There was additional delight and euphoria in the land up to the midnight of November 30, which ushered in the first day of December, 2020. One would have mistaken it for the proper New Year celebration. Some free thinkers simply believed that people had finally crossed the roller-coaster Year 2020 into the much-expected year 2021. So many individuals were awake, including yours truly, to bid
November farewell and welcome the brand-new month of the battle-field year. On the dot of midnight, social media platforms were agog with “Happy New Month” posts as friends and relations felicitated with one another. Millions of Christian worshippers were in prayerful mood while supplicating for better days ahead in the four remaining weeks of the disturbing year that is finally running out. One of such posts said: “God we have been in the wilderness since March, may December take us to the Promised Land in Jesus name.” The comment section was filled with 364 affirmations of ‘Amen’, indicating that almost all her followers and friends in the same spirit. Another declared: “December is here and we are alive, take all the glory, Oh Lord. May joy fill our lives and home now and always in Jesus name. Happy New month.”
It has been tough, yet we move on. To think that numerous souls who witnessed the beginning of the year did not live to see the last month of the same year is a story for another day. But for those who saw and conquered, it calls for jubilation.
The year started normally like every other year, but while approaching the end of the second month of February, there was a twist: the COVID-19 which broke out in Wuhan, China, soon spread across the world, turning a pandemic and urgently got to Nigeria. Millions have died across the world since the disease began. Psalm 91 has become the most quoted scripture by Christian believers. The lockdown that came with the pandemic affected almost all businesses and trade in goods and services, thereby inflicting hardship on the people. To some extent, there were advantages and disadvantages that came with the pandemic. The greatest lesson of the moment was that men and women began to seek the face of God for intervention in all areas of their lives. A lot of factual realization set in immediately and all humans became equal. There was a sharp U-turn in the attitudes of many. Dignity was restored, close affinity were formed. It brought people some sanity and morals; it became clear that God heals and not medical doctors. The world powers were interested in coming to live in Africa, especially Nigeria that was once described as a ‘shit-hole country’ by American President, Donald Trump. The situation touched human beings to worship God rather than progress and technology.
Interestingly, for the first time, people also were confined to live simply in their homes as family relationships were nurtured. Businesses, offices, markets, malls, night clubs, brothels, casinos were all shut down to cushion the COVID-19 spread. All activities and events where people gather to relieve pains were stopped and life became very boring. Marriages, burials, launching of all sorts, religious activities, interesting football matches, various competitions, all came to a halt and it was not funny. The situation as recorded by various countries moved government expenditure to health care for once. A situation that made the Arabs ban shisha, kept Americans under pressure, United Kingdom speechless and Africans doing about-turn against smoking.
It was not for nothing that as Nigeria was gradually and skeptically coming out of the recession caused by the pandemic with carefully managed resumption of schools, reopening of markets, businesses and offices, there was a mild drama when President Muhammadu Buhari in a tweet wished President Trump a quick and speedy recovery. A young Nigerian musician replied to that tweet and asked Buhari to leave Trump alone and face his country where men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were killing young Nigerians on a daily basis. That simple tweet connected hot-blooded youths who became more agitated, empowered with the aid of the social media, which led to October 7 being chosen as a day for peaceful protest against the atrocities of SARS. The young generation in all sincerity trooped out to the major streets and cities in most parts of the country and began a peaceful complaint known as #EndSARS. The initiators of the protests were demanding a stop to anti-police brutality among young Nigerians. It was peaceful until genocide allegedly took place at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020. It became so painful that young lives were lost and all hell was let loose, especially in Lagos State where hoodlums hijacked the protest to commit heinous crimes. There was massive destruction and arson that affected both public and private property.
Nigerians were shocked to learn that COVID-19 palliatives meant for the people were hoarded in multiple warehouses across the country. Hungry Nigerians descended on the locations and looted the stockpiled palliatives. Even the homes of politicians, who held back items acquired for distribution under the constituency projects initiative of the National Assembly, were besieged and looted. It was bad and challenging so that personal belongings were carted away either out of anger or hunger.
In this year, so far, Nigeria has lost several notable personalities. One remembers with nostalgia the former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Senator Kashamu Buruji, Pastor (Mrs) Ibidunni Itua-Ighodalo, CEO of Elizabeth R’, and event management expert, co-pastor at Trinity House, who repurposed her giantic event tents into emergency hospital wards to serve as isolation centres for COVID-19 patients. She died in Port Harcourt from suspected heart attack. Business mogul and politician, Harry Akande, former chairman of defunct Sosoliso Airlines, Chief Victor Ikwemesi, Mrs. Amaka Ndoma-Egba, Jewel Princess Ukachukwu; the list is endless, men and women, young and old. Against this backdrop, one sees the reasons for the jubilation that rent the Internet as the last month of the year was ushered in.
Through the generations, December, the month of the Yuletide has brought verve, gaiety and excitement. The most wonderful season of the year in every sense. It comes with its weather, dust haze, but it has a commanding authority to foster love in the month. December comes with a lot of reunions, parties and celebrations. Its greatest advantage is the ability to roll through to the New Year. Beautiful as it is, it attracts a lot of new events, like shopping and giving. Little wonder, people who survived the challenges of the preceding 11 months of the year are in high hopes and grateful to God for the privilege to be alive and healthy. It is a season of plenty, exchange of gifts, decorations, beautiful rendition of music, shopping, nicely prepared meals. Beautiful pink and white roses will soon appear to welcome Christmas just before the end of the month. What a challenging year it has been!
December 2020 is the beautiful bride that has come to quench the thirst of her throat-dried husband. As a new bride kisses and caresses her husband, provide him with the best food in the land, care for his protection, nurture and smile at him, that is exactly what December has come to do for us in Nigeria. We all have gone through emotional, environmental and financial brouhaha this year, but December is here to comfort us all; that is why God created the season.
Dear Nigerians, revel in the season of comfort! Welcome December, the beautiful bride that will be for us like the Balm of Gilead.