It was the last day of the year and expectedly the church was full to the brim. People came from all walks of life to thank the Lord for sparing their lives in the outgoing year and to commit the new year into his hand . It was now exactly midnight and the ecstasy that pervaded the whole place was unbelievable. There was palpable joy in the house. People moved from one end of the church to the other excitedly chorusing the now familiar shout of ‘Happy new Year’ to usher in the New Year. Suddenly, a glimmer of hope began to shine across every face in the auditorium. Suddenly, people began to feel that because it is now a new year all the frustrations, miseries and troubles of the previous year would suddenly disappear. Is that truly the way things happen? Does the coming of a new year automatically indicate that all things would indeed become new? Would the carnage going on in many nations of the world suddenly stop because it is a new year?
One was later to discover that the new wave of excitement and rising hope associated with the dawn of the new year was not peculiar to the people in our church alone. People across the world, as reflected in television images and internet stories, were equally basking in the euphoria of the new year and the hope that things are going to be better. From the aggregate of opinions sampled from people across the world on major cable news stations, the expectation was the same. The new year would be better than the previous one. Though, most of those with this views did not anchor their conviction on any proven scientific platform, they, nevertheless, believe that the new year has something better in stock for them.
From time immemorial, hope has been a vital ingredient of human existence. It has been said that a life without hope is as good as dead. So, when people pass through turbulent situations and circumstances too difficult for them to bear, they are often encouraged not to lose hope. Hence, a man that loses his entire family to a ghastly road accident would be encouraged not to lose hope. Such is the elastic nature of hope. This, of course, explains the general anticipation across the globe that the new year holds better prospects than the new one. It is a natural feeling that does not need to be subjected to any empirical test. New year would naturally bring good tidings. That is the nature of hope. Hope is hope. No more, no less.
However, one is of the view that for hope not to remain nothing but hope, it must be anchored on more solid platforms. For instance, it is generally believed that the world is subjected to the authority of a supreme divine being known as the almighty God. So, many anchor their hope on faith and trust in this supreme divine being. This is good enough, especially if the one anchoring his hope on the supreme being has sufficient capacity to understand the nature and ways of the divine being. Nevertheless, as good as placing one’s hope in the supreme being is, for hope to transcend the stage of expectation and move into the realm of reality, necessity places it on man to play key roles in speeding up the process of divine intervention.
Using our dear nation, Nigeria, as a reference point, the people have hoped against hope for years, believing that things will get better. But contrary to expectations, the reverse has always been the case. Yet, using various available media, Nigerians continue to besiege the Supreme Being with the anticipation that one day, He would intervene in the affairs of the nation by ushering in the much needed prosperity. Unfortunately, this circle would continue without the expected result leading to more heart breaks and dashed hopes. One is not a prophet of doom. The reality, however, is that if man refuses to do that which is within his capacity, the crave for divine intervention would remain nothing but a mirage.
Still with reference to our country, it is no longer news that ours is a nation that is divinely blessed with enormous natural and human resources. While other nations with limited potentials are making concerted efforts to harness their God given resources for the good of all, we have continued to make a mess of ours. We are blessed with so much agricultural resources to resolve the twin issues of hunger and unemployment but what have we done with agriculture? Our founding fathers anchored the economic prosperity of the nation on agriculture. Sadly, however, the discovery of oil in some parts of the country, which ought to have led to the development of the agricultural sector ironically signaled the death of the sector. And what have done with our massive oil resources? Like we did with agriculture, we have messed it up. We couldn’t fix our refineries, till date. We are now on the brink of selling them to private investors same as we did with power.
Nothing has really changed in all sectors but , as usual, we continue to place our hope in a Supreme Being who would come down from his abode in the heavens and suddenly turn things around. Even when our daily lives run contrary of the very principles that the Supreme Being holds dearly, we foolishly hope that he would overlook our excesses, over rule himself and do the miraculous. Well, the truth is that we would continue to live in the realm of delusion and deception until we make bold to collectively change our ways as a people and tow the path of reality. The euphoria surrounding the New Year and all expectations of a change that we are not prepared to work and sacrifice for would at best remain in the realm of hope, if we refuse to change our way.
The guiding principle of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state is that if you continue to make use of same strategy that has overtme led you to nowhere, you should not expect new results. This, of course, is the crux of the matter. For our hope not to be dashed this new year, we need to embrace new ways of doing things. We need to stop cutting corners. We need to stop using lies, deception and hypocrisy as ingredients of nation building. It is only when we collectively embrace sacrificial change that we could boldly hope that the new year would bring good tidings to us all.
By: Tayo Ogunbiyi