Reading through status updates on Whatsapp as well as friends’ posts and comments on social media especially on New Year’s Eve and on New Year day, no doubt, inspired this essay. Indeed, over the years, I usually keep myself busy all through Christmas and New Year festive periods with my phone by reading a plethora of messages on social media. Sincerely, it is a remarkable experience as I’d get to be thrilled with most messages because they’d contain prayers, funny resolutions and prophecies for the New Year. So, in the end, I’d always find myself looking into the New Year with a lot of relish and anticipation.
The Whatsapp status updates and social media interactions of friends within the first few days of the year, 2021 revealed a dearth in New Year prophecies. I also observed that people no longer set New Year resolutions. The only thing I noticed closest to a New Year resolution was the trending Stingy Men Association of Nigeria (SMAN). To be candid, I was dying of laughter whenever I saw different versions to the trend on social media. It was so hilarious that I would “laugh myself to stupor”. While it was all fun and cruise, a few were quick to adopt it as their New Year resolution as they refer to it as a decision and a movement to stop obliging every woman (except a wife, mother, daughter or female relative) with money. To these men, they claim it will help them curb financial wastages especially on “side chicks” and girlfriends. To one member in particular, he said, “it is a resolve to choose wisdom over foolishness”. As interesting as that may seem, there were still a paucity of New Year resolutions from my experience on social media.
On “cross-over” night, I left social media and had my eyes fixated on various channels on television to listen to the king of prophecy, Prophet T. B. Jushua. Guess what? He claimed he went to the mountain where God gave him New Year prophecies which would be released later; because, according to him, he had to study it very well. Pastor E. A. Abeboye in his own New Year message said, “the year will be full of testimonies of God’s goodness and Nigerians will hear sounds from heaven”. In Bishop Oyedekpo’s words, he said, “from 2021, you shall not wander in life again. You shall not know disappointments in 2021”. I curiously waited for Prophet Odumejje’s prophecies to no avail.
In all these scenarios, there seem to be a paradigm shift in the “usual” New Year prophecies and resolutions; in fact, there is an obvious dip in the willingness of people to make New Year resolutions. Even pastors, preachers and prophets are becoming very careful in their prophecies concerning what the New Year brings. This sets the tilt for this essay, as an attempt is made to unravel the situations surrounding the dearth in the usual New Year prophecies and resolutions; hence, the essay title, “What happened to our usual New Year resolutions and prophecies?”
So, in my quest, I engaged some friends. The following dialogue ensued…
“Cheers to a New Year Chizy, this one you’re beaming with smiles on your display picture, you definitely have a lot in stuck already for 2021. I can see it appears you’ve set goals and resolutions for the New Year and can’t wait to hit the ground running, right?”
Chizy responded saying, “my dear, who New Year resolutions help? No doubt you’ve forgotten last year, 2020 was a mad year, right? I can’t kill myself abeg… I need to study this year carefully.”
I exploded into laughter and said, “Babe, you’re always filled with fireworks anytime. You can never be caught on the wrong side at all. Best wishes my dear”.
Then, engaging the next friend, I became a bit intentional…
“Jacy, have you made your New Year resolution as requested by the Ketogenic food group members on Whatsapp? Remember you promised you were going to eat more healthily and punish some body fats to keep your modeling dreams alive”.
However, Jacy chuckled and replied, “No be small thing o… I had finished two wraps of ‘akpu’ when I remembered I even made a resolution yesterday. The temporary closure of the fruit market due to covid-19 safety guidelines lured me into the temptation and I fell for it”.
The next thing I blurted was, “Eiyaa… I really feel your pain”.
And the laughter continued…
I engaged Kizito, my childhood friend at Federal Government College, Ugwolawo (FGCU).
“Paddi, how far… How the New Year go be na? Recall that by this time during our formative years at Ugwolawo, we already had our New Year resolutions figured out to be submitted to our form masters upon resumption. Does such practice ever exist in schools these days?”
No sooner had I finished than he responded, “Oh nostalgia… Nna, the question rather should be, ‘how many students nowadays know what a New Year resolution is all about?’ Meanwhile, Covid-19 pandemic have so disrupted FGCU’s resumption calendar already”.
Then, I said, “good old days are obviously lost; lost with time; lost with the pandemic.”
I also had some time with my cousin. See excerpts…
“Tony, I rang you few minutes after 12 o’clock on New Year day, but you did not respond. Wetin happen?”
“No vex…” he said… “I was at the crossover night in church”.
“How did it go?” I asked…
Tony was really a crazy dude. He replied saying, “Prophet Odumejje was busy shouting up and down. I was expecting strong prophetic New Year message from him. But it’s clear I wasted my time and my sleep yesterday. That was how he was not able to predict the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic last year”.
He finished his response with a hiss.
Well, do not ask me how the rest discussions ended…
To a large extent, something was common from the engagements; year 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic were indicted. The year was so weird, so much so that the mishaps and the disruptions to normal life protocols that came with it, informed why many were not in a hurry to make a New Year resolution this time. They said they couldn’t keep to the resolutions made in 2020. People lost motivation and only just struggled to stay alive to fight the dreaded virus. This may have had a bad tale for the New Year, 2021; hence, the absence of resolutions in to-do lists.
On the part of most pastors and prophets, they were careful with their prophecies for the New Year. This may not be unconnected with the fact that people made mockery of their 2020 prophecies especially their inability to accurately prophesy about the Corona virus pandemic and how it was able to rearrange the world.
In a related development, the looming second wave of the Covid-19 scourge has put people in a panic mood. People have to contend with the unpredictability of year 2021 already. With the future increasingly bleak, there are indications people refuse making resolutions because they might not be able to keep them.
Now, for brands relishing the prospect of jumping on the resolutions and prophetic bandwagons, they should rather simply acknowledge that this period, may not be the ideal time. For such brands, they should be pretty sensitive about their (online) posts as people are dealing with disruptions to life in the wake of a second wave of the corona virus outbreak. Policy formulators in government should also do and think likewise for it won’t be out of place if they first gauge the public feeling, before drafting their policies. This is why Cmoni needs to be commended for the choice of this week’s topics. It shows they were carefully selected.
In a nutshell, whether there are prophecies or resolutions, let us all be filled with the consciousness that what the New Year will bring to us all, to a large extent, will depend on what we all will bring to the New Year. With this in mind, the year 2021 presents every Tom, Dick and Harry, another chance to make things better. Therefore, let no one despair and take their feet off the gas yet; let all and sundry work towards making the year a truly productive and remarkable one. Let us all be positive, yet, be prepared to roll our sleeves up; for indeed, year 2021 promises to be a roller coaster ride.
Compliments of the season and cheers to a happy and prosperous New Year!
Disclaimer: The characters and names in this essay are quite fictional and not real. Any resemblances remain coincidental.
Oluka Emmanuel Chukwuemeka, a graduate of Electronic and Computer Engineering from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University can be reached via email@example.com