2020: Annus Horribilis, Horrible Year – 2

This article was first published on July 1, 2020, as we entered the second half of the year in which Coronavirus led several horrible occurrences to descend on the world.

On 1st July, we were mostly talking of the devastation of COVID-19.

However, from what has transpired since July, it seemed the bad and ugly had not fully reared their heads as at that day, judging from what occurred later and till date.

Since July, some other demons have assailed our country and in some cases, the whole world, to further pour more gloom and make this horrible year, one which everyone would be hoping would end as quickly as possible.

Added to COVID-19:

  1. There has been the unexpected tension generated from the US elections and Donald Trump’s shenanigans that threatened the very meaning of democracy.
  2. The killing of George Floyd and the resultant Black Lives Matter protests in the US and other countries.
  3. The #ENDSARS protests in Nigeria, the follow-up mayhem that followed and the reaction of government and its agents.
  4. Nigeria slipping into a major recession after its GDP contracted for the second consecutive quarter.
  5. #BringBackOurBoys – the recent armed bandits invasion of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State where hundreds of students were abducted.
  6. Another group, this time 80 female students of an Islamic school (Islamiyya), were ambushed and abducted by armed men last Saturday in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State but they were rescued quickly.
  7. Increased banditry, terrorism and kidnappings in Nigeria, including of traditional rulers, top civil servants, businessmen and travelers.
  8. The uncertainty of the Nigerian State as a united nation.
  9. And of course, the fact that COVID-19 is still very much with us, with a second wave in most parts of the world, including Nigeria, where another lockdown is not unlikely, with some states like Lagos already re-imposing restrictions.

Many of us have lost friends and loved ones this year; it is not just the usual superstition of 2020 being a leap year where more deaths are expected (not sure where that came from) but, whether you believe it or not, COVID-19 has brought more deaths to Nigeria and the whole world than any other disease or cause.

Hence, 2020 has really been a horrible year, as captured by us on 1st July, thus:


2020: Annus Horribilis, Horrible Year!

July 1, 2020 – by Epa Ogie Eboigbe

As we officially get to half of this year, it looks like the scorecard for the whole year has been filled out, except you are of course living somewhere else, but planet earth.

But let me arouse your memory.

On 24th November 1992, in a speech to mark the 40th anniversary of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II of England referred to 1992 as an “Annus Horribilis.”

She was quoted as saying: “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”


To her then, 1992 was horrible simply because it was a year that three royal marriages collapsed, a fire destroyed hundreds of rooms in Windsor Castle and there was a scandal involving Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

Annus horribilis is a Latin phrase, which means “horrible year”. It is complementary to “annus mirabilis” which means “wonderful year”.

If the queen called 1992 a horrible year, I wonder what she would be saying now, with only half of 2020 gone.

In a regular year, there will be good, bad and ugly news and activities at every level – individual, family and community, local, state and federal government and of course internationally.

I am sure that if a friend had on 1st of January 2020 wished us “Annus Horribilis everyone”, we will not talk to him the whole year. Even though in a regular year it seems as if there is tragic news every single day, there is always hope that tomorrow will be better, the uncertainties notwithstanding.

Wars are always being fought; threats are issued; governments change peacefully or violently; economic recession comes and goes – but because there is always hope for the future, we carry on.

In January, several bad news were always filling the space. But where are they today? Syrian war; BREXIT; economic recession; plane crashes; oil prices spiraling down; Boko Haram; international and local terrorism; famine; Somalian pirates; South African xenophobia; herdsmen in Nigeria; Iran and nuclear armament; Ukraine and Russia at war; North Korea and missile launching; Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un; Israel and Hezbollah; Colombian drug wars; US-Mexican Wall; Global warming; Black Lives Matter protests; the ‘war’ between Arsenal and Chelsea fans; all these bad news have bowed their heads. Yes, the issues are still there but they are only occupying the back burners.

In spite of all the regular bad news throughout every year, we are all usually confident to sing the popular Christmas song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” by Andy Williams when the time comes.

Can we sing this song this year? Will Christmas 2020 be the most wonderful time of the year?

What can make 2020 a wonderful year after all we have been through in the last six months? Of course, discovery of vaccine, treatment and permanent cure for COVID-19! This is the prayer on everyone’s lips.

In a year in which the media – radio and TV stations, newspapers and online platforms – have dedicated their space and programmes to live offerings and coverage for COVID-19, there is no let up to the continuous scary information being churned out by the minute.

2020 will go down in history as the real “Annus Horribilis”; but we can live out the remainder of the year with great expectations and by following the protocol of staying safe, hoping for redemption and being positive.

Who knows – it may turn out to be a wonderful year before the end of 2020.

Anyway, Annus Mirabilis everyone!

1st July 2020


What do you think? You can’t wish 2020 away fast enough?

Well, here is wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy, prosperous 2021.

2020: Annus Horribilis, Horrible Year!

IMAGE CREDIT: PodParadise, Biography.com


Epa Ogie Eboigbe, veteran journalist, broadcaster and public affairs specialist writes on, and analyses current and historical issues with a ‘wise pen’.


3 Comments on “2020: Annus Horribilis, Horrible Year – 2”

  1. You are absolutely correct. 2020 is a year we will not forget quickly, though we will love to forget it in a hurry. It is indeed Annual Horribilis.

    I spite of all that have happened during the year, the living should celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I wish you and your readers Merry Christmas.

  2. Year 2020 is horrible year which I lost many of my Loves one and my business partner late Wale Kehinde to Covid -19 Thursday 27th August 2020 .The most trouble year in my life time, business were paralyzed in social distance on face masks, lockdown,EndSARS,kidnapping,explosion of pipelines vandalized,14days Isolation, Closure of Nigeria borders, Tanker explosions across south west area with high rate dollar exchange to Naira globalization.
    Nigeria in total collapse in economy.
    I hope and pray 2021 will be a fruitful year for Nigerians for quick recovery for our Nationwide in businesses high cost of food item’s.
    God bless Nigeria and Nigerian’s

  3. Hmmmmm, indeed Annus horribilis, as sad as it sounds, it may interest you to know that this same year may have been the best for some people, who by chance, benefitted in one way or the other. Hand sanitizer manufactures,PPE manufacturers, drug companies, government contractors and hoarders of palliatives,including corrupt officials both from the government and private sectors who have taken advantage of the ,to enrich themselves. While in sane climes some medical advancement was achieved, in our country, government failed to provide the basics ie water for hand washing ,transparent distribution of Covid palliatives. Things as sensitive as food became politicised, total negligence of health workers and the environment was observed.
    However, as Christians, were asked to be ‘Thankful ‘in all things ‘ that’s the hope and assurance we have for those who believe.
    While we get used to the’ NewNormal’ we look forward to a better year. Merry Christmas anyhow.

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