By Muyiwa Adetiba
You have to be courageous to make predictions of any sort. Or foolhardy. I don’t consider myself to be either. But as a journalist and a Nigerian, I have seen predictions come and go. I have seen some that are very vague and ambiguous. One revered man of God once predicted ‘All is well that ends well’ at the onset of Ebola and the raging Boko Haram insurgency. Was that really a prediction or edging a bet? It reminds one of the story of a native doctor who told a pregnant woman that was brought to him that the pregnancy would produce a healthy baby.
When prodded further to name the sex of the baby, he merely added that he had ‘spoken’. I have seen some predictions that are so obvious that you wonder why anybody would call them predictions. A prophet once said to an incumbent governor for example that he has to work very hard and be prayerful to avoid being unseated in a coming election. That sounds more like common sense than a prediction. Yet should the man lose the election the prophet would come out to say he had predicted the loss.
The predictions for this year have pretty much followed the same pattern. Many ‘men of God’ have foretold economic hardships this year with many states finding it difficult to pay salaries. But they claim that it would be a year of abundance for those who follow God and are obedient to the will of God. Some have predicted that President Buhari needs to pray for good health and foretold vicious attacks from powerful forces of corruption.
One predicted that the Vice President and his wife should also pray for good health. One predicted that some of those who defected from PDP to APC would go back come 2019. Some are even more vague and general than these. Predictions like ‘it’s a year of sowing and reaping’ – whatever that means- have been attributed to some prophets. So buoyed up by the ingenuity of some of these predictions and the fact that nobody holds you responsible for failed predictions, I now dare to make my 2016 predictions…..
The best place to start is with the men of God. I hereby predict that there is a need for us all to tighten our belts while obeying the men of God as many prophets will warn us of dire consequences if we don’t. I predict that the churches will be fuller and richer in 2016 despite economic hardship with many seeking solace and miracles in the sacred halls. I predict the rapidly approaching end time and the coming rapture.
On politics, I predict that the APC will get more powerful with many people defecting in a bid to avoid the EFCC. I foresee a hard time for the APC Chairman as he strives for internal democracy and discipline. I predict a major face-off between the legislature and the executive. I predict that the corruption war will get nasty as some untouchables will be implicated. I predict that many of the lofty programmes of government will be stunted by incompetence, greed and yes, corruption.
I predict that poverty, despite government’s promises, will bite even harder unless we go back to the farm. I do not see any rallying of the oil price this year. Instead, I see the marketers fighting hard for relevance and despite sabotage, I see the refineries working this year. I predict a genuine attempt to diversify the economy through solid minerals but many of the activities of some of the Ministers will be more of motion than real movement.
Some of the Governors are going to have a tough time with their state unions and professional bodies over salaries and allowances. Some of the Governors will make a real attempt to reduce the cost of governance but many will want to continue the extravagant lifestyle of the past. I do not predict any change in the Local Government administration. It will still be a drain pipe; unaccountable to no one really.
And speaking of drain pipes, our congress – Senate and House of Representative – will just be marginally better than its predecessor in terms of probity and extravagance. I don’t foresee it doing more than chasing shadows – and allowances. I predict more Nigerians getting disenchanted with the National Assembly.
A lot of Nigerians will want an end to impunity and the disobedience of court orders. But I don’t see that happening in 2016. If anything, I predict that more court orders will be flouted as EFCC gets more powerful. I see more media trials than real investigations and more names being dragged through the mud. I see the judiciary not living up to its name as the last hope of the common man. Many of the judgments will still be influenced either by geo-political considerations or simply money – raw cash. I do not see the judiciary elevating itself in the eyes of the people by its actions.
The press will continue to be lazy and aggressive. Real investigative reporting will continue to be in short supply in 2016. Its role as the fourth estate of the realm will be compromised by the antics of its front runners. Many of the publications will struggle to survive and several months’ salaries will be owed the staff. This notwithstanding, I foresee that at least two newspapers will be launched this year.
But it is not all gloom and doom. In fact I refuse to be labelled a prophet of doom so I will predict some silver linings. The country will gain international respect because of the effort of the President to fight corruption. Electricity will be stable and will even improve marginally. Lagos- Ibadan Express road will be completed. The second Niger Bridge will commence. The Naira will get worse before it gets better and more people will take agriculture seriously.
If you don’t agree with my new year predictions, you are welcome to make your own. And please don’t refer to any of these predictions on the other side of 2017. God has the power to change any of the predictions. For now, I have ‘spoken’.