Two African nations are definitely hugging (and rightly so) the lime light as a result of the world cup. Two nations that have emerged as leading lights in Africa; Ghana and South Africa. Ghana was the last African nation standing at the world cup and would have gone further if not for the unsportsmanlike behaviour and condemnable desperation exhibited by one of Uruguay’s player. The boys from Ghana played lovely football and won the admiration of all who saw them play. South Africa put up a marvelous world cup which as some officials have attested to was much better than what some European nations displayed when they played host to the world cup. Both countries are also doing well in their political and economic spheres. Nigeria could not have organized the tournament with the high standard exhibited in South Africa and its mismanagement of its football team was evident in the shoddy preparation before and during the tournament. Perhaps Nigeria’s only claim to be a giant lies in its large population of corrupt politicians/government officials, mismanagement of economic resources and a large frustrated population
In all these the ‘giant of Africa’ came into the spot light when the President was misadvised to announce that Nigeria was pulling out of FIFA organized tournaments for two years only to recant the decision with a face saving refuge in the purported pleas of Nigerians on his face book page! Where else could he have found a face saving excuse if not on Facebook! If the President had stated that in obedience to FIFA directive that Government’s should not meddle in football administration the government has stopped all forms of funding for football, instead of issuing ultimatums and threatening the Nigerian government ,FIFA would have started begging the government requesting that they should not starve the Nigerian football body of fund. As usual with the Nigerian government, the whole situation was bungled. Not only did the overrated super eagles fail woefully in South Africa our government was also made to look like a fool.
Even as Nigeria was embarrassed by both our players and government there was this rather disturbing rumour that made the round that some Nigerian players were involved in match fixing during the world cup. The disturbing angle was that even though there was no proof to the assertion, many were inclined to believe the rumour since it involved Nigeria! During the world cup, Nigeria made the news for all the wrong reasons!
There was the horrendous squabble over hotel accommodation, the payment for hotel rooms that were never occupied, the payment for a private aircraft that refused to carry the misfit eagles and incompetent managers to South Africa,(many national teams actually got to South Africa on commercial flights but our over hyped players must use chartered flights!) and we must not forget the thousands of dollars meant for the Green Eagles (I think its best we resort to their original name since calling them “Super” is more of a mockery than an endeared appellation.) that went missing in mysterious circumstances. Definitely there will be lots of noise over these incidences, some government officials will be transferred, others will loose their jobs but ultimately they will be let off the hook to enjoy their ill gotten loot in peace (what happened to those that stole, misapplied and misappropriated money during COJA). Some who had used every means possible to corner a greater percentage of the ill gotten loot will decide to inform us that ‘they are under undue pressure by their people to come out to serve them in a political office’ and after using the stolen money for campaign, will eventually find their way into various political offices to continue what they know how to do best; steal tax payers fund instead of languishing in jail.
While sane politicians from developed climes are studying how South Africa organized such a marvelous tournament, Nigerian politicians went to South Africa with their family, friends and female admirers to squander tax payers fund in South Africa. If they didn’t do this how can they prove to the world that Nigeria is a great nation and that because Nigerians are good people they will not complain! Even the Madam that is the Chief proponent of “Good People, Great Nation” took time off to go to South Africa for the world cup hitching (wonder if hitching a ride was part of the rebranding effort.) a ride in an aircraft conveying our lawmakers to the world cup for “over sight” function under the sponsorship of a South African Telecom company milking the Good people of Nigeria through its ineffective telecom services and fraudulent lottery. I wonder if any of our lawmakers or Madam Minister can go and watch any of our local league matches. Perhaps their busy schedule will not permit them to go to any of our local stadium to watch a league match. How did they now find time to go to South Africa? They are always ready to create time for any event that involves traveling out of the country with the attendant perks. The rate at which our lawmakers travel outside the country will give any foreigner the false impression that they are hard working but Nigerians who wear the shoes definitely know better where the shoe pinches.
Our President is currently ‘playing’ with his new found love; Facebook while his spare time is devoted towards consulting oracles to know the appropriate time he should declare his intention to contest in the next Presidential election. We are through with the “will he contest” stage and are now in “when to commence campaign” stage. Our Lawmakers are currently engrossed in how to arrive at an appropriate sharing formula for their self approved quarterly allowance or do we call it slush fund or better still stolen loot! Governors are busy converting state treasuries to their personal account and junketing all over the world looking for the elusive foreign investor. There is so much corruption in the system now that one wonders if the anti corruption agencies have gone to sleep or are simply on vacation to bask in past glory.
Even Nigeria, the erstwhile Giant of Africa is basking in past glory. Nigerian businessmen and even actors are rushing to Ghana and South Africa ignoring the inhospitable attitude of Ghanaian and South African Governments towards them. The ‘Good People’ of Nigeria are despised in Liberia, Sierra Leone and to a great extent in most African countries. No help is in sight from the two political managers at the helm of the ministry of Foreign affairs. They seem to have better things to do than demean themselves with the plight of Nigerians on foreign soil, if the lawmakers cannot make laws that will make living conducive in Nigeria making people leave the shores of Nigeria and Governors refuse to execute their electoral promises why should they bother themselves that Nigeria has no defined foreign policy and that other nations are treating Nigerians as if they are the Lilliputian of Africa as opposed to the giant of Africa. Though it seems we are all living under the false notion that we ought to command giant respects simply because we believe we are the Giant of Africa. We have arrived at this nadir of our existence as a nation because of our inept leadership. We are living in the Orwellian satirical Animal Farm where some animals are perceived to be more equal than others and until we chase the fat pigs out of the corridors of power we will continue to be like slaves in our motherland waiting for freedom while the key to our emancipation lies within us if only we will have the courage to act to regain our lost glory before it is too late.
Imohimi Uduigwome Airenevboise