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Mr President, Nigeria must not go down by Simon Kolawole

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Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, what a hell of a week it was! Again, undergraduates kidnapped in Kaduna were slain while the ransom was still being negotiated. More bloodbaths in Zamfara claimed over 100 lives. Over 50 villages were deserted in Niger after attacks by Boko Haram, who cheekily hoisted their dark flag in one of them. Our soldiers were killed in Borno. Nine police officers, including a DPO, were killed in Kebbi. Northerners were murdered and mutilated in Anambra. Gunmen razed a police command in Imo and killed five officers. In Akwa Ibom, police stations were attacked and officers, including a female, were killed. Et cetera et cetera and so on and so on.

Your Excellency, I wrote an article on July 19, 2009 entitled ‘Mr. President, Nigeria Is Going Down’. It was an open letter to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, whom I accused of sleeping on duty. I recall, and repeat, the opening salvo: “Mr President, I don’t know how you would take this, but there is no nicer way of putting it – Nigeria is going down. I have watched, helplessly, in the last few months as things appear to be spinning out of control on all fronts. What are you up to? At times, I wonder if you’re deliberately quiet or you are just too overwhelmed with the circumstances in which you have found yourself. The simplest of things appear to be too difficult for your administration to handle…”

Mind you, Mr President, this was in 2009 before Boko Haram became a thing, before insurgency was ever a possibility much less a probability, before bandits left our borders with Chad and came inland, before kidnapping leapfrogged armed robbery in crime statistics, before students were being routinely kidnapped, before police stations were targeted by arsonists, before the perennial herders/farmers clashes escalated and became framed as Fulani jihad — and long before the entire country became drenched in blood. I was only complaining about Yar’Adua’s foot-dragging on amnesty for Niger Delta militants and power projects. It now sounds like a joke, doesn’t it?

I will tell you a very short story, Mr President. In 2008, I travelled to the US for a conference. In my hand was a book, ‘The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States’ by Terry Lynn Karl. The immigration official, knowing I was from Nigeria, started to chat me up on the book. He asked: “What would you consider as Nigeria’s biggest problem?” I was not in the mood for a seminar. I was jetlagged. All I wanted was for him to stamp my passport and wave me on. I gave him the global template answer on Nigeria: corruption. But he offered a different perspective: “Some countries have political problems, others economic. Nigeria has both political and economic problems.”

Mr President, you came into office in 2015 declaring that Nigeria’s biggest problem was corruption — which you argued was responsible for the insecurity. You promised to tackle both. While the jury is still out on your anti-corruption war, the consensus, even among your diehard fans, is that the insecurity is getting out of hand. It is not limited to a few parts, as the case was in 2015, but spread across the country in an uncanny semblance of federal character. More so, the economy has been on a downward spiral and our political challenges are getting more complicated. So, we are battling with insecurity, in addition to economic and political crises. We are in a fix, urgently needing a fix.

I understand, Mr President, that some of your team members are of the opinion that the current insecurity is politically orchestrated ahead of the 2023 elections. But haven’t we heard this before? Some in the Goodluck Jonathan administration believed Boko Haram terrorism was politically motivated, geared towards the 2015 elections. I will tell your government exactly what I told the Jonathan administration: whether it is politics or not, it is the job of government to secure the country. The 1999 constitution does not say that if insecurity is politically motivated, we should sit down, twiddle with our fingers, watch criminals take over, and throw up our hands in surrender.

Before I proceed, Your Excellency, I want to be clear on this: I agree that there are those who criticise and hate you mainly because of religion, ethnicity and politics, not really because of what you have done or not done right. It appears this irritates you and makes you ignore or even dare your critics. But be assured, Your Excellency, that it is not peculiar to you. There were those who hated President Goodluck Jonathan because of his religion and ethnic identity too. Other former presidents had similar experiences. It is nothing new: that is the way we are wired in Nigeria and that cannot be an excuse not to do the needful in the interest of national peace and progress.

It may also interest you, Your Excellency, that there are those who support you blindly because they share your religion and ethnic identity — and even your politics. Nothing else matters to them. To this group, you can never be wrong. You are infallible. It is an emotional thing. They may be asking you to ignore criticism and treat your critics with scorn. Maybe it would also be of comfort to state that this is not limited to you: Jonathan also had his blind supporters who did not — and can still not — see that he did anything wrong in office. They even paint the picture that Nigeria was almost becoming as advanced as Singapore under Jonathan before he was “unjustly” voted out. So it goes.

Having said that, Mr President, I now want to make my point: Nigeria is going down, and very fast. I wish I could put it in a milder form, but no amount of honey can make my words sweet. Boko Haram, said to have been technically defeated since 2016, remains deadly; bandits are shedding blood in the North every day; kidnappers are behind, beside and in front of us; police stations are being attacked and police officers killed for fun in the South-East and South-South; Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB is revving up the campaign for Biafra by the minute; Sunday Igboho is leading the Yoruba in a war of independence; and some Niger Delta militants have announced a return to the trenches.

If you go down memory lane, Mr President, you would recall that one of your greatest campaign pitches in 2015 was to fight insecurity. Boko Haram was bombing mosques, churches, motor parks and shopping plazas with ease in the FCT, Borno, Kaduna, Niger and Kano states, while bandits were terrorising Zamfara villagers without let or hindrance. I acknowledge that within your first year in office, you made tremendous progress against Boko Haram: they were truly beaten back at some point. Unfortunately, for reasons I would really love to know or understand, the insurgents staged resurgence and many other areas of insecurity opened up. What exactly went wrong, Mr President?

Your Excellency, I know we are bedevilled by serious economic problems as a result of our usual ailments — low crude oil prices, low FX inflow and the inevitable devaluation of the naira — but I would not even put that at the same level with insecurity. We need to be alive first to spend the naira. While individuals and businesses can cope with rising inflation, unemployment, high interest rates and such like, only the state can tackle the insecurity that has taken hold of the land. This is not an Amotekun, civilian JTF or Arksego matter. We are not talking about pickpockets and armed robbers. How do we protect ourselves against kidnappers and terrorists bearing AK-47?

At this stage, Your Excellency, we want to see a president who is clearly on top of things and connects with our emotions. You appear too detached. A leader must be present with his people in good and bad times. There is a level of reassurance that comes with it. You were all over the country during the two electioneering cycles but withdrew thereafter as if talking to the people you lead is a burden or something beneath you. Even your most ardent supporters cannot defend this. I know some tasks can be delegated, and, yes, not all the things you are doing to combat the insecurity can be discussed openly, but we urgently need you, not just your aides, to communicate with us.

Speed is also of essence, Mr President. I have noticed that consistently, things are allowed to drag unattended to. When responses come, they are either too little, too late or they come with discordant tunes altogether. Not good, Mr President, not good. That is why many Nigerians have been questioning if anyone is really in charge. Nigerians have every reason to be sceptical or even cynical. Failure to act on time — with efficiency and the needed sensitivity — has put the country on a dangerous edge where insecurity collides with economic and political challenges. Even those who normally remain calm are now more than worried about how things could degenerate further.

I do not for a minute, Mr President, underestimate some of your strides. I do not support the view that you have achieved nothing in office as some of your dyed-in-the-wool critics would want us to believe. Those who are mocking your infrastructural projects and agricultural policies today would most likely eat their words in another five to 10 years when we begin to derive the benefits. I keep wondering what might have been if you met crude oil at $100/barrel. Oil made many Nigerian presidents shine in the past, so you have to bemoan your luck. But, Your Excellency, we need to be alive first to be able use the roads and eat the rice. At this rate of bloodshed, that is not guaranteed.

Mr President, Nigerians feel besieged. The condition is critical. They need the commander-in-chief to be the reassurer-in-chief. I know you have been taking some steps and holding several meetings, but whatever you are doing needs more firepower. It appears the criminals are this bold partly because they think they can get away with anything. I request that you begin to act in a way that even the criminals will say: “Baba is not playing o.” May I respectfully remind Your Excellency that you have only two years more in office, God willing. How you handle this delicate and defining period may eventually define your entire public service. Nigeria must not go down under your watch!

  • Kolawole is editor-in-chief at TheCable

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OPINION: The electric car Buhari-Osinbajo built Tunde Odesola

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(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, June 21, 2021)

Chanting a million and one ‘gbosas’ to acknowledge the magic performed last week in Abuja by Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), would be an exercise in ingratitude.

For executing the 8th Wonder of the World, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo deserve to be worshipped by Nigerians forever.

Surely, it can only be magic, not a miracle; to strike the ground with a wand, ‘gbaa!’, and a car’s rooftop cracks open the earth, slowly erupting into full view, like a mild volcano, amid dust and thunderous chants of ‘CHANGE!’, birthing the first Made-in-Nigeria electric car, Kona.

It can only be Eh-Fi-Si abracadabra. You may call it ‘efisi’, if you like swagger.

Without a workforce, steel rolling mill, power supply, technological know-how, mechanical and electrical components, the Buhari-Osinbajo government must have secretly gathered invisible hands that worked round the clock to produce Nigeria’s first electric car. This government doesn’t lie, I swear.

Permit me to quickly buttress my deep conviction that the Buhari-Osinbajo rulership doesn’t lie.

Exasperated about being called a liar, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a viral video, said, “‘My seven-year-old grandson called me and said, ‘Grandpa, tell me the truth; why do they call you Liar Mohammed?’”

Alhaji Lai added, “I looked at him. What do you say to a seven-year-old (grand)son? How do you explain politics to him? So, I said, no; don’t mind them.”

The Buhari-Osinbajo government doesn’t lie, it only doesn’t fulfil promises. Soon, the FG will replace the gloom on Nigerian roads with the gleam of the green electric car. This may not be by 2023, however; remember, Yobe State Governor, Mai Buni, prophesied the APC would rule for more than the next 32 years.

Fathered and christened by Hyundai, a South-Korean automaker, Kona electric car isn’t an abiku that comes and goes in countless seasons. But baby Kona had actually come in November 2020 when Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, publicly unveiled and presented it in Lagos, where the car was ostensibly manufactured.

Therefore, Osinbajo wasn’t the godfather of Kona, it was Sanwo-Olu, who presented the car at baptism. I repeat, this government doesn’t lie.

 

Don’t get me wrong, please. It’s not a crime to present and re-present the same car to the public 30 times, it only shows government’s seriousness and commitment to technology transfer.

But do you know the real reasons why the cerebral Osinbajo re-presented Kona to Nigerians seven long months after Sanwo-Olu had unveiled it? I know, and I’ll tell you.

After six months in power with neither direction nor a cabinet, signs that the aircraft of the Buhari-Osinbajo regime would need to be pushed and jump-started – like a ‘kabukabu’ – began to manifest.

The Buhari-Osinbajo regime badly needed the Kona PR because in the last six years, the Federal Government hasn’t fulfilled one-hundredth of its electoral promises.

But unpromised dividends of democracy such as killings by Fulani herdsmen, kidnapping, corruption, ethnic agitations, banditry, nepotism, despondency, fear and hopelessness have been delivered as sizzling hot takeaways to Nigerians benumbed by a tragic, fractured nation.

 

On their campaign trails in 2015 and 2019, Buhari-Osinbajo brandished hope to the electorate, churning out promises like the rapid-fire guns used by killer herdsmen.

 

As their ecstatic supporters roared during campaigns in 2015, Buhari and Osinbajo promised to crush Boko Haram within three months in power and lower the exchange rate of dollar to naira which then stood below N200.

 

The magical duo promised more, vowing to ban government officials from going abroad for medical treatment, dismantle the Office of the First Lady, publicly declare assets, distribute 20,000 megawatts of electricity within their first four years, revive Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, construct superhighways across the country, among others.

 

I can bet my neck that the Buhari-Osinbajo regime of integrity will fulfil its electoral promises before the expiration of its two terms, although the blood of innocent southern and Middle Belt farmers have been used to irrigate the pasture fed to Fulani cattle.

 

Today, the naira has thankfully appreciated at almost N500 to a dollar while light doesn’t blink in my Iyana Ipaja-Agege neck of the woods just as intensive work is ongoing to complete the 100-kilometre Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, six years after promising the construction of phantom 3,000-kilometre superhighways across the country.

 

Thank goodness the Buhari-Osinbajo government is winning the terror war though everyday negotiations and payments of ransoms on kidnapped citizens across Nigeria are rampant and reminiscent of the slave trade era when dog life was of higher value than human life.

 

It’s true that confessed Boko Haram terrorists are now regular guests at government houses where they are hosted to sumptuous negotiation dinners with their AK-47 strapped across their necks as they smile at the camera, while the President has commanded his troops not to ‘give breathing space to terrorists’.

 

For a government being bashed at home by its citizens for innumerable reasons, and buffeted abroad by world leaders over the ban on Twitter, a re-presentation of Made-in-Nigeria Kona by Osinbajo was highly needed.

 

Despite its rarity, however, I had the good fortune of seeing an electric car yesterday. My shylock landlord, after increasing rent on his houses and shops for the third year running, bought one and decided to unveil it on Father’s Day.

 

I didn’t go out to felicitate with my landlord. I remained in my one-room apartment and peeped through the window because I’ve yet to pay security levy. The bill is despite the fact that robbers have visited the house twice in the last one month.

 

I could see and hear everyone clearly because the car was parked near my window. This is what I heard:

Caretaker: Oga landlord, dis tear rubber na confam o!

Landlord: (Smiles) It’s the Lord’s doing, it’s beautiful in our sight.

Corper: (Snapping selfies with the car) This car is tush, sir. How much does it cost, sir?

Landlord: N24m only.

AbereIfa: Ha! Dis small car?

Caretaker: Don’t you know it doesn’t use fuel? It uses electricity.

 

AbereIfa: Electricity? How?

 

Landlord: The car runs on electricity. When fully charged for 9 hrs 35 mins, the vehicle can cover a distance of 482km which is equivalent to the distance between Lagos and Warri.

 

AbereIfa: If the electricity wey follow am come finish, where you go see light recharge am?

 

Caretaker: Oga Landlord will go Ghana or put 50 litre-gallon fuel for boot. If electricity finish, oga go pour fuel.

 

Landlord: No, it doesn’t use fuel. I’ll charge it here at home.

 

AbereIfa: With tenants’ prepaid credits? That one no go dey possible o, oga.

 

Caretaker: No be electric car you suppose buy, Landlord. See, armed robbers dey disturb us every night, the toilet is not good, there’s no water, tenants are unhappy.

 

Landlord: How does your welfare concern me? Are you members of my family or tribe?

 

Corper: Landlord, get into the car and drive it nah. I want to see you drive your electric car like the one I saw on TV yesterday.

 

Landlord: You saw one on the TV yesterday?

 

Corper: Yes, sir.

 

Landlord: How did the one you saw on TV look like?

Corper: It was green in colour.

Landlord: Green?

Corper: Yes, green and gleamy. I saw Vice President Yemi Osinbajo behind the wheel, in company with two big men. There were many security men around the car, putting their hands on the car as if preventing it from disappearing.

AbereIfa: Chai, dis girl.

Corper: Yes, nah. They didn’t allow the car to move freely, unlike President Joe Biden’s test-run of an electric Ford truck in the US. Biden fastened his seat belt. You can’t say that about every big man in the Nigerian electric car. And Vice President Osinbajo used one hand to drive, Biden used both hands.”

AbereIfa: VP used one hand? Chai, diarisgod o.

 

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

Facebook: @tunde odesola

Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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Opinion: Buhari’s leopard can’t change its spots by Tunde Odesola

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(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, June 14, 2021)

It’s only a 43-year-old novice President like Emmanuel Macron of France that can take a hot slap on the right cheek and go back home to sleep. That can never happen in the Feudal Republic of Nigeria. This oyinbo people sef! Are they weird or wayward, or both?

Last Tuesday, a 28-year-old French citizen, Damien Tarel, publicly held President Macron close to himself with his left hand and planted a deafening slap on the President’s left cheek with his right hand, t-t-w-w-a-a-i-i!!! Macron must have seen presidential stars at midday as the slap landed and echoed far in the city of Lyon.

When taken to court, Tarel said the slap was Macron’s reward for representing ‘very neatly the decay of our country’, and the court, in turn, rewarded Tarel with four-month imprisonment and a 45,000-euro fine. Na wa for ndi beke o!?

The maximum sentence for slapping the President of France is just three years in an ultra modern jail that’s better equipped and more secure than all of Nigeria’s public institutions, but Tarel got only four months out of the maximum 36 months. Imagine?

Hear Macron, the President who accommodated the dirty slap, “It’s not such a big deal to get a slap when you go toward a crowd to say hello to some people who were waiting for a long time.”

Haaa! You can never understand these oyinbo people! Someone slaps a president, gets a bail and the lightest of sentences, and the President says nothing spoil? Dis one shock me o! E no shock you?

If that happened in Nigeria? Ha, Ogun Lakaye Osinmale ooo! The Igbo and Yoruba gods of thunder, Amadioha and Sango Olukoso, will reincarnate live at the scene, spitting thunder, lightning and brimstone. Forever, no grass will grow at that scene!

Demons will descend on Damien the son of Tarel, who would instantly arrive at heaven’s gate with his body parts such as teeth, eyes, ears and right hand packed in a ‘nylon’ bag hanging around his neck. Slap who!? What are you talking ke? No mistake pepper for powder o.

Also, many innocent victims killed by stray bullets at the scene would accompany Tarel to heaven’s gate with some of them belching teargas while some others would have their spinal cords sticking out like the malfunctioning hands of an unstuck wall clock.

There was no slap at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020. But there were bullets and blood after a protest by harmless flag-clutching Nigerian youths, who were over 700 kilometres away from Aso Rock, the official castle of Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Conscienceless, the dictatorship headed by Buhari and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, unleashed security agents on the protesting youths, some of whom were dispatched to their early graves with their green-white-green flags dripping with blood.

By demanding an end to corruption and the enthronement of good governance, the youths had committed a sacrilege punishable in the Nigerian state by death. By calling on the Buhari-Osinbajo regime to wake up from eternal slumber and check the country’s slide into anarchy, the youths earned one-way tickets to their graves.

But if there was a Lekki tollgate in France, funds generated thereof would not be enshrouded in everlasting controversy. French is a romantic language. I think they would call their Lekki tollgate, ‘Tollgate Du Leqqui’. And French gendarmes would stay meters away from the protesters and watch as French youths exercised their human rights.

The over 200 years old French democracy sits on the shoulders of the young President Macron. Nigeria’s unbroken 21-year-old 4th Republic sits on the weak shoulders of olden President Buhari.

Please, don’t get me wrong; old age isn’t a curse. I mean, accurate old age isn’t a disease. Indeed, the wisdom that accompanies old age becomes a blessing to generations if the geriatric doesn’t take on tasks beyond his physical and mental capacities.

There are world leaders who, in their old ages, still exhibit profound mental acuity. Examples of such leaders are American President, (78), his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, (68), Israeli Prime Minister; Benjamin Netanyahu, (71), and the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is 85 years old, among others.

These are leaders with genuine ages. They are leaders whose mental outputs bespeak their true ages. But the same cannot be said of President Buhari who honestly disclosed in December 2017 that he doesn’t know his real age.

In his typical mishmash manner of answering questions, the President had said, “I am thinking I am 75. I thought I was 74 but I was told I was 75.” Thinking 75. Thought 74. Told 75: Imagine the distorted thought process? And upon the shoulders of this President rests the task of reinventing a nation of 200 million people? Can the blind lead the sighted?

Particularly, the clueless manner with which Buhari answers questions during media interviews could be a pointer suggestive of the possibility that the President could be far beyond the 78 years he adopted as his official age.

The characteristic disconnection of Buhari’s answers from questions asked during interviews is worrisome. I had exposed this cavity in one of my recent articles.

But, going by the worsening of this ever-present trend, I began to suspect that Buhari could, after all, be an octogenarian, a nonagenarian or a centenarian – given the fact that his birth was not documented – just like his secondary school claim.

Answering questions from some handpicked Villa-familiar journalists on Arise TV last week, President Buhari, again, revealed a mind chained to tribalism, ransomed by nepotism, and completely out of depth about democracy.

I was alarmed that the Buhari-Osinbajo regime of the 21st Century is still giving thought to revamping ancient grazing routes used when the total population of Nigeria was barely 50 million.

This Fulani President, who has persistently made a case for nomadic Fulani herdsmen to be allowed to graze their cattle on Middle Belt and southern farmers’ crops, didn’t say a word of commiseration when herdsmen killed many people in the Igangan community of Oyo State, last week.

Because he’s involved, Buhari, the Life Patron of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria – the umbrella body of all herdsmen in the country – has also threatened to deal ruthlessly with Biafran agitators, closing his eyes to the atrocities wreaked by his Fulani folks.

Till date, no herdsman has been prosecuted and found guilty in the southern part of the country by the Buhari regime.

During the interview, Buhari vouchsafed his regime’s claim to baseless integrity, telling Nigerians that his lopsided appointments were based on competence, experience and years of service.

No, Buhari didn’t forget that his feudal regime had technically retired 70 southern Army generals with the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Faruk Yahaya, from Sokoto, who was picked way down the ladder of military seniority.

He only stuck to his guns on talking points in which barefaced lies couldn’t suffice, and employed sophistry to mask the atrocities of his inept government against the Middle Belt and the southern parts of the country.

For self, Buhari outlawed Twitter. For kith and kin, he retires 70 serving generals, bringing their careers to an abrupt, unplanned end.

For Buhari, experience, service and competence are nothing: Tribe is everything. This is the promised CHANGE. A-P-C!

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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Opinion: Did Buhari watch Chelsea’s incredible victory?

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By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, May 31, 2021)

’Twas a spectacle with all the trappings of a full-fledged drama: conflict, timing, tension, rhythm, mood, language, sound, space, focus, contrast and a crushing climax. ’Twas the UEFA Champions League final played before 50,035 spectators on a 115x68m stage called Dragon Stadium in Porto, Portugal’s second largest city after Lisbon. Believe you me, the dragons that emerged within the stadium and afflicted the Manchester team won’t be exorcised too soon.

 It’s not only art that imitates life, sports do, too. And many a time, life, in its fitful drama, offers grapes instead of oranges and waxes bile instead of honey.

For me, the outcome of the impending UEFA finale was as sure as death. Lightning doesn’t strike at the same spot twice. Eewo orisa! Impossible abomination! But I was soon to discover the futility of this age-long belief even as science has proved that lightning strikes the 102-storey Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York, about 25 times every year.

I had it all figured out, or so I thought. I had cast some catchy headlines and thought up some super storyline with twists and turns leading to the ultimate triumph of Manchester City FC in the UEFA final.

But life is quicksand; after Chelsea’s lightning had struck Manchester City twice in England, it travelled an air distance of 1,812 kilometres to Portugal and struck City for the third time in six weeks! Chelsea FC put a grenade to my personal pot of fantasy and shattered the initial layout of this article. Ha! How do I beat my deadline?

Usually, I write my column on Saturday morning but I delayed it till Saturday night – after the epic final – just to accommodate Manchester City’s anticipatory victory, hoping to use the triumph to rile my known and unknown football frenemies, who cut across countries and continents, online and offline.

In England, for instance, I dislike Chelsea FC with passion and long draped it in the garb of an archenemy while in Spain, where I support the club that plays football like angels, FC Barcelona, my archfoe is (un)Real Madrid FC, which I do not dislike but hate for their dominance.

When Chelsea came up against Madrid in the semifinals of the competition, I supported the London club but I silently prayed it never get past Manchester City in the finals.

Worldwide, tit-for-tat aka ‘gbas gbos’ is the language spoken in football fandom, where revenge is never cold, but served hot like the pounded yam of 20 years.

In Porto, on Saturday, Chelsea’s cunning coach, Thomas Tuchel, exacted another pound of flesh from the greatest coach in club football today, Pep Guardiola, who had peppered Tuchel four times while they both coached Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

Before the UCL final, Guardiola had only lost in one of the 15 finals in his career while Tuchel had lost in his two finals only to come back a year later and win both titles.

The mantra among Nigerian football supporters is ‘the enemy of my friend is my enemy’, and inter-club banters could spring from trivias such as jersey colour or coach’s height, reinforcing the proverb which says an enemy never kills a big grasscutter, ota eni kii pa odu oya.

To understand football fans’ psychology, a peep into Nigerian politics or polygamy will suffice. Except suspicion, envy and rivalry, nothing is cast in concrete in Nigerian politics or a typical polygamous home. What is sauce for the goose is never sauce for the gander: rules change like quicksilver, depending on the idiosyncrasies of who is at the driver and the convenience of the seat.

For me, May is a month I won two battles but lost the war. One, my preferred team, Leicester defeated Chelsea 0-1 in the final of the English FA Cup. Two, Villareal, a Spanish team, defeated Manchester United in the final of the Europa League final 10-11 on penalties, but the biggest prize of all was lost to Chelsea’s never-say-die spirit and Guardiola’s oversabi which is turning into an albatross over the years.

I’m still in shock as to why Guardiola, like it’s now becoming common to him in the knockout stages of the UCL to come up with questionable line-ups, decided to play without a natural striker and a defensive midfielder on the biggest stage of club football, and Chelsea punished his indiscretion when a Mason Mount intelligent pass split open City’s defence through the very middle for Kai Havertz to maroon goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, scoring the only goal of the match.

Today, I neither intend to bemoan the twin bombs dropped on the city of Manchester by Villareal and Chelsea within three days apart, nor do I intend to count the countless teeth of Adepele, the hyperdontia that Nigeria’s political class has become.

Now that the hurlyburly’s done and the battle is won and lost, Chelsea, worthy Champions of Europe, deserve their time in the sun for ‘Blue is the colour, football is the game’.

I doff my hat for Chelsea, whose fans, britannica.com describes as one of ‘England’s most notorious gangs of football hooligans known as Headhunters’, and ‘have been responsible for organised violence in the stands since the 1970s’.

But as the euphoria of victory and the bitterness of defeat ebb, I guess it’s also time the Nigerian leadership looks in the mirror and takes lessons from the Chelsea triumph.

I wish Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, watched the match. I don’t give a hoot if they oohed or aahed during the match. All I care about is that they both did not lose the lessons inherent in the Chelsea victory.

I also wish the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege, and the leadership of the House of Representatives – all watched the match, and not lose sight of the lessons in the exemplary leadership of Tuchel, who took Chelsea from the ninth position in January this year to the pinnacle of club football four months later.

Tuchel, unlike the Buhari-Osinbajol-led government, didn’t whine about the players he inherited from Chelsea’s former coach, Frank Lampard, but settled down to work and turned an average team to Europe’s best.

I wish Nigerian political leaders at all levels saw the economic stupidity in our love for foreign football and truly develop our local leagues to partake in the multi billion dollars venture football has become globally.

As I said early on, this article is a salute to Chelsea’s indomitable spirit, and not a criticism of the inept Buhari-Osinbajo government. Tuchel picked the best available legs for every game. He wasn’t nepotistic like the Buhari-Osinbajo rudderless government, which has never criticised killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen across the country.

Tuchel understands the burden of leadership. He knows the goals of the board and the expectation of the club’s teeming supporters worldwide, and he rose to the occasion by constantly communicating with his players, never absented himself at critical moments, demonstrating compassion, exuding confidence and building trust – virtues lacking in the Buhari-Osinbajo government.

It’s Chelsea’s moment of joy, I won’t spoil their fun by allowing what a popular ex-Edo lawmaker calls ‘odoriferous saga cum gargantuan saga’ to take the shine of their victory. I won’t allow the Buhari-Osinbajo government to take the centre stage of this piece.

May was a month of Chelsea triumph. It was also a month when Nigeria’s Defence Minister, Bashir Magashi, delivered a ‘heartless’ speech at the funeral of former COAS, Lt.-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru. May was the month when the new ‘Aide-de-Camp’ to the Aide-De-Camp of Governor Nasir El-Rufai was unveiled and the incoming First Lady got into a fresh ‘thug’ of war.

May was the month when the parents of kidnapped Greenfield University students paid N180m and bought many motorcycles to secure the release of their children from kidnappers.

May Buhari and Osinbajo take the lessons of Chelsea victory beyond May.

Up Blues!

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com

Facebook: @tunde odesola

Twitter: @tunde_odesola

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