When I was much younger, the year 2020 was touted as the year everything would be all right!
We were promised several things-they told us hunger would be eradicated. Okay, let’s just assume they meant it would be reduced to the barest as mechanized large-scale farming would have overtaken subsistence farming and agriculture would be our main source of foreign exchange.
There would be 24/7 electricity supply, they said, so small-scale businesses would thrive, and big production lines would also prosper. There would be decent accommodation for at least 70% of Nigerians as housing policies were vigorously pursued with 2020 in mind.
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We were told to expect seamless transportation services on land, water and air. We should expect free education from kindergarten to subsidized tertiary level. Also, we should be sure of good infrastructure; honest politicians…
Though then, it seemed that it would be eons before we finally got here. But hey, we are here in 2020 and it is anything but!
2020 was expected to be such a romantic year that the Nigerian government of the day dubbed every future project under the ‘Vision 2020’ campaign…Of course, with the benefit of hindsight; all of those projects were just a ruse by officials to steal more money! None of the so-called Vision 2020 has been achieved. Not 24/7 power, no better transportation, no decent housing for most Nigerians…
Let’s just stop here. Vision 2020 is blind!
Anyway, late in 2019, as we approached 2020, being the religious people we are; we paid attention to our pastors and imams and prophets both real and fake. We read, we watched, we listened to them predict things about year 2020. In fact, we even listened to the president’s speech, (which was still about belt tightening…But then, the Nigerian government has always tightened the belt for Nigerians. They have been doing so in the last sixty years, so what else is new?)
Looking back now, none of them saw 2020 coming!
At the turn of the clock on December 31st of 2019, as we counted down into 2020; nothing prepared us for what the year was bringing along.
A pandemic like never before!
Yes, we had begun to hear about the Wuhan virus in late December of 2019 and for most of January 2020. However, it felt like something in the distant future. The virus was ‘killing them,’ we thought, but “it won’t get to us.”
So, we waited with bated breaths for year 2020 to unfurl its best to us!
By February 2020, much of the world had begun to fear what changed from ‘Wuhan virus’ to Covid-19 or Coronavirus. As many of the countries worldwide began shutting down their borders; we watched, amused at what some of us thought were extreme measures. Why shut down whole countries? For what? this isn’t some post-apocalyptic movie. This is real life…
We saw the videos, the photos of Europe and America shutting down. We saw empty parks, empty churches, empty public spaces…Also, we read of people scampering across the globe to get home before the shutdown so they could be with their loved ones… Only then did it begin to hit home…This coronavirus thingy is serious!
By March, it had hit. We weren’t immune to it, after all. Fear spread across the nation even though we had some naysayers throwing shade at the idea of the killer virus wiping out the whole earth!
Even then, for many, we figured this lockdown would only be for two weeks max. Never did we think planes and business would stop buzzing…These things only happened in movies, not real life…But it did, in real life in real time, for four months!
Families starved. Many lost their loved ones, businesses crumbled. Education and life as we knew it ceased. Even the government had a perfectly good excuse not to function!
Nigerians never saw hardship slap them black and blue like this before! We began to ask, how come our pastors didn’t see this? How come our government didn’t prepare enough? How come…it showed us how unprepared we were, and not just us but the entire world!
We were barely out of lockdown when #EndSARS began and once again we went on lockdown! We saw life take a turn we had never witnessed before. Destruction of public property on a scale so huge it was frightening! Businesses that had just begun to breathe were forced to hold their breaths once more…We are still witnesses to the aftermath.
With barely two months left of year 2020, we are beginning to see better things; like the upset in the 2020 US Elections. Joe Biden beating Donald Trump out of the White House was an upset many didn’t see coming!
So, here we are, looking eagerly to 2021 and hoping it will be a better year for us all!