“Happy New Year!”
If at 00:01am on January the First, someone had told me it would be three weeks before I get a chance to scribble my first article for the year, I would have said, “all things have become new”. But here I am, finally typing these words after a combination of several factors, ably captained by workplace orders, conspired to keep me on the defensive from the zero hour. So, let me start by saying welcome to a defining year for everyone.
2022 was a great year for my family and me. Several goals were ticked off as either completed or in progress, but some others like learning Power BI or watching one movie per week with my wife remained unachieved as if to buttress the “man proposes, God disposes” philosophy. But as I try to pass the buck for unachieved goals to the divine, I remember my grievance at public officials blaming others for their failures, and quietly withdraw my accusation.
Do you recall the title of this article? Yes, 2023 is not going to be the easy year that most of us would wish it to be. We start with Nigeria where 2023 would mark a paradigm shift regardless of who wins the presidential elections. After a series of poor voter turnouts, 2023 will indicate if more Nigerians are now truly ready to be involved in selecting who influences whether there are long queues for petrol or whether the cheapest used car that they can buy is a 15-year-old model. 2023 will also be a year of reckoning for inefficient petrol and electricity subsidies. With the country borrowing to subsidise unauditable volumes, would push finally come to shove? Will Nigerians be inspired to swallow bitter pills after seeing luminous hope at the end of the tunnel?
At the global stage, the signs of an economic meltdown already appeared in 2022. After years of unrestrained cash manifestation by several governments, “free” money is becoming harder to get. Energy prices are rising around the world, with record inflation rates such that even the Japanese can finally be free to insert inflation in their normal conversations. Employees of some of the most wanted technology brands have begun this year being rudely told that their data will no longer appear in payroll spreadsheets. While we worry about these events, the Russo-Ukrainian War appears to be in a stalemate with many hoping Russia does not win, yet fearful of what might happen if Ukraine were to win.
On the other side of the planet, the Chinese and their estranged siblings in Taiwan continue to hold their blinking contest, while having one eye on the Americans. As we contemplate the possibility of a World War devastating the global economy, key proponents of the climate change agenda are beginning to come to terms with the supremacy of energy security as hitherto maligned “dirty” fuels suddenly get a good paint job in line with national interests.
Coming back to Africa, 2023 presents sit-tight messiahs with righteous disgust at the audacity of a New Zealander to willingly let go of power having barely spent the equivalent of a primary school education in office. This is also a year that many will wonder if the best Africa can present is amplified presidential farts and urine cooling technology. But beyond the veiled digs, 2023 beams the lights on Nigeria. The 2023 elections are a battle for the soul of this country. With about 20% of the black population, Nigeria needs to get it right to provide the leadership that Africa desperately needs.
For me, 2023 is a year to continue growing. While I have set some goals for the year, I have reserved the right to not kill myself trying to achieve goals. Interestingly, thanks to the news of job cuts across Microsoft and others, I am beginning the year thinking, “What’s in a job?” Should I continue striving to be the best I can be, which effectively means putting in extra hours consistently, or should I say, “Screw the establishment”, and do the barest minimum at work? Is there an optimal solution somewhere between these two poles? When this year ends, I hope to have prioritised God, family, and work, in that order. That for me will be an acceptable order of precedence.
2023 may not be easy, but we will thrive in it. Happy New Year!
Image Credit: forbes.com