By Maria Famakinwa
There is no gainsaying the fact that year 2020 was an unusual one, described by many as a year like no other, characterized by events which memory will continue to linger as it affects individuals, corporate organisations, government among others.
Considering the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the challenges it poses to socio-economic development and existence of mankind globally, not to mention the #EndSARS protest with its negative effects on the country, some Nigerians who spoke with The Hope cherished the privilege of surviving the year of mystery as they recalled why they would not forget year 2020 in a hurry.
To Mr Ore Ajiboye, a former banker, year 2020 will go down in history as a year that he lost his job after eight months of marriage. The year according to him was an unusual one that brought pain and disappointment. “I started the year full of hopes and aspirations. I got married February of the same year, and lost my job October. I only pray and look forward to a better year 2021, so that I will be able to perform my role as a man of the house. Though, my wife is showing understanding how long can she shoulder the house responsibility alone especially when her salary as a teacher is not enough to care for the essential needs.? I am planning to start a business this year to augment whatever she is bringing home.
A retired civil servant, Mr Fadairo Lawal, said that year 2020 was a year he lost his farm, his source of livelihood to flood. The man who also revealed that he lost his childhood friend in the course of the year revealed that he never wished for such a year. “Year 2020 is an unusual one full of sad memories. We thank God for seeing us through and never wish for such a year again. My younger brother was also kidnapped last year before God rescued him. I have so many nasty experiences last year but thank God that I am alive to tell my story.”
Sharing a similar sentiment, Mrs Ugochi Ezenwanta, a widow who sells pap to feed her five children lamented that she was yet to come out of the hardship brought on to her as a result of the lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus. She said,”Year 2020 was not good for me and my children at all. I hawked Pap together with my children to feed, but when the lockdown was introduced, it became difficult for me and my children to hawk for our daily sustenance. Even some of our family members who could have helped were not able to reach us due to the lockdown. We only depend on the little foodstuffs coming from the people around which were not enough because they too could not go out as well.
“Year 2020 was a year I faced hunger with little or no help. I never believed that my family could survive the year because most times we went to bed with empty stomachs. Year 2020 was a year many people will always remember with pains. Up till now, I am yet to pay my children’s school fees for last year because of the negative effects of coronavirus on my business. I never heard of the word lock down before or what it entails until last year when it happened. It was as if we were in a state of war. Nobody was sure of anybody. We avoid one another in order not to contact coronavirus. It was a year that brought fear and untold hardship to the whole world. It was a terrible experience for me and my children. I pray to God to make this year better for me and my family and never to have the same experience again.”
Also, a woman who sells clothing materials at Oja-Oba, but simply gave her name as Mummy Favour, in an emotion laden voice revealed that the only thing she could remember the outgone year for was her crumbled business. Her words,” The only thing year 2020 brought to me was debts and regret. I borrow huge money from micro-finance bank with the agreement to be paying certain amount every two-week, but unfortunately for me, it was after I stocked my shop with clothing materials expecting customers to buy for Easter celebration that a total lock down was announced across the country.
“I became worried about how I was going to pay for the money I borrowed because the bank I borrowed the loan from would not listen to any excuse. Meeting the family needs became another issue to contend with, as my husband was busy looking for money to pay for the debt I was owing. When I could not meet up with the payment, I was arrested and spent two weeks in detention before I was released on bail. Family and friends rallied round me and supported me financially to pay part of the money. Up till now, I am still struggling with my business. All I want is to pay up my debts and be at peace. Year 2020 was a year full of challenges for me.”
A self employed mother of three, who simply gave her name as Mrs Olayinka, hinted that year 2020 would forever be remembered as a year she lost her elder brother to the #EndSARS protest which grounded the country to a halt.
Narrating the event that led to her brother’s untimely death she said, “My brother work in Osun State as a police officer. Three days to his cruel murder, I called him and told him to be careful when I heard that #EndSARS protesters were targeting police men. He told me not to bother that he was being careful. My mother too was worried about his safety but he told us that there was no problem. Only for one of his friends to call me three days after that protesters attacked their station with weapons and my brother was injured. It was later in the day that I was told he could not make it. Up till now, I still nurse the wound because he left aged mother and five children. My family still mourn his painful death while the aged mother has been in and out of the hospital since the sad news was broken to her. Year 2020 no doubt was a sad year for me.”
However, a civil servant, Mr Wale Clement, said that though year 2020 was challenging, he enjoyed it because it gave him the opportunity to face his family and business. “I was able to have enough saving from my salary to boost my business. Though, the year will go down in history as most challenging one given the out break of coronavirus and subsequent lock down of the country for months, followed by #EndSARS protest which claimed lives, increasing rate of Kidnappings, robbery, ritual killings, poverty, unemployment and economic recession. All these define the outgone year as a memorable one that will take Nigerians years to forget. Despite what happened, we must show gratitude to God for making us to scale through the year 2020 that we never pray to have a repeat. We are full of positive expectations in the New Year with the hope that it will be a year of compensation to us all.”
A Senior Pastor in Shield of Faith Ministry, Akure, Mr Sunday Akinsayo, described year 2020 as a different year with a unique lesson of God’s supremacy over all. His words, “Though, many may see year 2020 as a year full of pains, that is not to say that there is no lesson learnt. It was a year that proved that what makes up the church or mosque is not the gigantic building erected but the worshippers. That was why religious centres remain closed during the lock down because nobody was going out. It was a year people stayed in doors without being forced. The year revealed the secret of our government to us and made us realise that the best governance we can get is in God. It was a year that shows the supremacy of God over every creature. We believe God that year 2021 will be better and peaceful for us.”