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As we step into 2024, the usual New Year messages, still flying about, are often suffused with loving and prayerful thoughts and goodwill for all kinds of people, friends, acquaintances, relations, compatriots, political leaders, hangers-on, and so on.


The common New Year messages typically sound like, “Wishing You A Happy And Prosperous New Year”, “May You Be Blessed With Abundance Throughout The New Year”, “May It Be The Dawn Of A New Era”, etc.



To the so religious people we unarguably are, any New Year wish that deviates from such wishes must totally be out of place.


However, I would deviate from the norm, like Tai Solarin (1922-1994) did in his famous New Year’s Day Message to Nigerians on 1st January 1964, in an article titled: “MAY YOUR ROAD BE ROUGH.”


Tai Solarin, irrepressible social critic and non-conformist, was one of the Nigeria’s foremost social activists and rightfully described as Africa’s Greatest Educationist and Humanist.


His message in that moment read: as “I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, may you have a hard time this year, may there be plenty of troubles for you this year! If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’. I ask for no more.”


The crux of the said new year message from Tai Solarin can be hinged on the fact that Life is a struggle, and for anyone or any nation to attain greatness, she should be ready to embrace difficulties and challenges, and then make the necessary ‘sacrifices’ to overcome and be victorious in the end.


Like everything in life, things usually get worse before they get better. That is why every developed nation across the globe today, had once, or several times over, experienced ‘real tough times’, over which THEY TOOK THE NECESSARY RISKS, PAID THE NECESSARY PRICE, BEFORE THEY GOT TO WHERE THEY ARE PRESENTLY.


Hence, Tai Solarin had to say lovingly to his compatriots: “May your road be rough!”


That New Year wish was informed by a number of factors Tai Solarin noted in his message: “Our successes are conditioned by the amount of risk we are ready to take… The big fish is never caught in shallow waters. You have to go into the open deep sea for it.


“The biggest business people make decisions with lighting speed and carry them out with equal celerity. They do not dare delay or dilly-dally. Time would pass them by if they did. The biggest successes are preceded by the greatest of heart-burnings…


“You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs, throughout the world, there is no paean without pain… Life, if it is going to be abundant, must have plenty of hills and valleys. It must have plenty of sunshine and rough weather. It must be rich in obfuscation and perspicacity.


“It must be packed with days of danger and apprehension… Life would be worthless without so much. We do not achieve much in this country because we are all so scared of taking risks. We all want the smooth and well-paved roads. While the reason the Americans, British, French, Germans, Chinese, Japanese and others succeeded so well is that they took such great risks.”


As rightly noted in a famous quote by Confucius (a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher, 550-478 BC): “Study the past if you would divine the future.”


It is based on this premise that one cannot just throttle into the future which starts today, without first seeking to understand the things that led or contributed to one’s present status. And it is only when one looks back that one will be better informed and guided to make the right and best choices concerning one’s today and tomorrow, especially as we step into 2024.


The crux of the matter is that tough times are meant to bring out the best in us and not for us, as a people to be crying like there is no hope or pushing blames. Nigerians, across all walks of life – need to walk the talk for there to be sustainable growth and development for all and sundry.


The “politics of bitterness” and “greed for political power no matter the damage/harm it will cause to others” – has to all stop! All those who kill (through any means), blackmail, cheat and commit all kinds of atrocities just to grab political power, especially in general elections, should be reminded that “political power is transient and temporary”. No politician can rule a State or the entire country more than eight years in Nigeria. So, why all the fuss and ‘do-or-die’ disposition during elections?


Nigerians of all walks of life, particularly those in power, should have a change of attitude and heart in the way they do things, for the interest of ‘common Nigerians’.


The Dubai that all of us admire today, was once a desert land. But it was built and transformed by leaders of the United Arab Emirate (UAE), and not Spirits. So, Nigerian politicians, must not just be interested in grabbing political power without the mind to ‘work hard’ and make the necessary ‘sacrifices’ in the interests of all.


With the Dubai example, there is no longer any excuse whatsoever not to perform. Sadly, it is the same Dubai that Nigerian politicians now export their internal political meetings to. Why can’t they build Nigerian cities and towns like Dubai and Kuwait cities/towns?


All that use of US Dollars to buy delegates at party primaries to grab political power by all means, has to stop! That certainly is not the way other countries in Europe/America got developed!


So, as much as we believe there might be tougher times ahead, we are also optimistic and hopeful that things would surely get better and Nigerians will be better off at the end, if, and only if Nigerians would realize that the power to decide the bright future that we so desire, lie in our own hands.



We Mobilize Others To Fight For Individual Causes As If Those Were Our Causes!

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