• Friday, June 21, 2024
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FG’s belated restitution to the 1994 Super Eagles team

FG’s belated restitution to the 1994 Super Eagles team

President Muhammadu Buhari’s remembrance and willingness to reward the 1994 victorious Super Eagles, who won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 28 years after, can be deemed to be a good development.

After all, there is still some truism in the stock contention that, “it is better for a promise to be delayed than not being fulfilled at all.” However, as commendable as this is, it must also be stated that this is coming rather too late. This tardiness has been put into bolder relief by the fact that some members of the victorious squad like: Rasheed Yekini, Uche Okafor, Stephen Keshi, Thompson Oliha and Wilfred Agbonavbare are dead and can no longer benefit at least directly from this long-delayed largesse.

It is quite unfortunate that the negative system of administration is inherent in Nigeria, where incumbent administrators abandon projects and promises cum commitments of their predecessors, all in the name of charting new courses.

Therefore, it is time to rewrite our leadership and political mantra and begin to approach governance in a humane way through soft security and not the hard security syndrome that we are used to!

The General Sanni Abacha-led government could not fulfil its promise, neither did the subsequent governments after that considered it wise to do so. In the process, government promises were subjected to mere vapour and camouflages. Thus governmental processes lacked integrity and the requisite continuity.

The fact that President Buhari’s administration came to the rescue of the supposedly failed promise is a pointer to the fact that a promise made to the citizenry by governments must be promptly kept. Leaders at all levels of governance in Nigeria should learn not to make rash and impulsive promises in order to keep people happy. When such promises suffer decline, as of this particular occasion, what it means is that the potential beneficiaries of the pledges have been fed with a diet of euphoria.

Needless to say, such airy promises invest the government with a toga that is devoid of honour and integrity. This untoward situation can always ensure that the government will lose respect with the populace. For unkept promises will ensure a widening of the gap between the leadership and the led.

It is on this reflective note that we are saying a big thank you to Mr. President for redeeming the promise even after almost three decades. At least, the likes of Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha, Emmanuel Amunike, Sunday Oliseh, Victor Ikpeba, Nduka Ugbade, Efan Ekoku, Uche Okechukwu, Peter Rufai, Aloy Agu, Ben Iroha, Samson Siasia, Finidi George, Mutiu Adepoju, and many others, can look back today and be proud for serving and giving their best to the fatherland.

They will feel relieved that a grateful nation did not completely forget them after all. In an unconscious way perhaps, this belated honour can also serve as something of booster to the current crop of Green Eagles players as they trade tackles with their Ghanaian counterparts.

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Our leaders should learn from the Senegalese President Macky Sall. He gifted Senegal’s victorious Africa Cup of Nations squad with financial rewards and landed properties after the Teranga Lions clinched the continental crown for the first time. The President immediately on arrival of the squad announced fiscal rewards of 50,000,000CFA ($87,178), and awarded each player the prestigious ‘Order of the Lion’ honour. These were complemented with a 200-square metre plot of land in Dakar.

Each of the players also received a 500-square metre plot of land in the first district of the new city of Diamniadio (30km from the capital).

The Senegalese players were able to get their rewards while still alive and can thus make decisions over whatever is given to them. On the other hand, what our own government has just done now is like medication after death. This is because some of these players have since died.

They are no longer alive to maximise what is given and there is every tendency that someone who may not even be on their list of beneficiaries may just cash in on the opportunity to enrich himself or herself.

To worsen matters, no one from the family may be willing to go through the rigours of claiming what rightly belongs to their kinsman i.e the football player. This is in view of the bottle-necked administrative system inherent in Nigeria.

It is just disheartening, given the ways and manners our governments make promises without making efforts to redeem them.

Again, just recently for instance, 10 months after the conclusion of the last edition of the National Sports Festival (NSF), tagged Edo 2020, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State appealed to the Federal Government to redeem the outstanding N500 million it pledged as contribution for the hosting of the event.

That is rather unbecoming for leaders to be found culpable of making promises they cannot or do not want to redeem. That amounts to playing to the gallery, as against facing the realities on ground.

If the politicians can have the funds to travel abroad at will, what stops them from attending to the rights, privileges and promises of the citizenry. In this particular instance, it should be remembered here that what we have on our hands is a government-to-government obligation. And yet a non-redemptive situation is still the name of the game.

Therefore, it is time to rewrite our leadership and political mantra and begin to approach governance in a humane way through soft security and not the hard security syndrome that we are used to!

Certainly, a nation that is steeped in broken promises like ours has a long way to go in terms of forging positive linkages with the populace. It is time for our leaders to be more prompt and humane in their dealings with the populace. And one sure way of ensuring this is to faithfully and speedily fulfil promises made to the citizenry.