New Year prophecies and promises

Casmir Igbokwe

First published in Sunday Punch, Jan. 3, 2010 

It’s the time of the year again when we make predictions, promises and projections. As has become my tradition every New Year, I will take a cursory look at some of these prophesies and leave you to draw your conclusions.

 First, let’s examine the predictions of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye. In his cross-over night service at the Redeemed Camp on the New Year, Adeboye reportedly urged Nigerians to pray fervently against suspension of the Constitution this year. He also solicited intensive prayers against backward sliding for the country in 2010.

 The RCCG GO urged Christians to pray against outbreak of diseases and natural disasters in the world. Last year, he similarly predicted that floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes would come globally. But only concentrated prayers, he said, would reduce their frequency and intensity.

 On the positive side, however, he enthused that some people would experience miraculous deliverances, unexpected promotions and open doors this year. I’m sure some are claiming these goodies already.

 Last year, the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, also prophesied that the year 2009 would be very fruitful. He had said, “Number nine signifies fruitfulness. A good Bible student would discover that God does a lot with numbers. The number nine is the number of fruitfulness. For example, we have nine gifts and fruits of the spirit. A woman carries pregnancy for nine months; so, that number in the calendar and programme of God speaks of fruitfulness.”

 Fellow Nigerians, we all are witnesses to the lot of the majority of our people last year. Some fell into the traps of kidnappers and armed robbers. Economic meltdown melted the spirit of many who invested in the capital market. Some banks’ phoney buoyancy crumbled. Thousands of workers became jobless as their companies laid them off. Millions of others died of preventable diseases. Hunger and other deprivations took hold of many citizens. About 70 per cent of Nigerians are classified as being poor. Are these the look and feel of fruitfulness?

 Keep your answer to yourself first. To the General Overseer of Inri Evangelical Spiritual Church, Lagos, not all the senators and House of Representatives members would finish their term in 2009. According to Primate Babatunde Ayodele, there would be a coup against the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2009. Five Speakers of state Houses of Assembly, some state governors and three Secretaries to state governments would be removed last year. How many of these things happened?

 Early last year, President Umaru Yar’Adua promised that with the systematic planning process his administration had put in place, “we will forge ahead with our agenda for rapid improvements in critical areas with greater vigour and total dedication…”

 Which critical areas received these rapid improvements in 2009? Health? Education? Roads? Power sector? Even the 6000 megawatts the Federal Government promised to deliver to Nigerians by December 2009 failed woefully.

 This year, the Vice-President, on behalf of the ailing President, has come with more promises. “As we enter the New Year,” he said, “spirited efforts and resources will be mobilised to address the challenge of power supply and ensure higher generation as well as more effective transmission and distribution.”

 He also promised far reaching measures to curb rising youth unemployment, improve infrastructure, reform electoral process, protect lives and property and stem the pain and stress Nigerians suffer at fuel queues.

 Just as the VP was promising to reduce unemployment, more employees of some banks are being relieved of their jobs. Media reports indicated that Finbank sacked about 700 workers on New Year’s Eve. A total of 4,000 workers have reportedly lost their jobs since the Central Bank started reforms in the banking sector. Another report noted that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria planned to lay off over 1,000 workers in the first weeks of 2010.

 As if to put a lie to the promised protection of lives and property, a police corporal, Ismaila Mohammed, allegedly killed a 25-year-old accountancy student of Osun State Polytechnic, Adewunmi Adelowo, on New Year’s Eve. The student was reportedly riding his motorbike to Osogbo to collect a gift from somebody when the policeman allegedly shot him at a checkpoint.

 To be fair to the police, they tried this festive season to maintain law and order. I drove down to the East last Sunday and was impressed by the large number of policemen on the road. This apparently scared away robbers who usually waylay travellers on the road. The only snag was that at each checkpoint, the police asked me to “do New Year for us.”

 Since we are a prayerful nation, one of our prayer points this year should be to have a police force that is well taken care of such that it will protect citizens without asking for anything.

 Other prayer points are as follows:

  • To have an end to all manner of fuel crisis in the country.
  • To end Boko Haram, Bauchi Haram and all other religious harams harassing our lives in Nigeria.
  • To have a free and fair elections in Anambra State in February and in Nigeria generally in 2011.
  • To have a strike-free academic sessions and a crisis-free health system this year.
  • To have improved infrastructure.
  • Above all, to have the wisdom to be able to decipher truth from falsehood, and to take most of the prophecies and promises of the New Year with a pinch of salt.
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