By Ugoji Egbujo
2017, you started in a hurry. You had barely arrived when you forced a medical leave on our president. We won’t forget you in a hurry. You misled prophets. They looked at the falling naira and prophesied that it was headed for the abyss. They read economic forecasts and said, God said. Irreverent 2017, you exposed their charlatanism. Naira rose from its drunken stupor at 520 per dollar and has since sat clear-eyed at 360 per dollar. Hopefully, pastors and soothsayers would learn to talk about only floods, scientific discoveries and other mundanities.
But 2017, you played too many games with pastors. You arranged one garrulous Daddy Freeze to irritate a multitude of Daddy GOs. You need deliverance, 2017. You made the theology of tithing the talk of beer parlors and strip bars. Many who had not read the Bible in ages, looked up Malachi. Someone lamented that you caused tithes to slump in many churches. You said you only wanted to clear up doctrinal confusion. But some said that you made the men of the underworld happy. You made them learn Malachi chapter 3, and realize many of the dignitaries that litter our society could perhaps be robbers. Malachi says tithe defaulters are all robbers.
2017, you didn’t just fool prophets, you turned many mortals into prophets of death.
One governor was sure Buhari had died. The other had pictures of his lifeless body in a London morgue. Bigotry beat drums in Port Harcourt and political opponents and their hirelings danced to Buhari’s death on the streets. The North was perpetually meeting with the military those days. You turned grown men into rumor mills. You raised devilish hopes and crashed them like the devil. When Buhari returned a few thought it was his double from Sudan. They refused to stop believing that Buhari was dead. That former Aviation minister is not a mad man. But his theory of ‘corpsocracy’ was one only lunacy nor severe drunkenness could saddle on any adult mind. 2017, you made ‘hale and hearty’ lose its meaning.
2017, you how did you arrange so many fights but didn’t book a ring for any. The DSS versus the EFCC loomed for so long. Ringside tickets were already being printed in Oluwole street. The president’s ambivalence guaranteed its rating as the ‘fight of the year.’ But after the promotional show at the Senate chambers and the other one at a street in Mataima, you disappointed many fans seeking amusement in a beleaguered economy. Other tantalizing offers like the Head of Service versus the Chief of Staff, the Kogi governor versus Senator Melaye, and a mouth-watering Kachikwu versus Baru, all didn’t hold.
2017, you toyed and teased. The IPOB was the gate of their heaven. Nnamdi Kanu left the prison and became an emperor in one week. Many, including senior politicians, had started bowing publicly before him. 2017, you were such a hopeless tease. You bared unclothed fame at him and his group. They stood imperiously erect. Then you brought in pythons for a dance. What followed was equally cataclysmic. Nobody knows exactly what the python swallowed and what has since squirreled into a deep wintry hole. November 18 came and went. There was no referendum but there were elections. You burst the IPOB hot air balloon. 2017, you were a little harsh on Spanish separatists too.
You showed early signs of ruthlessness. You took ECOWAS soldiers to the Gambia and put out the nuisance, Yahya Jammeh. When you turned on Pa Mugabe, we thought it was a joke. But you saw it through. That was a crafty maneuver. You have left Kenya in limbo. You know the consequences are incubating. You know Raila Odinga didn’t boycottt the elections to retire and die in an old people’s home. We all thought you would relieve South Africa of Zuma. We held our breaths and waited for you to hang him dry with an impeachment. You let him off and gave him a statue in Owerri.
How then did you pick your victims? You crashed MMM but you let Bitcoin soar. You let Arewa loquacious Youths slip off. You let Maina slip in and slip out. You let a bumbling Malami hang in there with moonlight tales. Yet you let Babachir fall because he cut grasses. And you allowed pythons swallow a motormouthed Director born of the tribe of Judah. We wanted Alex Ekwueme to linger with us, but you broke our hearts.
You talked too much 2017. You allowed Mrs Aisha Buhari announce the banishment of hyenas and jackals. We made our ‘asoebis’ and brought out drums. But the Hyenas and Jackals have remained unperturbed, seated in very high places. You said the heads of those who smuggled Abdulrasheed Maina back into the civil service would roll. But the president has tucked away the Maina report under his pillow, and he sleeps more soundly on it. You talked too much 2017. You fooled us with that two month whistleblowing frenzy. We thought you would help us whistle corruption to death. But after that Kaduna bungalow and the Ikoyi flat, you allowed whistleblowing to go out of fashion
2017, you could’t keep secrets. Everyone now knows that George H.W Bush pinched the buttocks of women while taking photographs. Children now know that Harvey Weinstein begged to have it for just one minute. You allowed the excavation of buried matters. You made decent men lose their hard-won reputation and become mere he-goats. Thank God you didn’t let Nigerian women join the #MeToo train. God could have simply brought forward the Apocalypse. It’s okay that you stopped at Senator Abba Ibrahim and his threesome crew.
But you weren’t all mischief. You took Atiku Abubakar back to the PDP. The party was in literal tatters. The commonsense Senator now dreams a president Atiku. That is heart warming. The nation needs an opposition that does more than frothing divisiveness and raving like a rabid dog. I must thank you for arranging the capture of Evans, the kidnapper, after 5 years of elusiveness. You took away the menace of VIO’s from Lagos roads and you exposed the madness of SARS. We are grateful.
But you must think of what to do with the APAPA traffic. And of course the fuel scarcity. Please suggest to 2018 the need to remove petrol subsidy and deregulate the market. The job reports are not good. 2018 must do something radical. I have a personal request, 2017. I know you don’t really have any time left. But please before you leave. Can you help me dismantle the cabal?