was privileged to watch the highlights of a major victory recorded by the Super Falconets of Nigeria at the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women World Cup taking place here in Canada. The highlight came courtesy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and can be found at http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/soccer/video/#id=2491415865&tab=3. The zeal and determination of the Nigerian girls to serve their fatherland way outshine what you find in Abuja among political jobbers. While these girls fought very hard to beat New Zealand 4-1 to reach the semi-final and are representing Nigeria with very little support by the way of resources made available to them by the Nigerian government, the same could not be said of Goodluck Jonathan who has made living large and living above board his own goal; service to Nigerians is the last thing on Jonathan's mind as shown by the way he is mishandling and distancing himself from the plight of the Chibok girls. While Aso Rock eat and drink with a budget of N1 billion, these girls accepted the call to serve their fatherland with very little made available to them. The girls showed what it means to serve with "heart and might;" they are a group Goodluck Jonathan should learn from and emulate: in putting the nation first, in sacrificing for our nation and in representing the nation with honour and integrity, virtues that are absent in Jonathan. Virtues that cost the amiable and thorough medical doctor and professional, Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who gave her life to ensure the Ebola plague did not overrun our nation. Jonathan is not even honourable enough to honour her; his hands are too dirty to present any medallion to her son. Dr. Stella Adadevoh is our heroine, our mother, sister and friend. She stood up for all of us and paid the price no one in Aso Rock is prepared to pay. The Nigerian people honour her and we will keep her memory in our hearts forever. She stood up for us and we are all indebted to her.
We knew how Super Falconets' preparation for the FIFA U-20 tournament was poorly funded and the coaches repeatedly frustrated and made to work with very little resources. I could not hold back tears as I watch the golden girls from Nigeria, who came to Canada to play and are representing Nigeria so well that even the commentators had nothing but praise for them. The girls have raised the name and image of our nation high while the kleptocrats in Aso Rock and Abuja now need the help of image launderers to rebuild a national reputation they have badly soiled and brought to disrepute. We must note that as these greyhounds (as they were referred to by the match commentators) are doing the nation proud there are more than 200 girls still in the captivity of Boko Haram inside the Sambisa Forest. But what has Goodluck Jonathan done to ensure the safe return of the Chibok girls besides going on like all is normal? Are the girls back home now? Has Jonathan not gone to Germany this weekend for personal and medical reasons riding in one of the nation's presidential jets and claiming estacode?
Inactions, poor actions and na´ve comments regarding the mishandling of the abduction of the Chibok girls effectively ruled Patience Jonathan out of the recent US-Africa Business conference that took place in the United States recently. She was forced to stay away in order to avoid contact with Western Media who have criticized her for her unwholesome, insensitive, and weird comments about the abduction and/or non-abduction of the girls. Knowing that she will be torn to shreds and humiliated by Western journalists, she was not allowed to come to a nation she would have otherwise happily visited. We were delivered from her bombastic English Language difficulties. We all now know that 'there is God oh!' I think avoiding the United States and certain disgrace was the smartest action Patience Jonathan and her husband ever took in 2014. But I am still amazed Jonathan could come to the West despite the general view of him here in the civilized world as a clueless, dumb, corrupt, inept, ignorant, non-performer, and as king kleptocrat. Smiling like a Cheshire cat in the official photograph and sandwiched between Barack and Michelle Obama, Jonathan cuts a miserable frame even as the leaders in the West laugh at him and ridicule him.
The Super Falconets also recorded victories over the Korea Republic (2-1) and England (2-1) with a 1-1 draw with Mexico. They hammered Korea 6-2 and secured a place in the final. They have succeeded despite having to put up with a terrible leadership and a hopeless federal government that is held in disdain around the world and essentially known for its kleptocratic ways. The girls have followed in the full steps of Blessing Okagbare, whose recent exploits at The Commonwealth Games and the African Athletic Championship in Marrakesh, achievements that were defined by self-determination, hardwork and motivation from the Delta State Government. The successes of this amazon were earned without any meaningful contribution from the Nigerian government. Her parents, Margaret and Francis Okaragbe are owed so much by the nation for helping and supporting her to achieve so much. The success of Blessing and the Super Falconets is representative of the achievements and successes of the average Nigerian professional at home and abroad. Everyone is on his/her own; each must struggle against all odds put in the way by a very corrupt system and leadership that takes full advantage of the nation and its people. To succeed in the absence of basic necessities of life and to record huge achievements has made the individual Nigerian a super human being. A nation that lack direction and that is denied a semblance of leadership in today's world is most likely doomed to fail, but Nigerians at individual levels still manage to record some successes and even win a Nobel Prize for Literature!
I returned from the United States the other day to find a message on my voice mail from the library asking me to come down within 7 days to pick up the book I had requested, the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Nobel Prize winner. Marquez died recently and interests in his books rose; many people who read his obituary and have never read his books now wanted to do so. I was one of them. I logged in to search for his books in the library and found that they have all been borrowed, so I joined the long list of people who wanted to read One Hundred Years. I knew the neighbourhood library where I chose to pick up the novel was undergoing some renovation so I called the City Library line to find out where to go for the book. I was told the renovation has been completed. Excited by this news, I proceeded to the library. I was shocked by the changes: a new second floor full of books and magazines, a new book conveyor system, a bigger children section with more resources for kids, a new book tracking system, a new self-service system that allows you to borrow or return a book, new and bigger computer sections and bigger reading rooms and magazine sections. A mixture of joy and sadness suddenly filled my heart. I was joyful because there is now more space, more books, new technology and more computers in the newly upgraded library in Ottawa, and then anger and sadness that such a development is not taking place in Nigeria, my home nation.
Rather than build or upgrade libraries and schools the kleptocrats in Nigeria are acquiring more presidential jets, more limousines, bigger convoy of cars and SUVs, private planes from stolen funds, bigger houses with even bigger pillars, and excessive expansions in Aso Rock, looting the treasury and assigning to themselves oil blocks that are supposed to be the collective wealth and property of the people of Nigeria. I brought out my BlackBerry and took photos of the renovated library hoping to post the photos in my blog for Jonathan, David Mark, Aminu Tambuwal and the governors to see. I wonder if Jonathan, Mark or Tambuwal has held, touched or read any book in many months. I know they have dealt in naira, dollar, pounds and other currencies on a regular basis, but not books. Books are very unpopular in Nigeria, particularly among the leadership who are far more interested in what they can loot than in knowledge, books and libraries. When are Nigerian children, youths, and adults going to join the league of people who daily enjoy libraries and have regular, easy access to books? I found Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in the Hold Section, checked the book out, and went out of the library with mixed feelings. One thing was certain in my mind: a very corrupt and rudderless leadership cannot stand in the way of self-driven, hardworking and determined people.