Monday, 20 August 2012

LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: A PATRIOT’S VIEW


The London 2012 Logo and the Medals at Stake
The Olympics have come and gone, at least until 2016, but Nigeria’s dismal showing is one that has called to question once again the thorny issue of patriotism. The Olympics is a quadrennial event that serves as a meeting point for elite athletes (for most sports) to compete and aspire to win. Realistically, with about 11,000 sportsmen and sportswomen competing in 302 events, not all athletes will make it to the podiums, but for most that do not, it would still have been a good show. Let us be honest with ourselves, we did not deserve a medal at the Olympics, and getting one would have been a travesty and a rape on hard work and preparation. But in dissecting this woeful performance, everyone involved must not be lumped together, the wheat and the chaff needs to be separated so to each we give its own.  The roles of Administrators, Sportsmen and Sportswomen, and Sponsors in this national disgrace have to be assessed individually.

The Joy of Great Female Olympians who did themselves and their countries proud at London 2012

The Nigerian athletes must be commended for having the patriotism and courage to line up and compete against those athletes from USA, China, GB, Russia, South Korea, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary and Australia who had been preparing for the London 2012 Games from earlier than Beijing 2008; who had prompt and sufficient funding from their respective governments and corporate sponsors alike; who benefited from public sports institutions where they could train with the best equipment and facilities; who had access to the best trainers, physiotherapists, doctors, nutritionists and sports psychologists; who were highly motivated for personal and national pride; who were treated like ambassadors/envoy of their countries which they were in reality. Little wonder they were always happy to flaunt their national flags upon achieving success. Of course, we have all heard about the N2.3 Billion spent on the Olympics by the NOC, but we heard about the N1 Trillion spent on Fuel Subsidy too, didn’t we?
The Joy of Great Male Olympians who did themselves and their countries proud at London 2012

With speed that will challenge Usain Bolt’s, the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi called a Press Conference and solemnly informed us all that “TEAM NIGERIA HAS FAILED” - as if that was breaking news. He raved, rambled, and ranted, but in the midst of the entire rabble, I was able to unearth these action plans:
1. Identify five sports that give us competitive opportunities.
2. Restructure the Federations of these Sports to make them more democratic, accountable and efficient.
3. Develop a Sports Calendar that will ensure year-round sports activities both within and outside the schools.
4. Initiate strategic engagement with the private sector with the aim to improve funding for sports.
5. Strengthen our coaching and training capabilities by developing strategic partnership with national and international bodies.
These action plans are laudable and commendable, in all honesty we couldn’t have asked for more, but it will not draw any applause from me because this is year 2012, and this is not what we should be discussing. This is what, like in other countries, should have been done ages ago, and the result we should have been reaping for some time now. Another reason I am not filled with optimism is because this is a well-worn path after every sporting failure, we are fond of coming back to the “drawing board”, reviewing the performance and coming up with “blueprints” and “white papers” to forestall a recurrence, only to repeat the cycle after the next avoidable disappointment.



The only time the Nigerian flag was held aloft
Naturally, just as we are late bloomers in almost everything, we are also slow to realize that sports goes beyond recreation. Sports is not just about winning medals and setting records, it is an avenue for national glorification and global recognition. The global media will always stick to the norm of "bad news is good news" and "if it bleeds, it leads", but with commendable performances on the tracks, fields, and pools, each country can tell its own story in its own words. The battle for supremacy among the USA, China, GB and Russia was there to see and that should tell us sports goes beyond mere running and jumping. Excelling in sports will surely put a country in the spotlight with everybody to see in real-time the positives that comes out of the country - Sports is an avenue to flaunt Patriotism and Nationalism. Now that the Minister of Sports have realized that, we can only hope it is not just lip service but a real intention and determination to propel Nigerian sports forward. 

Thank You!
God Bless Us All!!
See You Next Time!!!


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Saturday, 11 August 2012

PROJECT SHAME… WHAT A CRINGING!!!


Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.  ~ Albert Einstein

Nowadays, verifying the authenticity of the origin of quotes on the internet it is akin to passing a donkey through the eye of a needle, but the above quotation looks like a statement Einstein might say, just like all those gbagauns sound like something Dame might utter, so let us agree for the purpose of this discourse that the great Physicist actually said those “words on the marble”. Suffice to say I absolutely agree with Einstein (of course we all always agree with Einstein), but Einstein totally ignored a scenario where the fish actually sees itself as having the ability to climb a tree, didn’t he? And that was the exact scenario that became a recurring decimal at the auditions for the reality-tv-show “Project Fame”. There are only two explanations for the flotsam and jetsam that swarm up on the auditions:
  1. They have auditory impairments so they heard the word “shame” instead of “fame”, and that impairment also explains their being absolutely tone-deaf too.
  2. They have visual impairments thus they read “shame” instead of “fame”, and that impairment also account for missing out the phrase “singing talents” while reading the basic requirements.

What I saw repeatedly during the one month audition was an array of clowns who came onto the stages at different venues to entertain us with their glaring lack of singing talents. Many were so terrible they could not even recall the lyrics of songs they had come to perform, and some had voices that would any day rival a mating frog. In synopsis, the Project Fame Auditions needs to be entered for the next Academy Awards, and it will scoop all the awards in the category of Comedy.

In retrospect, I do not simply think most of the buffoonery we witnessed was the fault of the buffoons; rather it was really a candid reflection of what is considered the acceptable standard nowadays -mediocrity. Look at the so-called artistes we are tortured with on daily basis by the television and radio stations, how many of them should actually lay claim to the name musician? The only studio the likes of K-Switch and D’Prince should have been allowed into is a photography studio for their pre-wedding pictures, and Orezi and Hakym The Dream should not sing in any other place other than their respective bathrooms, but all these guys have gone on to record songs and shoot videos; they are enjoying airplay and are gracing the different colours of carpets that celebrities walk on nowadays. If those guys can be on TV, why can anyone else not be on TV? Such realities must have motivated those clowns who should be in school studying or in a vocational institute learning a craft, or anywhere else apart from those stages, to go climb the podium to audition for Project Fame.

Deeply depressing also is the realisation that those auditions boldly highlight the ills in our society. Our ethos is hinged on cutting corners while pursuing the unending thirst for glitz and glamour. Necessarily, a society must have entertainers, but what does the future hold for a society which most of its people want to be entertainers? Youths nowadays do not consider it natural to go through the test of the fire to become golden, rather they are hoping to wake up in the morning and find a gigantic box full of gold beside their beds.  Most of the girls are fixated on being actresses, models, and dancers; while the guys all want to be musicians and comedians. They all want to be under the spotlight, smile for the flashlight, but are not ready to strive under the sunlight. The proliferation of Reality TV Shows further fuels this belief that anyone can hit the jackpot and become an overnight celebrity. I am for Reality TV Shows if people actually go there to exhibit some forms of talent e.g Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Project Fame, Nigerian Idol, Naija Sings, Box Office, Nigeria Has Got Talents, and some others; but the essence of Big Brother still eludes me till today, and I think it should have suffered the same fate as Koko Mansion and House 5, but such is its popularity magnitude that despite its inane pointlessness it is only available on DSTV Premium Bouquet. Isn’t that dishearteningly scary?

And the scare continues…

Thank You!
God Bless Us All!!
See You Next Time!!!


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