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Date Published: 07/14/10

Day of Glory for South Africa as World Cup ends By Joe Igbokwe

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By 7:00pm today in South Africa, the world most famous sporting event, the world cup 2010 which started on June 11, 2010 will be brought to a logical conclusion with either Spain or Holland lifting the famous Gold Cup. To South Africa and the whole of Africa, it is a moment of glory, a moment of joy and a moment of pride. The one month event brought fun, fanfare, happiness, joy, pride, business and economic boom to South Africa. South Africa became the first African Country to successfully host the World number one Sporting event and it was successfully done too. As the event ends today, analysts and public commentators agree in one voice, amity, concord, unison and unity that South Africa has come of age. In fact it would not be an exaggeration to say that South Africa has successfully joined the first world.

As the world begins to leave South Africa for their home countries tomorrow, there are huge lessons for other African Countries, especially Nigeria. I have observed after my trip to South Africa to watch the opening ceremony and Nigeria-Argentina Match that if what I saw in South Africa is anything to go by, I may see Nigeria hosting the World Cup in my lifetime. I saw the build-up and preparations in October last year and by the time I returned in June this year, I met a new South Africa waiting to host the World. From Oliver Tambo International Airport, you could see the level of preparations and executions. It was a bold statement that South Africa has grown up to join the league of World civilized nations.

I am told that South Africa spent about 5 billion USD to host the world. And at once my mind centred on Nigeria if given the same amount of money to prepare for the Mundial. Every member of the committee would have pocketed 60% of the money. Nigeria would have spent five times that amount and yet the project would not be realized. Girl friends, family members, hangers on, concubines would have joined in sharing the loot. Excuses, excuses and excuses would have been the usual complaints. There would have been mistakes and mistakes either through acts of omission or commission. Some contractors would have bolted away with money without executing the projects. There are lessons and so many lessons to be learnt on how things are done.

Though South Africa has security problems, its security agencies were up and doing. Hours on end they worked and worked because the integrity of the country was at stake. Thousands of volunteers were on hand to compliment the efforts of the security agencies. I saw them at the Soccer city and Ellis Park Stadia in Johannesburg. As the games were going on these tireless, committed and patriotic volunteers surrounding the football pitch facing the spectators not minding what is going on in the pitch because they want their country to succeed. The judiciary extended their services to about 12 midnight to try offenders of World cup rules. Everybody, every company, every establishment put everything to make South Africa succeed. Indeed I saw the power of collectivity, the power of synergy, the power of commitment, the power of creative thinking and planning, the power of preparations, the power of strategic intelligence and intelligent execution.

Nigeria has a lot to learn from South African experience. Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel. The road to glory is an 8-lane expressway for Nigeria judging from our God-given human and material resources. Nigerian leaders have not been getting it right for nearly fifty years now, and time has come for us to grow up. All over the world Nigerians are crying and screaming from the roof tops that their country must join the human race. From their cries, I guess they are saying that Nigeria should not be misruled again. They say that Nigeria is a failed state working for those who failed it. We must retrieve our stolen country at all cost. The story of man they say is a Chronicle of oppression and therefore man is born oppressed and all his life he struggles to free himself. 2011 is our date with History and we must fish out and elect those who will rebuild, rehabilitate, and reconstruct Nigeria. We must not fail.

Joe Igbokwe
Lagos

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