By Lasisi Olagunju
“IN the inner recesses of the mind,” says Cicero, “is divine prophecy hidden.” Right from the veranda of today, humanity wants to see what tomorrow holds. Man loves sitting on the shoulder of prophets to gaze at the future. This eagerness to see tomorrow today is what has sustained Nostradamus and the prophets. Sometimes writers get the “divine impulse” to tell the improbable. Sometimes you do time travelling and write. I did in December 2016 preparing you for the shocks of 2017. Can you remember reading this?: “…I see a country in search of health. I see a sick nation begging to breathe. I see the lion in his sickbed. I see other animals doing eye service, ‘working’ for the quick recovery of the king of the jungle. I see all manner of medicines for the infirm sovereign.
I see wolf and I see fox, rivals in a deadly game of power and strategies and stratagem and death. I see as each designs the end of the other standing on the infirmity of the lion. I see deadly animals of greed scheming personal profits on platters of patriotism and loyalty to the sovereign…” Someone said writers are prophets. The above was written here in December 2016 about events that would shape 2017. And what did 2017 say on those words? Was the lion sick? Yet, 2017 prepared the road for 2018, the year of grimmer realities.
The year 2017 started on a note of hope and great expectations. It soon entered the turbulence of uncertainties amid prayers and supplications for the health of the sovereign. Muhammadu Buhari’s friends said his ill health was the sickness of the nation. They were right. The country too was ill. It still critically is. Friends of the president were out, doing their usual permutations. Rats competed for space with princes in the palace. Then the man came back and well and all was quiet.
“I have never been this sick,” Buhari confessed, crossing off the spin that suggested he was merely abroad to rest and run tests. Then there was calm and a sigh of relief. These turned out a mere interlude. Further tests took the sovereign to London. A very long absence and fake news of incapacitation took over. The lion was back, up and well again. The worst was over. Then the year changed gear and drove straight into the station of petrol scarcity and Federal jobs for the dead. 2017 ended in despondency. What a year!
A brand new year starts today and it won’t be a bad idea to look again at the horizon. This is, after all, the season of prophecies and prophetic dances. And we are a very spiritual people in this clime. So, what is there to look forward to in 2018? The country will live its reputation for the scary. It will take the usual suicidal dance steps on the brink. The Kim Jong-Uns of Nigeria will test their political nuclear warheads in the new year. Nigeria’s crust will shift.
The country is a forest of great beasts. It will prove its mettle in the new year. Lions will roar, move and fight. Elephants will dance and shake the forest. Heady Buffaloes will fight regal lions in battles of blood. There will be rumbles in the jungle. You remember the Rumble in the Jungle, the historic October 30, 1974 boxing event in Kinshasa, Mobutu’s Zaire? That bout saw a former heavyweight champion,Muhammad Ali, knock out habitual winner, George Foreman in the eighth round. Reviewers say the fight was “arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century”. For Nigeria and its politics, 2018 (not necessarily 2019) is the year to watch for rumbles and epic battles.
There will be governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states in the new year. One on July 14, the other September 22. These two bouts will set the tone for the real battle of 2019. Both will present war models that will define Nigeria going forward. There will be deceptions and desertions. Friends will become mortal foes hacking down reputations. Friends and foes will form new alliances. Ekiti will be a combination of the comical and the tactical. Buying and selling, offers and acceptance wrapped in what Roman jurists called dolus bonus (good trickery) will drive the war. From the noise, smoke and fury of this war in Ekiti, a decisive victory will go to Napoleon. Osun will not keep its 2014 reputation of Napoleon’s Battle of the Three Emperors. This coming war looks set a blitzkrieg – “short, fast powerful attacks” complemented by encircling, overwhelming speed and surprises. The state will be a blitzed field. Napoleons and Hitlers here need prayers.
The iron dice of 2019 will start rolling from these two states and it won’t be funny at all. This fact, in particular, makes the stakes in these two states to be very high for Abuja and Lagos and their disparate allies. Successes in enterprises and wars incite imitations. And, all victories and defeats are costly and full of lessons. Generals know that their business is a life-and-death enterprise that demands very careful planning and deployment of brain and brawn. A composite model for the 2019 battle will be made by Abuja from the 2018 lessons in Ekiti and Osun states. In that model, there will be blitzkrieg; there will be annihilation, exhaustion and, even, incapacitation.
Political parties are organic beings. The APC and the PDP are entering the new year gasping for breath. They are big, they look strong but they are very unreliable. They both suffer brain hemorrhages but their minders live in convenient denial. Only quick, adequate attentions will save them from fatal convulsion in the new year. They may, in fact, end up atrophied soon before the year reaches its noon. And just as the American NASA discovers new planets almost everyday (some of them earth-like and within the habitable zone) so will new political parties come out to challenge the bumbling big two. Wailers wailed because some dead persons were on the list of President Buhari’s December appointees in 2017. They should be ready to wail at the resurrection of one of the parties that died so that the APC could be born. Specialists at waking the dead have almost completed the rituals. The dead will come back to fight for a repossession of its inherited widow.
For Nigeria, the new year will be a year of great betrayals, deception and surprises. The year will distinguish thinking godly thoughts from embracing heavenly virtues. Manipulative gods and heroes will increase the pace of their descent on the popular psyche. Governors and governments will unleash weapons of mass deception on the people on a scale never seen before. Broken hearts, broken heads, broken minds, broken allegiances and broken promises will strew the landscape.
Government and their partners in business will lay siege to the masses as the fight over earned and unearned subsidies will get messy. We should pray against many being stranded on the highways of the new year. And seers who remember the past would insist that breaking vases of hope wouldn’t be news again. They will remind us that kisses of disappointments birthed the nation; that falling and rising have been watering Nigeria’s stunted growth from birth. And that disappointments shouldn’t tickle anyone again.
They will remind us that the overcast skies of 2017 were seen as very normal in the years before. So, there will be very many usuals in the new year. The country will maintain its track on the orbit of hope, disappointments and hope. The new year won’t be just about grim occurrences. There will be interludes of mirth and laughter. The new year calls for vigilance, prayer and proactive actions. May God lift the siege of elite greed and wickedness on the nation in the new year.