It was great to join millions of Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria who put away tribe, language, age, gender, social strata, religion and every other barrier to celebrate the victory of the Nigerian Super Eagles against Bafana Bafana of South Africa yesterday.
For the whole of today, social media has been awash with all sorts of memes expressing the joy of Nigerians (in our unique way) and messages from people far and near congratulating Nigeria and the Super Eagles over this well-deserved victory. As many have observed, this is just a glimpse of what is possible when we put away the things that divide us and face a common enemy – we are unstoppable. Of course, we have not been able to carry over this united front in fighting the problems that face us as a nation.
Thinking about how football works, in general, the coach has 23 players to draw from, but only 11 can play at a time. He has the right, along with his advisers and technical crew, to decide when a player should be substituted and another given a chance. The coach’s decision can be disruptive, but players make a lot of difference. Yes, they were picked by the coach, but their actions in individual play and as a team can make the team win or lose.
Stanley Nwabali, Super Eagles Goal Keeper Borrowing from the football analogy, the Governor of each State in Nigeria and, indeed, the President of the nation can pick his/her team. While the role of the head and their ability to make sensible choices of “players,” that is, aides, advisers, commissioners or ministers, is important, it is these players’ actions that can make or mar the match. So, having an Nwabali on the team is always great, and he does not have to be the team captain.
If there is one thing this win has taught me as a politician, it is the importance of having a solid team. I must say politics often makes things harder. Still, I look forward to a Nigeria where people who can actually do the work, make themselves available to do it and are willing to play the politics involved in winning. This can be likened to players like Lookman returning to be part of the Nigerian dream and the Nigerian team. I know that someday, we will get it right. So help us God. Talk to you again soon.