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December 31, 2022

Happy New Year

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By Francis Ewherido

Happy New Year to you all and welcome to 2023. Though I am not a prophet I know and I said it last week, that not everyone celebrating Christmas will see 2023. It has always been like that year in year out. Sadly, it happened again via police brutality, accidents, natural deaths and other means. May their souls rest in peace.

I am not the all-seeing and all-knowing God, so I do not know how 2023 will turn out for me not to talk of other people, but I wish us all God’s protection, guidance, prosperity, health of mind and body. Though we do not know the future, we still plan for it. Make your plans, set targets and work towards achieving them. As they say, you do not win a lottery without first of all buying a ticket. In other words, it is difficult to achieve targets unless you set them.

Planning is very important for us in 2023. The year 2022, as close as it was to 2023, is gone. The year 2024, though just a year away is in the future. Year 2023 therefore offers us an opportunity to make short term, medium term and long term plans. Where plans are already in the place, 2023 offers an opportunity to take a second look and make adjustments where necessary.

The New Year offers us new beginnings and new opportunities for everybody. The young and in deed others should go on a self-discovery or rediscovery. You need to know who you truly are; your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, your weaknesses, what works and what does not to make meaningful progress. It is difficult to make meaningful progress without sorting out this puzzle.

Without goals, you are not different from the man who dresses up in the morning and sets out without a destination in mind.  How you want take do that kind waka?  And if you are on a wrong road, retrace your steps; a wrong road will not lead you to your destination. Still on young people, be pure at every stage of your life.

What you failed to do or dodged now might return to haunt. Look at what some politicians and workers in the private and public sectors are going through. Ordinary secondary school certificate has become a huge stumbling block. I do not want to talk about university and NYSC certificates. Be pure  abinitio.  Also flee from Yahoo-Yahoo; it is a building without foundation; soon it will collapse.

People above 40 should remember their annual check-up and healthy habits. Our clinics and hospitals should sit up. How can someone who managed to get to your facility collapse and die of low blood sugar. A bottle of coke or a cube of sugar was all that was needed to avoid this death. It is painful and shameful. Blood pressure and sugar level are the first tests nurses carry out once you step into the facility even before you see the doctor.

The JAPA wild fire is still burning. I have dwelt on it extensively before, but let me just touch on it because it is still a major issue. I will continue to reiterate that you have a right to live anywhere you like in this whole world, but if you must JAPA, go through the right channels and have the right documents. Don’t JAPA with a tourist visa.

When it expires, you might live subsequently like a fugitive. Also, what are your plans when you get there and who is guiding you? I see some people who have not travelled outside the country giving tips on JAPA. If a blind man leads another blind man, where do they end up?

The top notch environment, orderliness, effective transportation and good security are for all. You still have to sort out accommodation, up keep and other personal matters. Paying tax is unavoidable unless you want to go to jail. You earn in dollars/pounds/euro and also pay in these currencies, not naira where $1,000 can transform to about N700,000 and make you awash with cash easily.

With the right documents you can get a job about a month after arrival, if you are not picky. But can your take home pay take you home and sustain you until you get your next pay cheque after paying taxes, rents and meeting other commitments? I see them for UK and America o, e no easy as many of us dey see am here. 

Unless you have concrete plans to JAPA, I still believe there are great opportunities in Nigeria in spite of the enormous challenges. There are myriad of problems, but there also lie the opportunities of providing solutions and getting your break through. But I have to confess that getting out school or gaining technical skills and being unemployed is annoying and unacceptable. Our society should develop to the level where all hard working people can at least put food on their tables. Hardworking people should not be jobless and go hungry.

It is partly why the 2023 general election is very important. Our presidential and national assembly elections are slated for February 25, 2023, while the governorship and house of assembly elections will take place in March 4, 2023. We crave for better country and that can only happen if we vote competent, conscientious, empathetic and visionary people at the federal, state and local government levels.

Let national interest and common good guide us in our choice of presidential, governorship and house of assembly, House of Representatives and senatorial candidates. Ordinarily these should take precedence over ethnicity or party membership. You are a member of your party, not a slave to your party. I know selfish and personal interests are heavy in this election, but we are better off with a society where all hardworking people can strive, not a few people with big mansions and exotic cars, while the majority live in abject poverty.

The new electoral act though not perfect has put a lot more powers in the hands of the electorate. Whether or not you are a party man or party woman, be involved. Have your candidates for the presidential, governorship, national assembly and state assembly elections. I know there is hunger in the land and many will sell their votes. Just remember the far reaching implications of your actions, Esau sold his birth right for a plate of porridge due to hunger and the consequences were life long.  There should be no sitting on the fence, but vote with the future in mind, not N2,000 to quench immediate hunger.

On a final note, the Ewherido Family had a great news earlier in the week to close the year2022 on a good note. On Wednesday, the Administrator of the Diocese of Warri, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze announced the appointment of our eldest brother, Monsignor Anthony Ovayero Ewherido, as the Bishop-Elect of Catholic Diocese of Warri by His Holiness, Pope Francis. Until his elevation, Monsignor Ewherido was a Professor of Biblical Theology and Languages and Rector of the SS Peter and Paul Major Seminary Bodija, Ibadan.    Please join my family in praying for Bishop-Elect Ewherido to be a good shepherd of God’s flock in his care.

I wish all a fruitful 2023 and beyond.