By our Reporter
As we enter the enter the New Year, 2023 with renewed hope, so much hangs in the balance in Nigeria.
But then, with prayers, fireworks and loud cheers, Nigerians stepped into the New Year, saying farewell to an economically volatile 2022.
This has been after two previous New Year crossovers under the cloud of COVID-19 restrictions, whereby Nigerians trooped out en masse to places of worship where they spent the first moments of 2023 with loved ones and fellow worshippers.
Obviously, hundreds of others who did not make it to worship centres gathered at recreational centres to usher in the New Year.
And of course, anticipation remains high for 2023 in the country with general elections scheduled to take place in February and March.
In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari shared in the anticipation, in his final presidential New Year message to Nigerians on Saturday.
The president called on the citizenry to forge greater camaraderie among one another in the coming year, promising on his part to fulfill his promise of a free and fair elections.
According to him, “As we welcome the New Year, let us look with hope to 2023, a year to move forward as a Nation towards unity, progress and prosperity. I offer my own personal felicitations, mindful of the various opinions and interpretations of our executive legacies,” he said.
He continued by saying, “I welcome and accept both the accolades and criticisms in equal measure secure in the conviction that I did my best to serve our dear country Nigeria and I pray that the next President will also pick up the baton and continue the race to make Nigeria one of the leading countries of the world by the end of this century.”
Thus, as the rest of the world’s eight billion people celebrate the New Year, Sydney, Australia, was among the first major cities to ring in 2023, restaking its claim as the “New Year’s Eve capital of the world” after two years of lockdowns and coronavirus-muted festivities.
Again, Australia’s borders have reopened and throngs of revellers gathered along Sydney’s sparkling harbour to watch 100,000 pyrotechnics light up the southern sky.
Interestingly, a crowd that had been projected to surpass one million watched as a spectacular 12-minute display showered the waterway and illuminated the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Therefore, “It’s been a fairly good year for us; getting past Covid of course is great,” David Hugh-Paterson, 52, told reporters as he waited in a growing crowd near the Sydney Opera House.