Written by Paul I. Adujie
During these past several days, there were newsworthy events in Nigeria and the Cameroons, two events with national and international consequences, including adverse publicity for both nations with common borders.
First, it was the disbandment of the Super Eagles, the premier member and arrowhead of Nigerian Football Association. The Super Eagles was Nigeria's representative at the ongoing World Cup fiesta in South Africa, in which the Nigerian team had an embarrassingly lackluster demonstration of soccer or football prowess. The Super Eagles did not even show a scintilla of cohesion and determination to score goals and win matches.
At the end, the Super Eagles of Nigeria were quickly and rapidly eliminated without fanfare. The Super Eagles were famously predicted and forecast for failure by Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike. Upon the elimination of the Super Eagles, the government of Nigeria promptly "banned" the Super Eagles as Nigeria football club and future representative in future football/soccer efforts by Nigeria in international arenas.
In the Cameroons, the local council in Yaonde abruptly and arbitrarily engaged in arresting and rounding off beggars and panhandlers off the streets and off of major roadways intersections, this in an effort to curb what the city council described as a public nuisance and an inconvenience. Some Cameroonians who publicly commented on the city council actions, supported the council, arguing that most of the children are witches with ability to cast spells and sundry ill-wills, bad-luck and unspecified evils. Others commented that the begging phenomenon was an eyesore, a public nuisance with, again, unspecified debilitating effects on public morality and decency etc
Rectitude and moral certainty of a religious type was pervasive and permeated all the comments.
And yet, in both Nigeria and the Cameroons, there were convergences and confluences in both events, the effects and reactions with moral exactitude, but without reticence and or zilch of concerns for the root causes of failures in football/soccer competition by Nigeria and the phenomenon of begging in the Cameroons. The incidences of beggars engaged in public begging or panhandling, is incidentally, very common in Nigeria as well.
These two events in the Cameroons and Nigeria were the results and outcomes of failures by the governments to have long term public policies in place which should have dealt with both circumstances. The failure to have long term plans and policies to address social circumstances, which produced outcomes which were clearly unpleasant, and therefore quite embarrassing to both governments and peoples of the Cameroons and Nigeria, respectively. But instead of seeking answers through thorough examinations of the root causes of both outcomes in the Cameroons and Nigeria, the governments chose knee-jerk reactions. Governments in both nations seem to want to design and build their jet planes as they fly such planes or design and sew their shirts as they travel on public buses!
These sorts of behaviors are of course not peculiar to the Cameroons and Nigeria or to only African nations. Here in the United States, it has often amazed and baffled me when city and state governments in the New York and in other states in the United States engage in destruction through demolitions of public housing edifices in senseless efforts in the fights against narcotics trade. So that in the past twenty-five, I have often been witness to the demolition of major public housing projects in California, Illinois, New York etc by the various local and state governments, which hinges these senseless demolitions on the so-called wars against substance abuse. It can be gleaned from these perhaps, that, stupidity by governments is international.
It quite obvious and exceedingly clear to anyone, even with a cursory examination, that the buildings are not the problems. The problems are clearly caused by persons with anti social behaviors, who are motivated by greed for quick profits from trade in narcotic substances, are too willing to subvert their neighborhoods, towns and country as they engage in narco-trade. The problems are clearly caused by persons who are affected and afflicted by the lopsidedness of the economic and political structures of the American society, whereby, these persons are desperate enough, and so, employing any and every means are considered fair by these desperate perpetrators.
So, it is the case that various levels of governments in the United States have frequently resorted to demolishing chunks and chunks of sizable real estate in American major cities in the name of decimating hiding places for drug dealers and peddlers of narcotic substances. However, the phantom wars on drugs in America have continued unabated despite these wanton wastes of real estate space and the squandering of several hundreds in billions of dollars by the Americans in drug wars of more than four decades long! All told, the buildings go down in these demolitions, and the peddlers of death remain in the communities
Nigeria and Cameroon have demonstrated similar bents with the two actions in reactions to policy failure events as described above; that is, the spate of football tournament failures and the increased incidents of street beggars.
The Americans, the Cameroonians, and the Nigerian governments in all these instances, have reacted in some sorts of ad hoc manners. These sorts of nervous and squirms reactions in embarrassment to failures of public policies, are certainly no substitute to well thought out and well reasoned policies.
There seem to failures on the part of these governments to realize that some eggs have to be broken to make or create omelets, while the eggshells do not amount to much thereafter. The government of the United States changed the name of Mineral Management Service, MMS to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement or BOEMRE as if the name MMS was why the MMS employees were engaged in corruptions including engaging in sexual intercourse and narcotic and substance abuses with employees of oil companies which MMS were supposed to supervise or act as oversights. MMS demonstrate incredulity and exceeding ineptitude in the aftermath of the BP gusher of oil catastrophe and disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
And one of the reactions by the United States government was to swiftly change the inept and inefficient and bungling blunder of a nomenclature known as the MMS to BOEMRE as if the ineptness, the inefficiency, the ineffectiveness of MMS was in the name! And yes, I am aware the Super Eagles were formerly the Green Eagles.
I am also familiar with arguments which opposed the elephant logo of the now comatose Nigeria Airways, they argued that ineptness, inefficiency and ineffectiveness of our then national airline was as a result of the logo which portrayed an elephants with wings, as after all, they insisted, elephants really do not fly! All reasonable persons can disagree as to factors which led to hemorrhage of the Nigeria Airways as a national and international carrier, but the elephant with wings logo is certainly not one of those factors to be considered, except by person who believe in the Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs
First, these governments need to thoroughly examine, evaluate and analyze the causes of naro-trade, street begging and failures in sports outing respectively. Upon examining, evaluating and analyzing these causes, there should be formulations and implementations of remedies and solutions which will endure and stand the tests of time. A regimens of solutions which will prevent future failures, hence the attendant unpleasantness and shameful recoils in embarrassments.
But instead, what we have frequently and repeatedly witnessed from these governments, are efforts at window-dressing , facing-saving whitewash and meaningless perorations and hastily assembled spin doctoring for public consumption. These are usually undertaken without sanguine and thoughtful clear eyed view of the root causes and permanent policy resolve which tackles phenomena, once and for all times. Retrofitting a building or demolishing it, does not eliminate drug trade or the habits of residents and occupants and squatters of the building. Just as name change for an energy agency would not curb ineptitude, and banning a football club does not address the lack of confidence and cohesion or training by such team. Arresting and arbitrarily banishing beggars and panhandlers does not address their destitution, their abject poverty and the source of their decision to become beggars as "profession"
Demolishing buildings nationwide, buildings in which narcotic trade take place has not stopped or slowed the persisting sales and consumptions of crack cocaine heroin marijuana angel dust, ecstasy, pcp and other illegal chemical substances or poison pills in America ,with which some Americans get high or induce self stupor, and make some other American rich in the process. Demolishing buildings to stop or stem drug dealing, peddling or drug trade is similar to demolishing school buildings because the students have failing grades; It is probably better to hire a new headmaster or principal and teachers with dedication etc
Banning and Banishing the Super Eagles of Nigeria surely cannot be substitute in policy in ensuring a that there are robust provision of resources and manpower for a national football-soccer team with vigorous trainings and profound sense of mission and determination to conquer every opponent it encounters. The Nigerian Football Association, the Super Eagles and the government of Nigeria and all Nigerians should begin this process through, first examining the cause of failures in competition by national sports teams from Nigeria. All Nigerians should begin with having self confidence and adjusting national attitudes from inferiority complexes and damaged psyches ÔÇŽ to exuding confidence for which Nigerians were formerly known.
Nigeria, and the other five African nations which were present at the World Cup fiesta in South Africa, all had something in common, inferiority complex imbued and encrusted in the idea that, only a FOREIGN coach could lead an African nation to victory, and now, where the heck is that victory? Victory? Why shall we even broach the vexing matter of victory, when none of the African nations with foreign coaches and all, even got to the semi final matches in the football-soccer fiesta? The United States, the newest convert to the world of football or soccer, has demonstrated such self confidence and exceptionalism, and does not hinge her World Cup success and soccer growth and development on foreign coaches and foreign managers!
African nations have great footballers-soccer players in America and Europe, but, somehow, these Africans cannot be excellent coaches and managers of their national and continental ball clubs? Mr. Stephen Keshi did well in Togo, did he not as coach-manager? Emmanuel Okala, Siasia, Segun Odegbami cannot make good coaches and managers? Why do Africans give the impression through certain actions, that Africans are inferior to all others? Nigeria was among 32 best soccer playing nations out of the more than 200 nations on earth. Nigerians do not need foreign coaches and managers
African footballers-soccer players as excellent, hence six African teams were amongst the world's thirty-two best teams which got to the World Cup fiesta in South Africa through global eliminations in series. These African footballers-soccer stars, have interacted with all the ball clubs on earth, but, still, we hear arguments which insists that African teams need coaches and club managers from Europe who are "exposed" world teams outside of Africa!
Cameroon banished and carted street beggars off of its metropolis, because these fellow citizens are a public nuisance and eyesores, embedded with witchcraft and all manners of evils, at least, according to the ignorant comments made on BBC radio by some Cameroonians! But, none of their self-righteous indignation addressed the root causes of street begging and the beggar phenomenon, such as abject poverty and destitution! The attitudes towards these abjectly poor members of the Cameroonian society is identical with the sorry and ignorant attitudes in Nigeria, by some elitist and misguided Nigerians regarding street beggars and Almajiri. Nigerians and Cameroonians have refused to address the cause, but instead, they are fixated on the effect, and in arbitrary and most highhanded manners, they seek to dislodge the abjectly poor, from their own pristine elitist sight and public views!
These Nigerian and Cameroonian ignorance, begs the questions, why do we have street beggars? Why do we have abject poverty and why does destitution persists in our societies? Or put in other ways, why is it, that doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and social workers and bankers in Nigeria and the Cameroons are not among the hated street beggars? Could there be a reason why the poor and the afflicted actually resort to the enviable profession of panhandling as beggars of alms in our metropolis? There must be no reasons!
We humans, but in particular, we Africans, must learn to associate causes with effects. We must learn to decipher raison d'etere of failures and the consequent unpleasantness and world stage embarrassments.
It is often said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Therefore, nations which fail to have well thought out and well reasoned public policies which formulates, implements policies, policies which are in turn supported with adequate human capital, superb intellects and available resources, are doomed to humiliating failures knee jerk ad hoc and arbitrary actions in reactions to such failures, are no substitutes to excellent planning, planning ahead and mapping a game plan for glory.
Brazil and Argentina do not start preparing for the World Cup when there a mere thirty days to the fiesta, and these nations do not hire foreign coaches either! Argentina and Brazil were projected and over-forecast to get to the finals, but, both nations are out, but no one doubted their self confidence, or whether their preparations were thorough and supplied with adequate human capital and material resources, both nations are out, but not down, embarrassed or squirming in unpleasantness.
Brazil and Argentina failed, unbowed, as they exited with dignity. Uruguay is a nation of three and half million people, and she was the first to host and win the World Cup in 1930 and Uruguay is doing well in the current World Cup fiesta in South Africa, better than Britain, France, and even the new kid on the bloc, the United States!
We must eschew shortsightedness and failures to plan ahead and worse, we must stop hand wringing when the consequences of our lack of vision and passion for success stares us in the face. Failures bears unpleasantness and public embarrassments, success elicit admiration and adoration. We must have confidence, and confidence in our ability as individuals and as a collective in a national entity.
The difference between successful entities and failing entities, is frequently that the successful entities are willing to do often, what the failing entities are only willing to do occasionally. We can do better and we should!