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Happy(?) New Year

By Iretiola Doyle
Err… happy (?) New Year? I’m not trying to be tongue in cheek but how do you say those words with good cheer given the recent backdrop of events. I’ve said it before… sometimes writing this column is a burden. I often tell my kids that it’s okay to be quiet if you don’t have something nice to say…

My first published article was 10 years ago, and within that period to date, I have at different times  written as a columnist for three major dailies and I doubt there isn’t anything about this great nation of ours that I haven’t bitched about. The frustrating thing is that 10 years on, I’m still bitching about the same issues writers I aspired to be like bitched about 20 years ago!

Our daily papers down to the last one seem like a cacophony of dire voices. Each headline more depressing and frightening than the last. Each week as I sit in front of my computer mentally stringing the words together, I ask myself, what again this week?

Am I going to add my voice to the maddening scream? What am I going to say that hasn’t been said 10 times before in 20 different ways? More to that: who’s listening? Definitely not the people you’re ranting about. So you ask yourself…what is the point? Why bother?

Sometimes, I try to lighten things up by focusing a piece on some event or issue going on in my personal life. But even that can come across as inane in the face of everything we are currently going through as a nation. Take the outgoing year 2011 for instance. Personally it was a year of promotion and many successes. All these pale into insignificance in the light of where I now find myself as a Nigerian.

It was said that on New Year’s Eve, most of the clubs and churches were empty. I know some who officially cancelled their midnight services for security reasons. We personally spent it with family friends – a close knit few in the privacy of someone’s backyard.

That is the reality of my existence in the Nigeria of today. They don’t even have to actually detonate a bomb… the battle has become psychological… just the threat or warning is enough to set off the terror.

The casualties are rising, this extreme security breach is beginning to take on different colourations with religious voices becoming strident and different regions publicly avowing not to hesitate to defend themselves in the light of these brazen and relentless attacks.

That in itself is incendiary enough. Then you have the protests against the removal of the fuel subsidy of Wednesday January 4th which could be described as a preview of coming attractions in the days ahead. Not to mention ASUU and every other bit of excreta that is about to hit the oscillator!

I look… I ponder… the way things are going…. Only God can help us. I mean that in its purest form.

But His word has come forth: No matter what happens, and something will… He will take me from land to land…. That is my prayer for you too in these uncertain times…

Happy New Year…


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