IF by December 31 2016 you still have a job, you are able to put food on your table or on your mat, your children are employed, your wife has not run away, your husband has not deserted home; you will have cause to celebrate and thank your stars.
This is not being alarmist or an attempt to rev up your blood pressure; it is the summation of the reality that is bound to confront global humanity in 2016.
Unless miracles happen or mankind puts on its most creative cap and wobble through the maze of the man made calamities resulting from senseless global wars, the dwindling oil prices and the self-induced economic destruction of virtually all countries, the world would be left crying pitifully on its knees throughout 2016.
As at the last count unemployment figure in Nigeria stood at 7 million. That figure represents only a fraction of the multitude that have been out of job or never had a job in the last 7 years.
If people have no jobs, if market men and women are not selling and making profits, where on earth would states rake up the much trumpeted Internally Generated Revenue? Can a dead man praise the Lord? And if taxes are not paid where would states get money to execute their laudable programmes? Even the few employees still left in government are not likely to have their salaries paid as at when due. It is a vicious cycle.
The picture for the rest of the world is not different. Unemployment figures in the whole of Europe had reached nightmarish proportions resulting in the panicky measures that have now left the European Union confused and paralysed. Added to that is the credible threat of global war provoked by the senseless and wrong-headed foreign policies of Europe’s bully master the United States of America .
Europe is now paying heavily for the foolishness and madness of the US in Iraq , Afghanistan , Palestine , Libya and lately Syria . And because the world has become one shrinking global village, the fall-out of stupid and racist policies in the US and Europe are now generating a telling effect on the rest of the world.
Many Nigerians who have lived in Europe for over 20 years or so will most likely be deported this year to swell the large army of the unemployed in this country. Their unprepared-for landing is going to stretch our dilapidated infrastructure to its elastic limit and rubbish our dying extended family structure.
One terrible effect of the deportation of many Nigerians hitherto domiciled abroad is the loss of the huge revenue, close to 21 billion dollars, that used to be remitted home by the new deportees. Their relations and dependants who were living on such proceeds would now be left empty handed while the persons who used to send money home to them are themselves now helpless and forlorn.
The Year 2016 is not to produce any cheering news. Nigerians are not likely to find laughter in their mouths and smiles would be restricted to the few who over the years had been able to take a chunk out of our common patrimony.
Even right now Nigeria is not smiling. And we must be quick to point out that the situation we are in now is beyond blame game. Next week I shall lead argument to justify why Nigeria MUST collapse the 36 states NOW if the country must survive beyond the next three years. That is a subject for another day.
Our concern right now is to warn everybody that 2016 is going to be very rough worldwide. Parents are going to be terribly short-fused. Wives will nag to world’s end and children will become seriously defiant and uncontrollable. This is what happens to any community where poverty is a stubborn unwanted guest.
I do not envy people in public office any where in the world right now. Nigerians especially expect so much from their own public office holders. Unfortunately the public office holders are grossly limited by forces well beyond their control. Social and sociological structure will also expect them to behave like public office holders of the past; public officers who were chewing currency notes stolen from the treasury. Now the treasury is empty and there is no more money to steal and dole out to hangers-on. There is no more money to steal and dash to girl friends to chop in South Africa and Dubai .
Drivers of private and corporate cars are going to be worst hit as many corporate officers are being laid off and there would be no cars to drive. Many individuals who hitherto enjoyed the luxury of keeping personal chauffeurs can no longer fund such fancy. Prostitutes are also going to be hit this year. Most of their patrons will be nowhere to be found because of their empty pockets.
I must warn that it will be wicked and immoral to blame present woes of Nigeria on the governors or the President or the ruling party. Nigeria was already in ruins when President Buhari inherited the dilapidated house mid 2015. The roof was gone, the windows and doors gone, the plumbing and electrical gadgets looted and the entire building wobbling. No magician could fix such a disaster in one year or two years!
One good thing that may come out of 2016 is that most jobs considered below one’s status would be patronised this year. Young ladies and men with high grades in their graduating examinations would be forced to take up menial artisan jobs.
And there should be no shame in doing so. I know of a house wife with a Masters degree who years back took to bean-cake making and hawking after her marriage collapsed and she had four young boys-her children- to feed and clothe. Happily, incredibly, the woman is today a University Professor! Adversity gave her steel. The same was the story of an amazing Grade 2 certificated Igbo lady who at age 29 and with 8 children lost her husband and with dint of hard work got herself a PhD and became a professor in Nigeria before relocating to the UK 22 years ago where she is still a proud Professor! Adversity brought out the best in both ladies.
Bad prospects of 2016 may bring out the best in several individuals who may be lucky to cope with and survive the harshness of the Year being previewed. Year 2016 may surely be the cooking pot, the incubator for success stories to emerge in 2017.
You have dined and wined the past four days. It is now time to face the reality of the ugly side of 2016. And as the immortal Tai Solarin said in 1964 January, may your path this year be rough!
First published January 3rd 2016