are not bad, if they make us better. However, we make irresolute New Year resolutions because we are insincere and lack discipline to carry it through. I would rather we said no to such rubbish, unless we can enforce it. Seriously, if any resolution must be made this New Year at all, it must be by the masses … To stand by one another and use our voters to flush out the bandits in power; and to ensure that the economic predators and witches who turn daylight into darkness never come near the seat of power in 2019.