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2023 in the Rear View Mirror

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In 2021, the world’s preoccupation was recovery from the devastating effects that COVID had wrought on the planet. As we rolled into 2022, ready to breathe a sigh of relief, Russia began to huff and puff on Ukraine. Putin could not be persuaded otherwise. The predicted blitzkreig over Ukraine in three days has since run into a ditch, but not before in a combo with the previous year’s interruption in production by the Virus, it had unleashed inflation upon us.

The world reels.

High prices have come to stay.

The issue now is not whether inflation will go away. The question is: what strategies can we come up with to mitigate the effects of inflation, as a country, or as a sub-national?

These are hard nuts to crack, but the world has never been in any shortage of tough, brilliant minds to solve problems arising. One thing we know.

This too, shall pass.

A critical look at 2023 does not appear to reveal any highlights of great strides by humanity towards a better humanity as the worst of our species continue to tend towards acts of infamy and extreme acts of perdition, pure evil compounded by more evil forms of evil.

On October 7th, the world awakened to a dastardly attack on the State of Israel. Sympathies flowed. Nations extended their deepest condolences to the beleaguered nation, a nation in shock and in mourning. Just as in 1973 during Yom Kippur, one of the strongest military nations the world has come to know and respect, let down their guards. They paid a great price. The world held its breath.

What would Israel do?

Israel did not disappoint.

In full glare of the world, Israel has responded with a level of venom in the degradation of Gaza that’s difficult to comprehend.

Sympathies have turned. Victim is now villain.

Will that region ever know peace?

In the United States of America, as more and more revelations emerge of the extent of interference in the certification of the 2020 election, people have begun to question whether democracy is after all, the best form of government. This does not in any way help countries that are struggling to build pillars for themselves based on this great ideal.

A deep examination of forms of government whether it be Monarchy, Theocracy, Dictatorships, or Presidential will reveal one thing:

Good men are needed to make any system work.

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The pillars of democracy held their own in Arizona, in Georgia, in Michigan and elsewhere against the forces of retrogression. Those forces lurk still. The way things stand, if elections were held today in America, those forces would most likely prevail and American democracy could be in peril.

Did I almost forget to mention that the Prince wrote his book: Spare? I read it. Was he right? Was he wrong?

2023 has been a landmark year for Nigeria. We held presidential elections. There was hope in the air for much needed change from 8 years of carnage on several fronts. Nigerians had been buffeted by hardships and death, especially in Northern States. The past 8 years gave us a new expression—the lingo of IDPs, (Internally displaced persons). The consequences have been grave. We have a food crisis on our hands.

The elections were disputed. The Supreme Court has spoken. We have a new President. Only time will tell if he will be able to match rhetoric with action. We pray good health for him to help lift our country from the abyss. One thing remains for him to do with a deep sense of urgency.

Nigeria needs State Police.

The killings on the Plateau on Christmas Day that devastated whole communities and left over 150 women and children dead, makes State Police an imperative—that the dead may not have died in vain.

Revelations from the probe into our apex financial institution have left us in a daze. The people entrusted with our money have gone mad. They have elevated hell to high art, and they, just like others before them, may yet walk free. Corruption continues to win.

There shall be a reckoning. Of that, there is not a doubt.

In my beloved Edo State, hordes of aspirants have come out to run for the office of Governor in 2024. The field gets wider everyday. In February, 2024, the Wheat will be separated from the Chaff. Flag bearers will emerge from all parties after the Primaries, and the battle will begin.

All that the ordinary people of Edo State yearn for is someone who will help reduce the burden of inflation they bear; ensure their children go to schools that have teachers in safe buildings; improve security; make the atmosphere right for businesses to create jobs; and one who is able to build not only physical infrastructure, but also build their mental and emotional infrastructure through affordable healthcare.

In the final analysis as far as Nigeria is concerned, we should all be afraid. The poverty that stalks the land should scare us into action or else, we may, ourselves, become victims.

As 2023 winds down, if you are reading this, be thankful that you are alive. I am.

2023, thank you, but we must say goodbye.

Welcome, 2024. May good tidings come with thee.

Michael Ovienmhada.
Author, Poet, Playwright and Public Affairs Commentator.
omeekey@hotmail.com

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