Thursday 30 October 2008

Nigeria: Shamed back into hosting the Under-17 World Cup

Hosting it again

If I am to be impressed by the fact that Nigeria has now decided to host the Under-17 World Cup [1] next year, I am not by any stretch of the imagination.

Unfortunately, this is becoming reminiscent of what the Nigerian government now represents; the inability to recognise our responsibilities in a global context, the inability to persuade and align people for a common cause and the propensity to make rash decisions without considering the consequences.

As the Economist notes this week, the pace of government is so slow [2], it is no more a case of deliberate contemplation but inertia and one where it would appear the whole polity is completely bereft of ideas.

Out of sorts

It is becoming typical of people who are in power to abuse it rather than be in government to bring worthwhile change to the great country of Nigeria.

The more we review events in the country, we get to the point where it must have been a stern rebuke from the international community that lead to the U-turn – this body of people in rulership is seemingly out of sorts and out of its depth, it is terrifying.

I was taken aback when I spoke to one of my mentors in the weekend about this issue of the disgrace of shirking our responsibilities [3] of hosting the Under-17 World Cup – he opined that the decision was first of all short-sighted in the extreme and then offered that if the president had been a Southerner there would have been a better appreciation of how the reputation of Nigeria could have been damaged before announcing the pull out.

Collective sigh of disgust

Supposedly, we are all to breathe a collective sigh of relief that we are going to do our duty; but it does not take away from the avoidable and unnecessary shame that has already been visited upon us.

I also find it strange that at the point of cancellation the proposed cost was $30 million as reported then, but now it would be raised to $76 million though in the confusion surrounding the budget for hosting the games, the original cost would have been $314 million.

I find myself utterly cynical about this, not so much for the cost but that ever-present fact that a good deal of it would be absorbed in kick-backs, mobilisation fees and corrupt aggrandisement as bidding contractors have to grease palms to be offered contracts.

This huge budget would have many vested interests and shameless mendicant leeches already suffering the chronic effects of red-eyed dollar-sign conjunctivitis; it presents another opportunity to fleece Nigeria for personal gain.

Shame on you, Mr. President

This budget would be handled by the office of the Vice-President, as if the Minister of Sports does not know his brief {the buffoon has lost his job in a ministerial reshuffle} – it all appears the President is being tough, responsible, prudent and reasonable – I would be the first to suggest that nothing could be further from the truth.

I am appalled by their handling of this matter and hope that we do get to host these games eventually with some of our pride intact – meanwhile, the President and his team of cohorts should hold their heads in utter shame.


[1] BBC SPORT | Football | African | Nigeria in U-17 World Cup U-turn

[2] Nigeria's slow-moving president | Please hurry up | The Economist

[3] Nigeria: No money to host the Under-17 World Cup 2009 []

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