By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
It was Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and presently the Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, that at a time stated thus; a good businessman sees where others don’t see. What I see, you may not see. You cannot see because that is the secret of the business… the entire world is a big market waiting for anybody who knows the rules of the game.
The above thought came flooding recently not necessarily because Nigeria and Nigerians are at present witnessing politicians queue behind each other to declare/express interest in the nation’s 2023 presidency.
Rather, it stemmed from the fact that in the past two decades or thereabout, when democracy in the country, the nation has handled all its electioneering exercises from conventional societal and socio-economic contexts/considerations, principally anchored on regionalism, ethnicity, class/elite recruitment and gender.
There is a general but erroneous belief that these selected/mentioned aspects are the most relevant factors to be considered because they represent deep, persistent divisions in society. In making these decisions, we exude the confidence of rational people. We feel that we are both practical and pragmatic.
This practice has since graduated to what analysts now refer to as ‘politics of identity ‘or ‘politics of recognition’.
But in all these, no public office aspirants have ever brought into view sustainable sports development as his/her major selling point, objective or agenda. And Nigerians have not bothered to ask why the non-emphasis on sports development flourished even when it is evident that sporting activities, particularly the game of football/soccer presently creates in the country both local and international employment for our teeming youths, promotes tourism and entertainment, attracts direct foreign earnings/investments and unarguably qualifies as the most unifying factor in the country. In fact, there is this veiled belief that the only time Nigerians can agree with one another is when it comes to the issue of sports.
The facts are there and speak for it.
Aside from the zeal with which Nigerians unite to watch foreign clubs during European Premiere/La Liga leagues, the most recent example of how the game of soccer created peace and unity in the country was demonstrated by the harmonious reaction/celebration that trailed the sweet 34th minute belter, intelligently struck by Kelechi Iheanacho, which earned Nigeria a first-ever opening match win over Egypt at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
This piece also observes with satisfaction how in 2003, the Hausas, Yorubas, Igbos, among other tribes, in praise/support of Enyimba Football Club of Aba, to the admiration of the watching world chanted; Nzogbu nzogbu, enyi mba enyi. Nzogbu, Enyi mba enyi, Nzogbuo Nwoke, Enyi mba enyi, Nzogbuo nwanyi, Enyi mba enyi, Nzogbu, Enyi mba enyi, a popular Igbo assonance. This was in 2003 when the club, under Orji Uzor Kalu as the Abia State Governor, played USMA of Algeria in a crucial quarter-final of the Champions League.
More difficult to believe is the reality that we overlooked sports development but continued in the culture of choices such as economic planning and masses welfare, even when it is evident that past efforts/choices in that direction have not stopped the nation from going through the shooting pain of bad leadership or aided the country to enthrone true democracy in which the nation would be corruption free; the rule of law is obeyed to the later and impunity on the part of all top government officials, civil servants and every other person in either the civil service or the private sector is curbed.
Making it a crisis is a fact that those elected into public offices based on these considerations. In particular, their economic planning and development prowess has continued to go against the provisions of the constitutions as an attempt to disengage governance from public sector control of the economy has only played into the waiting hands of the profiteers of goods and services to the detriment of the Nigerian people.
Today, while the nation continues to lie prostrate and diminish socially and economically with grinding poverty and starvation driving more and more men into the ranks of the beggars, whose desperate struggle for bread renders insensible to all feelings of decency and self-respect, the privileged political few continue to flourish in obscene and splendour as they pillage and ravage the resources of our country at will.
So, using the above scenario as a dashboard to correct our leadership challenge which is gravitating towards becoming a culture, the question may be asked; as the nation, Nigeria races toward the 2023 general elections, how can we use the election as president a Nigerian with interest in sports development to build a nation that will be ‘militant’ enough to keep our citizens aroused to positive actions and moderate enough to this passion within convenient bounds? Do Nigerians have a choice in this matter? Can they really afford in the present circumstance to make such a decision?
Before tackling this question, this piece must underline the age-long saying that ‘to know the road ahead, we must ask those coming back’.
In light of this consideration, Nigeria and Nigerians must provide an answer(s) to the above questions and ask Orji Uzor Kalu how he was able to move Enyimba Football Club from grass to grace and use the club’s superlative performance to unite Nigerians.
To further underscore why this lesson is necessary; let’s cast a glance at an account by an Aba, Abia state-based public affairs analyst,
It reads in parts; Before 1999, Falcons and later Enyimba struggled to exist in the Amateur league. By a stroke of policy fate, they transited to the professional league and later the premiership.
The name Falcon or Enyimba did not mean anything. The face of Enyimba changed as soon as Kalu mounted the saddle as the Chief Executive of Abia State, bringing massive support and overwhelming passion to bear on the administration of the club.
He influenced the pattern of buying the best players in the Nigerian league. Kalu offered irresistible welfare packages that saw the team displacing other 19 clubs to lift the coveted premiership trophy five times in six years.
Regardless of what others may say, this piece will, in my view, conveniently agree as well as conclude that ‘the entire world is truly a big market waiting for anybody who knows the rules of the game. Nigerians in the same vein must recognize that the world has become a ‘global village’, and international, multinational, transnational and supernatural factors are important elements of any national political system.
Therefore, come 2023, if we cannot elect as President someone who will deliver excellently in a sector that will positively affect other sectors, then, the consequence of such failure/failing will be that our political leaders will continue to fracture our nation’s geography into polarized idiosyncrasies and idiosyncrasies, all of which will lead to agitations of different sorts and capacities without any socioeconomic reward.
Above all, come 2023, we must use sport development to remove arms and other dangerous weapons from the hands/reach of our youths and create sustainable peace in the country. This is important.
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), a Lagos-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). He could be reached via Jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374.
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By Asiayei Enaibo
Yes, they are great politicians in Ijawland; many have groomed followers with the gospel of hatred, those who managed our poverties with one salary divided to seven. Those that only want to see you serve their children and take over from them while their servants service their grandchildren and in-laws.
Do You Know Ijaw Politicians?
Yes, we have great and eloquent Ijaw politicians that make or support a bill once in four years and give us cups of rice at the end of the year and we call them Messiahs. Are they Messiahs or cups of rice and anti-development politicians?
The last time I saw my village children sent as delegates from their families to collect cups of rice tied in cellophane, and the children too were happy and angry, but they could not say a word, for they do not know what good governance is all about.
We have politicians only in the election period as our youths, including myself, praise them for survival to manage our collective poverty as we clap for their third or sixth term coming!
Ijaws are blessed with great minds as politicians that never brief us on constituency development for four years or twenty years. Once you make such comments, they will hire community-based boys from your area to disarm your pen and break your legs in a ghastly Keke accident when their convoy is coming.
From the Senate down to House of Representatives, to House of Assembly, the lawmakers, their oversight function is to gather enemies, a list of stubborn boys they could starve for objective criticism, blacklist, even though you have community-based policy ideas to show them for them to excel in their business of politics, they will refuse you to come near their homes, locked with iron gates and dogs to attack the Talking Drum.
Empowerment, zero per cent. Once you say something about empowerment, they will go and snap photos at the sales points of Keke and Okada to show us photos that they did empowerment at Abuja, while the people in the villages they are representing have no idea of such empowerment.
Do You Know Any Ijaw Politicians?
Yes, those who have not said anything as a matter of urgent public importance even though flood kills all the children at Bobougbene, yes those that don’t listen to the youths but listen to old ones on money sharing formula in Burutu.
Do You Know Any Ijaw Politicians?
Yes, the few good ones are good but the corrupt familitocracy are more than the public interest. Once they give our children one scholarship, they say it is their personal money. When they were not elected, none had personal money to share, they turn our head against us.
They have never called for a town hall meeting to address us. Once we make such comments, those who call themselves as Ijaw watchdogs that they have given cups of rice, are blindfolded to distract the meeting for their own interests not to allow the meeting to expose their selfish, un-political thinking. They said they have influenced the project to us, the last time I checked, the lawmakers are the same contractors, their grandfathers’ father’s names are the contractors, they partner as an elder brother to corruption whose senior sister is to embezzle the money and abandon the work while they give her negotiated amount to run away. For they are the Messiahs we have as politicians in Nigerian.
I do blame the good ones that are afraid of bad ones not to contest to rule us with great ideas, innovative laws that can project our rural riverine areas to tourist centres. We have great minds in Ijawland, the old good ones are poor, the young good ones are poor, they can’t buy a vote, for our society sells vote to buy poverty. Some have already exchanged their franchise for 20 cups of rice come 2023.
Look at them, we have Urban Development Commission everywhere, but no Riverine Rural Development Board and nobody is saying anything. They gather and only laugh with their colleagues, no policy, Where is great Comrade Joseph Evah, who has done this to us?
How Do We Reform Them Now?
First, we should hold them accountable with a blueprint whenever they are coming to our communities for campaigns, itemize what they can do for us in black and white paper and use Egbesu to swear, once they fail us, let what happened to Abacha happen to them. Amen!
Let us hold them to brief us in a town hall meeting on what they could bring to our communities in a yearly budget. If they fail, we go to their national office with placards as a vote of no confidence to withdraw our mandate in protests. Yes, we can.
Yes, it is a good point, we do not have light, no politicians care in our area, we don’t have drinkable water in the Ijaw area, no elected politicians care, we don’t have good schools, the appointees are afraid to tell the governor.
We don’t have roads, they said our places are difficult terrain.
Our mothers give birth in the canoes while paddling to the cities to deliver in the hospitals, then we call such children names like “Arukazi.”
The year 2023 is around the corner, they hire all the 200HP engine boats to go to the difficult terrains to buy votes, the good, the ugly and the evils, many have listed the stubborn boys to beat the writers, many have planned hired boys for rigging, then vote-buying, four years equal to N2,000, N10,000 for the future of a whole family. I blame our mothers and women with political Asoebi clapping for N500 on daily basis at the end no empowerment. Eyorotuooo.
Do You Have Great Politicians In Ijawland?
Yes, one half-bridge as a legacy project for twenty years, they are the best coming again. Let us prepare to buy ‘Ongu,’ that ancient water reservoir and cry into it to fill it with tears so we could have water to drink.
Arise youths of conscience, let us watch over our future as 2023 comes around.
Someone has already listed his father’s enemy once he becomes a governor, they will suffer, a premeditated plan to suffer the masses as if they are God.
Good leadership is a manifestation of public development.
Look around you and where you are representing, don’t allow your praise singers to deceive you as Darkness and Light are known to humanity at all levels.
Asiayei Enaibo, the Talking Drum of the Niger Delta, writes from GbaramatuVoice Media Centre.
Moving to a new home is exciting, but it can be stressful, too. A move requires so much planning that it can feel overwhelming but, by being organised you can turn it into a smooth, even enjoyable, process. Planning is key – this is definitely one of those times that it pays to be super organised. Follow these tips from Aisha Pandor, CEO and Co-founder of SweepSouth, to keep the stress at bay on moving day.
Make a list
A checklist helps you to keep track of everything, making it less likely you’ll forget something. It also allows you to tick off tasks as you complete them, giving you a sense of accomplishment and motivating you to keep going if you start getting tired of packing.
Plan the move as far ahead as possible, and sort out any admin you can in the run-up to the actual day, such as changing your Wi-Fi details and informing your insurance of your new address. Check to see if they’ll insure your possessions while you move.
“Start packing well ahead of time, labelling each box on top by writing the name of the room it’s intended for, along with bullet points of what’s inside,” advises Aisha. Safely store fiddly fixtures and fittings like screws and brackets in sealable plastic sandwich bags, and stick appliance and gadget wires down with tape to prevent them from dangling about while being moved.
Use bin bags to make transporting clothes easier – slip hangers with clothes on into a large bin bag and tie a few hangers together with a rubber band for easier carrying. Pack precious items like jewellery, important documents, and laptops into a separate bag that you take in your own car.
Finish packing the day before
It sounds obvious, but don’t compromise on this one, says Aisha. “You’ll thank yourself when the movers arrive and you don’t have to rush around getting last-minute things sorted. And don’t underestimate the small items. You may think they’ll be easy to pop into a box just before the movers arrive, but these small tasks could end up wasting valuable time.”
Packing is a tiring task, so hire hands for the other big chores associated with moving day, like cleaning. Empty houses are always dirtier than you’d expect, so book a cleaning service through SweepSouth Connect for both the old and new – meaning your old space will be left spotless once the last box has been taken, and you’ll be moving into a sparkling clean home.
Assemble a moving-day survival kit
Pack a box of essential items to see you through the day and your first night, and keep it in your car for easy access. Consider these items: a phone charger, screwdriver, sharp knife for opening boxes, glasses and mugs, a kettle, provisions to make hot drinks, cleaning cloths, bin bags, washing up liquid, toilet rolls, and a small medical kit. It’s also a good idea to have an overnight bag with toiletries, a hand towel, pyjamas, a clean change of clothing, and sheets to hang over bedroom windows in case the curtains aren’t up yet.
Be safety conscious
Take every precaution you can to keep you and your moving team safe. Don’t overpack boxes, dispose of any dangerous liquids, and make sure that appliances like lawnmowers are cleaned and emptied of fuel. On the day of the move, prevent accidents while boxes are being moved by keeping a clear pathway so that you can walk through without tripping over objects while carrying something heavy in your arms.
Moving days are tiring, so make sure you get a good night’s rest before. Start the morning off with a good breakfast, and stop for lunch, so that you keep your energy levels up. Keep a few bottles of water handy for yourself and the movers – a hydrated moving team is a happy and efficient team, says Aisha.
Create a playlist ahead of time. Music is a mood booster, and listening to music you love triggers feel-good chemicals that make you happy and less anxious. If you don’t have time to collate a playlist, type terms like ‘Happy Hits’, ‘Mood Booster’, or ‘Good Vibes’ into Spotify and slot into a bouncy, energetic playlist. Move over, moving-day blues!
Do a final walk-through
Walk through the house one last time before you go, doing a close inspection of each room. It’s also worth taking some photographs so that you have a record of the state of the property.
Moving days always take longer than anticipated, and you’ll no doubt be exhausted by the end of it. “Have realistic expectations of how much you can achieve in one day,” says Aisha. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to unpack everything by the first night, so take a well-deserved break and recharge. And, finally, order some lovely takeaways to celebrate the first night in your new home – your tired body will thank you!
By Nneka Okumazie
A difference between developed countries and others is fear. There are many developing countries in the world where the people are afraid to try things that would make them progress, almost prompting the question that who taught them to fear?
Fear is the thing in the face of many, preventing them to do anything beneficial for the good of their society. Usually, many are not afraid to do things of close-ended self-interest, but it is not this kind of courage that moves society forward.
What it takes to develop a society is largely courage, from different corners and people independently, as part of their own effort to their society.
This is different from those who keep blaming the government like the government can do anything successfully if everyone is still thinking selfishly.
Fear is the economic machine of developing countries. It is their politics, security, food, etc. It takes fear to take money belonging all and embezzle. It takes fear to take bribes or give. It takes fear to be involved in corruption, any kind of fraud, etc. It takes fear to instead of aspiring for development for all, to aspire to be or stay the rich of the society or believe the only way is to leave, or there is a problem with a place other than the people there.
There is always this must not happen, cannot take it, but, what if it happens, the worse or what if things go wrong and stay so?
The things to have and show, or the things to be and display are meaningless, get old and anyone anywhere can get them with or without equal status, efforts or duration.
There are people who have done everything to be in the right status – but death or something else came and it all went away. The person who didn’t have it, whom they would still have been better than were things okay for them, or if they were still alive, continues on and does not miss that thing others had and felt it’s the greatest.
Progress is beyond one bridge somewhere or some infrastructure, but what it takes is what everyone has to do.
This, for any society that puts fear first, or that assumes that status or to be comfortable is the right thing to do is already a miss or loss.
Fear gets transferred to the next generation, including how they ensure that what they impose is not rule of law, but how to fear what would bring progress.
Fear from everyone in a society cannot make them dare, even to the risk of death, because to many, having a thing is the meaning of life, not the purpose of good change to become to society.
[2 Samuel 23:20, And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:]
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