Long and Short Year
When the lion himself, Indaboski, called 2020 the year of lefasefare, nobody knew what he actually meant, but that has been the summary of 2020; confusing. It was a long and challenging year, a year of so many happenings yet so little happening. Everybody agrees that it was a long year but somehow still short as we moved through January, February, March, Covid, and December. As we enter into the new year, we take you through the previous year and try our best to summarize an eventful journey.
Story of Fire and Ice
The US killed Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, on the 3rd of January, and Iran was ready to retaliate in what people expected to be a full-blown crisis. That was the start of the year we got. Nations had begun to take sides, and we even heard there was an anti-US protest in Nigeria – abeg na dem. In retaliation, the US base was attacked, and unfortunately, a Ukrainian commercial flight was mistakenly gunned down, killing 176 people on board. While the tensions slightly doused, this was only the first week in January. What soon followed was a full-scale outbreak of COVID-19 in China, shutting down one of the largest economies and causing a drastic drop in oil prices. We lost the Mamba, and Australia was engulfed in its largest wildfire in over a decade, and this was just January.
Winter is Coming
On the 27th of February, Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case, which began our induction into the pandemic world. By this time, the rest of the world had recorded thousands of cases and deaths, and by estimations, it was going to be a blood bath. It wasn’t just COVID, our economy had barely bounced back in 2019, and here we were, government revenue cut by more than 60% and a pandemic brewing in a country of over 200 million people with little or no healthcare infrastructure. Baba and Uncle Jide swung into action, and by March, all borders were shut, and a mandatory lockdown was put into effect in parts of Nigeria. We started to watch our cases grow from 10 per day to 900 per day, food prices soared, and businesses got affected. The most painful were the lives we lost, friends and family, due to this pandemic.
It was a long two months of Tiktok challenges, #bopdaddy, #tissuechallenge, #dontrush, among others. The world basically shut down because winter had indeed come.
Out of The Ashes
Weighing the economic costs and the impact on lives, the Nigerian government strategically eased the lockdown while applying safety measures. They also received loans and grants to tackle the health and economic crisis. The effects were grave as we entered another recession by the end of June. Slowly, economies began to ease out of lockdown – football was returning, restaurants re-opened, Iya Oyinade was back in business – and that brought me joy. But the pandemic had and is still costing us. We heard that the world lost over 3 million people directly and indirectly to COVID alone this year and over $1 trillion, God no go shame us.
The economic downturns have affected everyone, including our exchange rate, which soared from about #308/$1 to #390/$1. Inflation soared to 14.23% as food prices doubled and security situations deteriorated. Still, the good news is that everybody got married as well; I mean it, if you are single, you are probably among the five single people in Nigeria.
Around the world, people began to ask the question of why and why not. From the #BlackLivesMatter protests in the US to Hong Kong, Nigeria, Thailand, India, South Korea, Algeria, Chile, Columbia, Lebanon, people began to demand better conditions as citizens are increasingly becoming aware of their power as the people. The tech world, ever standing gidigba despite the challenges still received the money. In spite of the odds, your bank still blessed you with OneBank, the sweetest app known to man. By the way, we also heard that the palliatives were looted and Daddy Femi Falana was so upset by the government’s actions.
If we actually were to talk about all that happened this year, there will be no space left. 2020 dished out a lot of things, which includes the death of prominent sportspeople and leaders, globally and locally: Kobe Bryant, Abba Kyari, Chadwick Boseman, Abiola Ajimobi, Adebayo Osinowo, Ibidunni Ighodalo, Mara Dan Foster, and millions more who we may never know their names. From the Beirut explosion to the Jere massacre to the coups and government changes, the year taught us to appreciate lives and those around us. For every plan that failed, we take solace in the ones that worked; for every disappointment and loss, we rejoice at the chance to go again. This year feels like 5 years packed in 1, but we must keep on keeping on, with our chin up, heads high, and with our full chest (almost forgot we had Big Brother this year sef).
The good news is that it looks like the worst is behind us, and as creatures of hope, we look forward to a better time!
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