The New Year soothsayers

Casmir Igbokwe

Published on Sunday 06 Jan. 2008

Prior to the return of civilian rule in 1999, Rev. Chinecherem Oliwe was sure to be the next civilian President of Nigeria. The man called himself the founder of the Great Mustard Seed Church in Oyigbo, Rivers State. And he had claimed that God spoke to him and assured him that he was the only person ordained to redeem the country. He called some reporters in Port Harcourt and revealed this divine vision. Some newspapers published it. Not even the emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the President in 1999 could shake Oliwe’s faith. Obasanjo, he noted, was a military man in a civilian dress. In other words, his regime was still an extension of military rule. Heaven and earth might pass away, but God’s words about Nigeria’s presidency, Oliwe believed, would never pass away. He was able to convince some people who clapped for him and addressed him as Mr President.

Nigeria is never short of seers like Oliwe. On 25 December 2007, the Nigerian Tribune came out with a front page headline entitled “New Year predictions: Mark, Bankole may be impeached.” According to the story, the Senate President, David Mark, may be impeached in the New Year. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, may face serious opposition as some lawmakers may move to impeach him. He may survive the plot by divine intervention.

The predictions, as pronounced by the founder of Inri Evangelical Spiritual Church, Isolo, Lagos, Primate Babatunde Elijah, also have it that a frontline pastor of a fast-growing Pentecostal church, two rep members, traditional rulers and an Islamic scholar might die. Many senators and governors, he added, would be removed. The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, would be sacked.

The primate emphasised, “The Lord of hosts also revealed to me that more governors are going to be removed in 2008 either through impeachment proceedings in their respective state houses of assembly or through the state election petition tribunals.” He also urged Nigerians to pray hard against more collapsed buildings, bloodshed, inter-religious and ethnic crises as well as a foreign invasion. He said Nigeria might be invaded through her borders with Cameroon and Niger.

It has become customary that the dawn of every New Year comes with new predictions. Prophets and evangelists are not the only ones forecasting the future. Astrologers, mystics, psychics and sundry spiritualists also join the fray. Astrologers regarded 2007 as the year of the golden pig. It’s a year Chinese soothsayers predicted a boom in childbirth. 2008 is seen as the year of the Earth Rat. Chinese horoscope comprises 12 animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each of the animals comes with its own luck and blessings. Chinese believe that three great blessings that define the destiny of man are luck, prosperity and longevity. An astrologer who has your birth data can read and predict what is in store for you in terms of health, wealth, love and career for the New Year. He can tell you how your element and animal signs impact your fate. This has to do with the age-long belief of the Chinese that certain parameters of ones luck and fate were set at the moment of ones birth.

Psychics have a way of making their own predictions as well. In December 2005, the California website made some predictions for 2006. Part of the forecast was that Bin Laden was fated to be captured. One psychic reportedly said the war in Iraq would end in the middle of 2006. Many of the predictions went off the mark. In a piece on the National Ledger website, Mike Bates described the California Psychics predictions as pretty typical. As he put it, “You can bet the ranch, though, that everything that didn’t come to pass will be overlooked while the few instances of accuracy will be touted as astonishing and irrefutable proof of psychic efficacy.”

For making intelligent guesses, some Nigerians have also risen to fame and fortune. And since ours is a deeply religious cum spiritual country, we believe anything purported to be divine. If the predictions did not come through, it must be that God intervened to stop the calamity that was predicted. God loves Nigeria especially as Obasanjo reportedly said recently. If the visions come through, voila! The soothsayer is a wonderful man of God.

One pastor told us shortly after Obasanjo’s inauguration in 1999 that he was not the messiah Nigeria was waiting for. He said he did not see any crown on Obasanjo’s head. The former President not only ruled for eight years, he almost got a third term in addition. That same man of God has reportedly told us that Yar’Adua was the President divinely chosen for Nigeria.

Recall that a certain prophet came on a television in Lagos to announce that Nigeria would be in the last FIFA World Cup in Germany. Despite the fact that the country did not qualify for the tournament, the man was sure and emphatic about his vision. Since Nigeria failed to feature as predicted, it will be good if this prophet or any of his followers could tell us what happened. He may wish to also tell us who will win the 2008 African Cup of Nations.

I see in all these predictions some comic relief for the stress called life in Nigeria. Now that we have entered the New Year, I also wish to predict as follows:

·        Former President Obasanjo may marry another wife in the New Year. Although he loved his wife Stella of blessed memory dearly, it is over two years now the woman died. The urge to have another life companion is strong.

·        Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State should watch his relationship with the lawmakers in his state. The plot to impeach him will thicken in the New Year. He can only survive this by divine intervention.

·        There is likely to be another pipeline explosion in the New Year. This will occur in a popular state with large oil deposits and will consume many lives and property. Many women will lose their children.

·        The electric power situation in the country may not improve in the New Year. The government will try to do all in its power to improve the situation, but a powerful cabal in the system will frustrate the efforts.

·        Many Nigerian children will die of malaria, cholera and diarrhoea. Nigerians should also pray hard so that God will reduce the number of deaths that will result from motor accidents.

·        President Yar’Adua should pray hard against any radical ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal. There are forces in the People’s Democratic Party who do not want him to remain in office. These forces may collude with the opposition elements to ease him out of office.


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