As far as I can remember, Nigeria’s most joyous and peaceful moment where times when any cadre of Nigeria’s national football team achieved a major feat. 1992, 1994, 1996, these where times majorly remembered for good. This is not to deny the fact that even at these times, there were no existing national crisis, but the soccer feat seemed to suppress all. It’s the only time you’ll see a Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo man sit together sharing the same expectations, moments of joy and even drinks. For once, they’re all thinking Nigerian! Its times like that you’ll see a Hausa man celebrate an easterner (e.g. Okocha) and forgetting the existing ethnic rifts existing between them. At times where Nigeria happened to be the victors in these tournaments, there’s always a “temporary” increase in national patriotism; it was cool to be identified as a Nigerian! There was always an overwhelming sense of national peace…
One of the most important times after a major achievement is the morning after. It tests the victor’s ability to build momentum on the already existing achievement to better his life, character and self esteem; “riding on the wings of victory”. Unfortunately, our Government has continuously failed in surfing on this turf of national calm, joy and “temporary” patriotism. Just when people are beginning to believe again and build a strong sense of national pride, the morning after always leaves our hopes dampened as we made to face the reality of the failing government. We’re awakened by a fresh corruption scandal or news of Governments official malfeasance or dereliction of duty. All these act as a slap on our face as if trying to wake us all up from a fantasy of national well being to a reality of national “un-wellness”.
Our shot this time
As the world soccer fiesta draws nigh (9 days), to kick off on African soil, we are faced yet with another opportunity, a shot at a “temporary” wave of national peace and all that accompanies it, another chance to boost patriotism and national pride, another chance to be proud to identify with Nigeria, another opportunity for an Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba man to sit together in merriment and have a drink together, another chance for Nigeria to work! Now, more than ever before, is a time where I believe that the super eagles have to live up to its creed of being super! Judging from the backdrop of current happenings in the country, happenings that portray a strong indication of hope, a super eagles victory at the mondial will meet Nigeria and hence Nigerians in good fate. It will further add to the already existing momentum of National transformation. In this much bigger game of national transformation, this shot would be very helpful!
- Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa:Official visit to the US, July 25-28 1961
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