To say the year 2016 has been a tough one for the average Nigerian would be a gross understatement. This year has been nothing short of brutal, and anyone who still enjoys good health and can afford at least 2 quality meals a day should be thankful that they have made it thus far. It’s also safe to say that the most common word this year has been “Recession.” Even villagers who hardly have an inkling of what city life looks like let alone keep up with its intricacies or the whims and caprices of its inhabitants now have an idea of what that dreaded word connotes. The year has also been an interesting one, and like every interesting story, it hasn’t been without the attendant heroes and villains that make any story tick.
Like it is when a new year is about to be birthed, everyone hopes for fortunes. However, miracles don’t just happen; to experience a better future we need to review the past in order to make the required changes for the future. On the backdrop of this, I am naming 6 categories of people who absolutely need to change, because their performance or lack thereof have some sort of impact on the general populace. Without further ado, and in no particular order they are;
Building Contractors: Like many other needless deaths that occur in Nigeria everyday no thanks to one form of negligence or the other, the unfortunate collapse of the Reigners Bible Church International building in Akwa Ibom State which led to the loss of precious lives a few days ago was one that should never have happened if whoever was in charge of putting up the structure had done their job well. From Lagos to Ibadan to Abeokuta to Akwa Ibom, the story is always the same. Hastily constructed structures built with inferior raw materials causing untimely deaths. At the end of the day, the architect or contractor only gets a slap on the wrist in cases where they are even prosecuted. Some professions are tied to the lives of human beings and building contractors should know that their vocation is one of those. In the new year one hopes that they do a bit of soul searching and decide to carry out their job in good conscience as opposed to erecting shabby structures in a bid to enrich their pockets.
Solomon Dalung and the entire NFF: The current Nigerian Minister of Youth and Sports has come under plenty of criticism several times because for some inexplicable reason he seems to enjoy getting under the skin of the people he was appointed to serve. Time and again Mr Dalung has committed gaffe after gaffe; the latest being his statement about the inability of the Nigerian Football Federation to pay the female national team, the Super Falcons after their victory at the African Women Cup of Nations last weekend because they didn’t expect them to win. A submission Nigerians had plenty of scruples with, and for good reason too. For a team that holds the record for the most wins at the AWCON and has dominated women’s football on the continent for almost a decade, it’s absurd for the one person who should be their biggest cheerleader to come up with such a pathetic excuse. Not forgetting that the Sports ministry under Dalung’s leadership has been riddled with one embarrassing episode after the other. The experience of the Nigerian Olympic Football team in Rio also readily comes to mind. Since we cannot bank on President Buhari to carry out the much needed cabinet shake up soon, we can only hope that the minister changes his ways in 2017.
Yoruba Demons: For those who are reading from outside Nigeria, let me offer a quick explanation on what the term “Yoruba Demon” means. The Yorubas are a major tribe in Nigeria. Young men from this tribe are believed to be less than straightforward in their dealings with the female folk. By popular opinion on social media, they are also adjudged to be the most likely to cheat in relationships and as such have made some ladies wary of their level of sincerity in supposedly exclusive love relationships. The many memes which have been created in “honour” of these guys attest to their alleged shenanigans with women. As a Yoruba myself, I am hoping that The “Association of Yoruba Demons” can do something to repair their badly battered image in 2017. Enough of the mischief guys!
Artisans: There are very few business relationships that are as capable of inducing a high blood pressure and ultimately hypertension like one with artisans. Any kind of artisan. It appears to be the curse of craft. With their special ability to work with their hands comes an uncanny ability to be deceitful. It hardly makes a difference whether it’s the mechanic or tailor. The carpenter or plumber, the tales of woe evoked by artisans dates back many years. I believe the battle for the “baddest” has to be between the tailors and the mechanics. One can only hope they find it within themselves to repent in the coming year, and by so doing reduce the number of customers who are frustrated by their mischief.
Internet Trolls: I know that for these set of people, it just might be wishful thinking to believe that they will become changed persons in the new year. For anyone who’s a regular user of social media, the amount of negative energy and hateful comments spewed from often faceless persons who are out to make others feel bad about themselves is a worrying and sad situation. Why anyone would find joy in projecting their insecurities onto another who has done them no wrong remains a mystery. Of course there will always be internet bullies, but hopefully we can have more people spreading love in the coming year.
The Nigerian Government: An undesirable change – that’s the summary of the kind of change we had so far. The Muhammadu Buhari administration came into power riding on so much hope and optimism. One and a half years down the line, Nigerians are clearly far worse off than they were when this administration assumed office. Millions of jobs have been lost this year, the people’s purchasing power have drastically reduced, and many can hardly fend for themselves let alone their dependants, no thanks to the ongoing recession. And up till now no lucid plan has been mapped out by the government of the day to get the country out of the economic mess it has found itself. What we have had instead is one failed promise after the other. There are people who have totally given up on this government, I cannot say I blame them. I am close to giving up myself. They say hope is the last thing to leave a man, so for the love of all things good, I am hoping that the government of the day gets its act together in 2017.