Yesterday I was reading an article titled ‘Has Jonathan Scored An Own Goal?’ by one of my heroes, Simon Kolawole of This Day newspapers.
Whenever I’m reading any of Simon’s opinions, I totally hand over my discretionary powers to him, and absorb everything he says; I admire him that much.
However, yesterday was quite different as I saw a shining glimmer of hope for Nigeria, where Simon saw possible disaster, in the suspension of the National Football Team from International Competitions for 2years, by Goodluck Jonathan, in response to their disappointing World Cup outing.
Goodluck has proven himself a true Teacher by his decision to suspend the Eagles from participation in International Competitions. The stakes are indeed extremely high and a lot of people’s dreams, hard work and investments are going to take a heavy blow if indeed FIFA takes strong sanctions against Nigeria.
FIFA is Anti-Government Interference in Football Issues.
If Goodluck maintains his position, it will affect much more than the game of Football itself. Soccer is a game that has broken the boundaries of separation in Nigeria; it has made people from different ethnicities, religions, political affiliations and even social class, laugh, cry and scream together.
Soccer is one of the few shared experiences in which Nigerians have found a sense of Collective Identity (interestingly enough, Super Story is another).
We are a Football Nation.
Apart from 419 and Corruption, the world also knows us for Football.
If Jonathan doesn’t back down to the threat of FIFA sanctions looming over us, we would suffer collective outrage and mourning, as the one thing that we take pride in TOGETHER, has been snatched away from us by our Principal.
However, there is ONE possible benefit in all of this:
For the first time, Nigeria will be known by the world for Strong, Decisive Leadership.
We will be talked about as that nation whose Leader maintained his position to withdraw his players, even amidst the threat of FIFA sanctions and national angst.
We would be gossiped about in coffee shops across the world as that nation with a Leader who has such high Disciplinary standards.
For the first time EVER, Nigeria would be secretly respected as a nation who has a Leader that would not be intimidated by the world Football governing body or even the emotional blackmailing of his own people.
Jonathan Goodluck may go down in our history books as the man who took our beloved game of Soccer away from us, but he would also be the Teacher who brought back discipline and respect to the world’s view of Nigerian Leadership.
If he maintains his position.
To be honest, I don’t want Jonathan to back down.
My heart goes out to all the people whose lives will be significantly altered if he doesn’t, but I see them as being Nigerian Heroes, upon whose dreams we can build a great future for our generations to come.
Maybe Soccer is the sacrifice that has got to be made on the Altar of Good Leadership, to produce the blessings of a great Economy, dependable Infrastructure, and most importantly, the shared pride of being Nigerian.
If Goodluck does not back down.
My dear Simon Kolawole, I don’t agree with you about Goodluck scoring an 'Own Goal', indeed, I think he has just broken all Football records, by making a Touchdown on a Soccer Pitch.
But wait oh, am I placing too much faith in the intentions of our government? I am writing this on the assumption that they have a genuine desire to raise this nation from the abyss of Mediocrity it has wallowed in all these years.
I am placing faith in the idea that Mr. President wants to use Football as an example of what he can and will go ahead to do in our Power, Health, Education and all other sectors.
What Simon, me and all 150million of us think right now is just Opinion; Mr. President, the ‘Ball’ is in your court.
As the saying goes; 'Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown'
6 years ago