By Olufemi Orunsola
As the world basks once again in the euphoria of a brand new year and indeed, the dawn of a new decade, the question “So, what’s really new?” pops up in a creative mind trained to explore. No doubt, the year 2020, unlike many other years within the last decade of the Gregorian calendar, comes with its peculiarities.
One, it is the first year of the 2020s – the new decade! Two, it bears the doubled digits, with the first two digits matching the second two digits both in figures and in roman figures. That is, 2020 as well as MMXX. As such it ranks amongst the unique digit years such as 1919, 1818, 1717,1616, etc
Three, it is the 20th year of the 21st century. Four, it is a leap year bearing 366 days! Five, it is the 20th year of the 3rd millennium. Against the backdrop of the aforementioned facts, the question that really begs for an answer remains, what is, practically speaking, so new about the year 2020?
Without prejudice to experts in numerology, astrology and clairvoyants who may lay claim to some hidden knowledge of what Tue year 2020 portends for the world, continents and countries of the world as well as individuals, I humbly submit ( and I think I’m entitled to my opinion) that what really makes the new year 2020 new and thick may not be in the numbers thereof after all but in the mindset, attitudes and mentality and response to external stimulus from the psychosocial ecology of our world!
As a matter of fact, many technologies such as the mainstreaming of self-driving cars already announced to take off in the 2020’s, the advent of internet of everywhere, digital assistants and robotics plus virtual reality are some of the new realities we are expected to live with in the 2020’s.
When one therefore juxtaposes the obvious blankness, blindness, relative degree of madness and near madness with which some third world countries that are merely constantly on the dumping ground status for global technologies celebrate the dawn of the new decade without corresponding blueprints for scheming into relevance in the global order, one cannot agree less with Vern McClellan who once said “What the new year brings to you is what you bring to the new year”.
While many unemployed and underemployed youths in Nigeria for instance are busy blasting fireworks and bangers all over the slums and ghettos and suburban areas, both day and nights, in the country now rated as the World poverty capital by the Brooklyn Institute, their counterparts in other parts of the world are busy thinking of new ways to adopt and adapt the internet of things to launch new products, Apps and softwares to provide solutions to problem processes confronting mankind!
While millions of folks in this part of the world are busy scavenging for pockets of prophesies from different mountains, valleys and pulpits, folks in other climes are already mapping out strategies to counter or at least mitigate the devastating effects of climate change and green house effect on human health, the ecology of the world and the environment at large!
We may text, chat, shout, scream and share happy new year messages packaged into different formats all we can (audio, texts, graphics, animations, audiovisuals, etc), but if we do not greet the new year with a corresponding behavioural and attitudinal adjustments, including the new global trend of holding our leaders accountable for the governance system, we will soon find out that we are only socializing around the Gregorian calendar!
The rhetorical word of Alex Morrit captures my thinking more vividly: “New year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours”.
Olufemi Orunsola, a Public Commentator & Social Analyst, is The Chairman, Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN), Ogun State Chapter.