“It is not predictions but plans that make the future. If you want predictions, it is because you do not have the ability to make a plan and fulfil it.” –Jaggi Vasudev
As you read this piece, we are already six days into AD 2022 and seven days of dumping 2021 into the scrap heap of history…never to be seen again. Always associated with new years, especially when one is still fresh and young are resolutions and predictions. Individuals, groups, communities, and nations make resolutions for new living and fulfilment in the new year. Often these resolutions are usually not kept or maintained but they still point to areas where people desire changes in their ways, even if not realisable. For instance, heavy smokers and drinkers resolve every new year to dump the habits for a new living but end up getting worse in the year.
It’s also this period that men and women who claim to have the gift of seeing tomorrow make predictions after peering into the crystal ball. In Nigeria over the years, soothsaying, like pastoring, has been so commonplace, bastardised, corrupted, and debased with the populace scarcely showing interest. Predictions in these shores now go for dime a dozen.
All the soothsayers in Nigeria have made themselves experts only on political matters and rarely are they looking at other areas because they are almost always selfserving and their predictions lack spiritual or scientific authority. Already the social and mainstream media are awash with political predictions, all claiming that God told them what they say. But the God we know as omnipresent and omnipotent is all-knowing and doesn’t deal in inaccuracies. If a prediction is inaccurate, it presupposes the message is not from God. In this clime, soothsaying has become a huge business in our corrupt political environment and, as expected, its value has plummeted.
This year is going to be a milestone in our nation politically. It’s practically the eve of 2023 and stands strategically, being the year, by the rules and regulation of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the potential leaders of the next governments at both the centre and some states will be picked by the various political parties. The presidential candidates and their running mates, some governors, and the would-be MPs will all be picked this year. It’s from this list that the President, Vice President, some governors, and wouldbe legislators will emerge.
This year is therefore even more strategic than the election year itself because the damage to or repair of our polity will be determined by what we do or do not do and how we do it this year. If, for instance, the process of bringing in these leaders out from their political parties is clear, credible, and transparent, it naturally follows that the main election will be almost hitch-free. The clairvoyants who are busy predicting who and who will be what should start at this process and be accurate for proper guidance of their followers. Instead, what the gullible get is a poor and inaccurate analysis of political happenings based on media news and they tag them as divine messages.
“God revealed to me” is a com-mon claim from most of them to place some unmerited divinity on their fake visions. As an ardent follower of Nigerian politics for decades, both in the newsroom and In the field as a technical aide (not to be confused with a politician or political practitioner), my prediction of political developments often come up better than the so-called soothsayers.
It, therefore, does not require any extraordinary vision to say accurately that the emergence of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2015 for purposes of grabbing power elevated the nation’s political evolution. It led to the emergence of two strong political parties which in turn strengthened our democracy for healthy competition. The activities of these two political parties this year 2022 will go far in determining their future and continued existence.
If APC fails after President Muhammadu Buhari to retain power in 2023, it will exit the stage the way it came. Its foundation is laid on political quicksand and cannot endure without being in power. Even while in power it has only managed a very fragile existence.
Therefore, its survival will depend on how it conducts its affairs this year. How it wriggles out of its persisting internal squabbles, come out of its National Convention this February and pick ticket holders for the party later this year and go into an election in 2023 intact, will require a miracle. Ditto the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Although it had a good foundation as a political party it lost it due to arrogance and corruption. This year is significant for it. It either gets it right and returns to power or begins its journey to oblivion.
How it handles the challenge before it this year will be critical to its future. From where its Presidential flag bearer will emerge and who it would be, is going to go a long way in determining its existence. The hurdle for success for the party in 2023 which was going well largely because of the poor performance record of the ruling APC, was further raised last year when some ambitious PDP governors needlessly interrupted the smooth running of the party using the courts. Although the Rivers State High Court Judge, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, who created the avoidable problem has been sanctioned by the Judicial Council, the ripple effect of it remains as the party is now at the mercy of the Supreme Court this year. However, the Supreme Court rules, the disharmony created by the Degema High Court will in no doubt affect the party’s performance.
This is because the process of picking the flag bearer for 2023 is not going to be as smooth and transparent as it was in 2018, keeping the party intact until 2021. The realistic political predictions which the so-called soothsayers are not seeing is that the activities of the two main political parties, APC and PDP, in 2022 will lead to the demise of one of them. What that presupposes is that political activities this year are going to be rough and turbulent because the gladiators are going to be desperate and defiant.
Besides the two main political parties whose future is tied to their activities this year, the country at large also has a significant stake in what happens in 2022. The political turbulence could abate or worsen by the political activities of this year. If, for instance, the presidential ticket of the two main political parties is denied to the South East, the restiveness in the zone will aggravate.
The best way to assuage political nerves this year is for APC and PDP to pick their flag bearers from the South East. If this happens, It would be anchored on justice and fair play and will go a long way to soothe frayed nerves. The North will understand this as necessary because its dominance over time has not come with commensurate benefits to the north and has not engendered peace in the land. Ditto the South West and the South-South who also desire a sense of belonging to keep ñigerua as one nation of one destiny.
If the two political parties decide to go their different ways in desperation to grab power even at the expense of unity and concord, the country certainly will be polarised and the much-needed peace will remain a mirage. And when this happens all negatives including insecurity will be activated and the doomsday prophets will arise with their fearful predictions. However, we need not be disturbed or fascinated by these bleak future predictors because even their future is cold and often miserable.
The point, therefore, is that individuals and nations should not rely on predictions because they are unproductive, unscientific, and unreliable. Rather, attention should be on planning and fulfilling plans as advised by Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev. And above all let us be guided by the views of a British writer and lay theologian Clive Staples Lewis: “You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.” May God help us. Happy New Year.