Pelé: Shame of Nigeria’s vagabond leadership
(Published in The PUNCH, on Monday, January 2, 2023)
With a halo round his head, Pelé packed lightning in his right foot, thunder in his left; the reason his footsteps sparkled, the reason he shone like a million stars, the reason he was named Edson after the inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison: the reason he turned football to ‘jogo bonito’ – the beautiful game.
Pelé was born in the morning of October 23, 1940 when electric light arrived in his hometown of Três Corações, a city in Minas Gerais, light and sunlight heralded the son of light to the delight of mother Celeste and father Dondinho, a foregone Fluminense forward reputed to have scored five headed goals in a match, a record Pelé eyed but could’t match.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento but globally called Pelé, a nickname he picked up as a child when teammates derided him for the way he pronounced Bilé, his father’s goalkeeper teammate; Pelé, the misnamed, has become Pelé, the main name.
If the ball was blazing at his feet, it was also magnetic in his hands. As a striker, Pelé was a terror to defenders just as he was a nightmare to strikers whenever he kept the goal, shouting, “Segura, Bilé,” a battle cry to his teammates. Segura means safe in Portuguese language, and the young Pelé was so talented that he was also Santos’ second choice goalkeeper, according to online sports medium, en.as.com.
After 18 years of exotic football at Santos FC, Pelé hung up his boots on October 2, 1974, following his club’s 2-0 victory over Associação Atlética Ponte Preta, and looked forward to life after retirement.
But fate had the first laugh. In a 2013 biography, “Pelé: A Importância do Futebol,” the legend recounts the surprise visit of his accountant. “I remember the moment he entered the house as if it were yesterday. He was sweating profusely. He was pale, he looked like he was about to faint. I could tell something was wrong so I made a little joke: ‘How many million have we still got?’ I nearly had to call the doctor when he replied: ‘Look, this is very difficult…’” Pelé discovered that all his money had gone and he had lost all the 41 properties he invested in.
Never say die, Pelé picked the bits and pieces of his life together, thereafter, and considered the prospect of returning to football and accepting a long rejected offer to play in the US for the New York Cosmos.
Popularly referred to as ‘O Rei’, Portuguese term for ‘The King’, Pelé met a former President and General Manager of New York Cosmos, Clive Toye, in Brussels, where he had gone for an international friendly. On the cliff edge of financial doom, Pelé felt it was time he listened to Toye, who offered him a $2.8m contract when the highest paid NBA player, Kareem Abdul-Jabber, was earning $450,000 a year. Light shone in again.
At 34, Pele, who had retired eight months earlier, debuted for New York Cosmos on June 15, 1975, scoring a goal and providing an assist in a 2-2 draw against Dallas Tornado. For the three seasons he played for Cosmos, Pele netted 37 goals and won the NASL title known as the North American league crown in his final season, swimming out of bankruptcy to financial harbour. Pelé had the last laugh.
Growing up, Pelé knew the colours of poverty having been apprenticed to be a shoemaker. But football gave the son of destiny his first break when he won the World Cup and played for Santos, and when he faced financial suffocation, football also rescued him, changing his status from penury to prosperity as he made most of his money after he retired from Cosmos.
Thus, Pelé first rose to fame, then slipped into insolvency and later rode onto the pantheon of all-time sports greats, nestling at the apogee of soccer immortality for over 40 years until death sold cancer to Pelé’s colon and metastasized the entrails of the lethal striker. And Pelé kicked the bucket!
Death blew the final whistle on Pelé just when the samba king was about to dribble into 2023, hacking him down in the 18-yard box. Cruelly, death did not give Pelé a penalty, it gave him a red card, marching him out of the pitch of life.
When Pelé was writhing in pain from the fatal tackle from death, he didn’t run abroad for medical treatment like Nigerian prodigal leaders would do. He stayed in Brazil, taking treatment at the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital located in Morumbi, southern São Paulo.
Pelé invested his hard-earned football income in Brazil, creating jobs and supporting the economy in a commendable demonstration of patriotism, unlike public treasury-looting Nigerian leaders who stash their heists abroad, refuse to pay taxes and inflict suffering on the masses through multiple taxes and neglect of hospitals, schools and roads.
The Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital is renowned as the best in Latin America even as it reportedly ranks in the top 50 globally. It is owned by a group of Jewish community members in São Paulo. If the Brazilian government didn’t provide a secure atmosphere for the hospital to operate since 1971, the hospital would not be a pride of Brazil today, providing top-notch medicare to humanity.
Not only have Nigerian political leaders abandoned healthcare services provided by even foreign experts in Nigeria, they flee abroad to treat dandruff and hold political meetings while commending the masses to utilise decrepit public healthcare facilities they won’t recommend for pets.
As long as telecommunications companies and banks oil legislature palms without ceasing, blindness will continue to afflict legislative oversight functions that should check fraudulent bank charges and insane billing by telecommunication firms. Today, a mere ‘hello’ is costlier than a New Year broadcast from hell.
Brazilian pastors and imams didn’t go online to predict that witches and wizards were behind Pelé’s sickness like fake Nigerian clerics would do. A notorious Nigerian celestial cleric with a chest like a barrel of liquor from the Tibetan region of the Himalayas, shamelessly claimed God told him that France would defeat Argentina in the recent World Cup final, mopping his burnt face and foaming in the mouth like a rabid dog.
Pelé, the winner of three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), still has a mother, Celeste, who is 100 years old. He played football on the streets but wasn’t shot dead by a police officer like pregnant lawyer Bolanle Raheem was shot dead by an accursed Assistant Superintendent of Police, Drambi Vandi.
Before he dropped out of school in fourth grade, kidnappers didn’t storm Pelé’s school to cart away pupils into the night like they did in Chibok, Borno State, and Dapchi in Yobe State.
As a budding player, Pelé was in various football camps, lodging in different hotels. There was no report of Pelé or any of his teammates being molested not to talk of being killed like an Obafemi Awolowo postgraduate student, Timothy Adegoke, was allegedly murdered in his sleep at Hilton Hotel, Ile-Ife.
If Pelé was shot dead by Brazilian soldiers like ‘zombie’ soldiers massacred Nigerian youths at the Lekki Tollgate, how would Brazil have profited from Pelé’s prodigy? Who knows how many Pelés, Albert Einsteins and Thomas Edisons have been sent to early graves by the Nigerian leadership?
As a mark of respect to the late Pelé, I decided to halt the conclusion of the two-part series I began last week, entitled, “Pelé can’t untie Messi’s shoelace (1).” Football tempers flared over the article which garnered thousands of likes on PUNCH Facebook page as well as some criticisms.
I must admit that the conversation over who football’s GOAT is will never end as long as football remains round. But I stand by Lionel Messi; he’s my GOAT. I shall return.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
IGP tenure: Police affairs minister goofed, says rights group
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) has faulted Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, for saying the current Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, would not be retiring midway into the general elections.
The IGP was due to retire on March 1 this year. But the minister was quoted last Wednesday after leaving the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that President Muhammadu Buhari had extended Baba’s tenure as IGP, citing Nigeria Police Act 2020 to indicate the current IGP would serve four-year tenure.
But RIFA, in a statement signed by its president, Luqman Soliu, said it viewed the minister’s position as inconsistent with the laws of the land.
It argued that the minister’s position ran contrary to the law and that the quoted Act was being misinterpreted, adding the tenure elongation could create a problem in the police force.
The statement read in part, “Usman Alkali Baba record at Nigeria Police Force showed his date of birth as March 1, 1963 while he enlisted into Nigeria Police Force on March 15, 1988 as Assistant Superintendent of Police and is expected to bow out of active service on March 1, 2023 when he would clock 60 years. Similarly, the IGP by March 15,2023 would clock 35 years in service. As a result, his post would be vacant effective March 1, 2023.
“However, the law is explicit on the tenure of any IGP and those qualified to be IGP.
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“The minister was said to be relying on Nigeria Police Act, 2020 Section 7(3) and (6) to arrive at his position.
“Also, the minister was further quoted to have said the IGP was appointed by the President on April 6,2021 but his appointment confirmed in June 2021 by the Nigeria Police Council in line with the laws of the land and so must spend four (4) years.
“Even though the tenure of the IGP has witnessed improved compliance with the laws of Nigeria and sanctioning/discipline of some errant police officers mostly reported by the media, that cannot warrant elongating his tenure beyond the constitutionally guaranteed period.
“On the issue of the IGP, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is very clear on the appointment and removal of IGP when it states in section 215 (1) (a) that:“An Inspector-General of Police who, subject to section 216 (2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force”.
“In addition, section 216(2) provides that: “Before making any appointment to the office of the Inspector-General of Police or removing him from office the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council”.
“Similarly, Nigeria Police Act 2020 states in Section 7(2)that ‘the person to be appointed as Inspector-General of Police shall be a senior police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) with the requisite academic qualifications of not less than a first degree or its equivalent in addition to professional and management experience’; Section 7(3) of same Police Act states ‘The Inspector General of Police shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force’. Also, Section 7(6) provides ‘The person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years’. This subsection was what the minister was relying on to make his position. However, Section 18 (8) of Nigeria Police Act, 2020 is explicit on tenure of a police officer when it says, ‘Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier’. So, the law states that someone who is no longer a police officer or who is not a police officer cannot be IGP. So, if the law says by 60 years of age or by 35 years in police service, IGP Usman Alkali is no longer a police officer, how then can he be eligible to be IGP afterwards when the laws says only a serving police officer can be IGP?
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“With the above, the law is very clear on the tenure of a serving IGP and which the President or a Minister cannot override as the law is superior to occupant of any post in the land. Therefore, instead of the minister dissipating energy to seeking the extension of tenure of IGP Usman Alkali, he should focus his energy on searching for the next IGP before the end of February 2023 when Usman Alkali would cease to be a police officer.
“Similarly, the minister should occupy himself with how to convene the next Police Council meeting that would recommend a new IGP for appointment before March 1, 2023.
“Therefore, the minister and the government should stop contemplating on tenure elongation for the current IGP. Rather, the government should strive for improved policing that meets the yearnings of the populace and restore public confidence in the Force.”
Old age comes with aggression: Be patient with your parents (an appraisal of Qur’an17 : 23-24)
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
Towards understanding your religion: A short treatise on Sujūd as-sahw
Sujūd as-Sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) is a corrective measure legislated by Allāh to rectify certain unintended mistakes in Salāt. It is necessitated by any of the following 3 things:
1. Omission of an action of Salāt
2. Addition of an action of Salāt
3. Doubt over the performance or non-performance of an action of Salāt.
It is important to note that the action of Salāt that necessitates Sujūd as-Sahw is one that falls under any of the following categories:
The Arkān (pillars) of Salāt are:
1. Standing (for the one that is capable)
2. The opening Takbīrah
3. Recitation of Fātiha
5. Rising from it
6. Being straight after rising
8. Rising from it
9. Sitting in-between the two prostrations
10. Performing each pillar with accuracy
11. The last tashahhud (in a 3 or 4 raka’ah prayer & the only one in a two raka’ah prayer)
12. Sitting for the last tashahhud
13. The taslīm
14. Sequential order of the pillars
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The wājibāt (obligatory actions) of Salāt are as follows:
1. Any other Takbīrat apart from the opening Takbīrah
2. Saying of Sami’Allāhu liman hamidah
3. Saying of Rabbānā laka al-hamd
4. Saying of Subhāna rabī al-adhīm in bowing
5. Saying of Subhāna rabī al-A’lā in prostration
6. Saying of Rabbi ighfirlī in the sitting between sujūd
7. The first tashahhud
8. Sitting for the first tashahhud
These are the actions that necessitate the observance of Sujūd as-Sahw should one omit, add, or doubt their performance in Salāt forgetfully. It doesn’t matter if the Salāt were fard (obligatory) or nafl (supererogatory).
It’s important to note that this Sujūd applies to all persons observing Salāt (male/female, old/young, Imām/follower of an Imām/lone worshipper). It’s a compulsory action that’s needed to rectify an unintended mistake in Salāt.
A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
Forms of Sujūd as-Sahw
Sujūd as-Sahw occurs at the tail end of Salāt after recitation of the final tashahhud. Depending on the incident that warrants it, it may be performed before the Taslīm (salutation of peace that ends Salāt)or after it.
If it is performed before the taslīm, it is termed ‘Qablī’, and if it is performed after taslīm, it is termed ‘Ba’dī’. The Arabic words قَبْلُ and بَعْدُ connote before & after respectively. Thus, the terms قَبْلِيٌّ & بَعْدِيٌّ are shortened forms of قبل التسليم/بعد التسليم.
Sujūd as-Sahwi is like the normal Sujūd of Salāt. It’s not special in any way. It consists of two Sajdah (prostration) with the normal adhkār of Sujūd; “Subhāna rabbiya’l-A’lā wa bihamdihī” or any other known adhkār of Sujūd (check Sifatu Salāti’n-Nabiyy by Al-Albānī)
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It is important to note that Muslim Jurists have expressed divergent views on whether Sujūd as-Sahw must be observed before the taslīm or after it, irrespective of whether the case was an omission, an addition or that of doubt. The summary of the views is as follows:
Hanafiyyah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come after Taslīm.
Shāfi’iyyah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come before Taslīm.
Hanābilah: All Sujūd as-Sahw must come before Taslīm save in 2 cases:
(i) If one makes Taslīm before completion of Salāt e.g. saying Taslīm after 2/3 raka’ats in dhuhr
(ii) If one doubts the exact number of raka’ah that he has prayed but decided to settle for the dominant number in his mind. In both instances, he must make the Sujūd after Taslīm.
Mālikiyyah: Sujūd as-Sahw can occur either before or after the Taslīm, depending on the case. Thus, if it’s a case of omission, it must come before Taslīm, and if it’s a case of addition, it must come after Taslīm. If, however, both omission & addition occur in the particular Salāt, then, the Sujūd must come before the Taslīm. These are the various views of the Jurists.
Sometimes, some people find themselves in a situation where they can not independently determine whether to do the Sujūd before Taslīm or after it. Before I go into specifics in the next thread, know this: Whichever if the Sujūd you do suffices, irrespective of the case.
Do not worry about whether the Sujūd was done before the Taslīm in a case of addition or that it was done after the Taslīm in a case of omission. What matters is that one does the Sujūd in order to rectify and make up for the unintended error committed in any of the acts of Salāt mentioned in the introduction to this treatise. That’s it. Your Salāt remains valid. Don’t let anyone confuse you & do not torture yourself trying to figure out what to do at when. Do I even need to go into specifics again? This is clear enough. I think.
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In conclusion, it’s important to note that after the Sujūd as-Sahw, there’s no need to repeat the tahiyyāt. One should immediately conclude the Salāt by uttering the Taslīm. If, however, one repeats the tahiyyāt either knowingly or unknowingly, his/her Salāt remains valid.
A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
Categories of Worshippers With Regards to Sujūd as-Sahw
There are 3 categories of worshippers with regards to the Sujūd as-Sahw. They are:
1. The lone worshipper
2. The Imām
3. Follower of the Imām. This category is further divided into two:
a. The one that observed the prayer in full with the Imām
b. The one that missed a part of the prayer. This category is further divided into two:
a. The one that witnessed the mistake of the Imām
b. The one that joined the Salāt after the mistake has been made.
If a lone worshipper remembers after recitation of Fātiha but before observing rukū’ that he did not make the takbīrat al-Ihrām (opening Takbīrah), he must make the Takbīrah & continue his Salāt. In this situation, he’s not to make Sujūd as-Sahw. If, however, he remembers while on rukū’ or subsequent acts, he must return to the standing position, make the Takbīrat al-Ihrām, complete the Salāt and make the Sujūd as-Sahw after Taslīm.
Also, if he remembers after standing for the 2nd raka’ah, he must discard all that he has prayed immediately & start the Salāt afresh. After Taslīm, he must perform the Sujūd as-Sahw. This same rule applies to if the forgotten pillar were recitation of Fātiha. If he hasn’t reached the rukū’, he should recite Fātiha & no Sujūd as-Sahw is on him.
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If he has reached the rukū’, he must return to the standing position & recite Fātiha. After the Taslīm, he must make the Sujūd as-Sahw. If the lone worshipper recites Fātiha twice forgetfully, there’s nothing on him. If he recites loudly in a Salāt of silent recitation or vice versa, there’s no Sujūd on him. If he remembers in the middle of the recitation, he should continue from that verse without repeating all that he has recited earlier. If he unintentionally recites Fātiha twice, he’s not obliged to observe Sujūd as-Sahw according to the most authoritative view.
A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
If the lone worshipper rises to an extra raka’ah (i.e. rising to a 3rd in Subh, or to a 4th in Maghrib, or to a 5th in Dhuhr, ‘Asr, or Ishā’), he must sit down immediately he realizes the error, recite the tahiyyāt, make Taslīm and prostrate twice thereafter. If he continues without sitting, his Salāt becomes invalid & he will start afresh.
If the lone worshipper forgets to make iqāmah before commencement of Salāt, his Salāt is valid & he doesn’t need to do any Sujūd. The iqāmah is neither a rukn (pillar) nor wājib(obligatory act) of Salāt.
If the lone worshipper forgets to say سمع الله لمن حمده or ربنا ولك الحمد, he must do the Sujūd before Taslīm. Once he has left the position where those statements are made, he needs not return to make it up. The Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm will take care of it.
If the lone worshipper forgets to say the adhkār of rukū’ or Sujūd at least once, he must do the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm (in the view of the hanābilah). The majority of scholars regard those adhkār as Sunnah & as such no Sujūd is required.
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A SHORT TREATISE ON SUJŪD AS-SAHW
If the lone worshipper remembers in the last raka’ah that he unintentionally omitted a pillar of Salāt (recitation of Fātiha or Rukū’, etc) in any of the previous raka’ah, he must discard that raka’ah and start counting from the one next to it. After the Taslīm, he must perform the Sujūd as-Sahw. Also, if he remembers in the last raka’ah that he omitted Fātiha in the first & rukū’ in the second, then, he must discard both raka’ahs & start counting from the raka’ah he’s on. In all of these, he must performs the Sujūd as-Sahw after Taslīm.
If the lone worshipper forgets to sit for the first Tashahhud but instead rose to the third raka’ah, here, there are three situations:
a. If he intends rising but is yet to rise. In this instance, he sits & recites the tashahhud & is not obliged to do Sujūd as-Sahw.
b. If he were on the rise but was yet to rise fully. In this instance, he must return back to the sitting position & recite the tahiyyāt.
c. If he had fully risen. Here, he must not return back to sitting. If he does, his Salāt becomes invalid (according to a view, another view is, he may return so long as he was yet to commence recitation of Fātiha. I favour the former view that he should not return once he’s fully risen). In both cases, he performs the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm.
If the lone worshipper forgets to recite sūrah after Fātiha, his Salāt is valid & he doesn’t have to make any Sujūd as-Sahw. Recitation of sūrah after is not compulsory. If, however, he does the Sujūd as-Sahw before Taslīm, his Salāt remains valid.
Dr. Sanusi Lafiagi is a lecturer in Department of Islamic Studies, Al-Hikmah University Ilorin
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