Sunday, 27 January 2013

AFCON 2013: HAIRDOS, DANCE-STEPS AND DODGY CALLS


The Festival of Ginger Dance-steps and Weird Hairdos, better known as AFCON2013, has been on for more than a week and being an African with a fanatical love for football, I think it is only normal I devote this post to CAF’s pre-eminent football completion. This post should have come up last week, but due to dearth of information on the teams cum players, it couldn’t, and after 9 days of football, I have to confess there is as much to write about as describing the features of a unicellular organism.

Luckily, I was able to watch 7 out of the 16 matches played so far and damn right I was lucky, ask those who watched all the matches what their action would be if they were given access to a time-machine, I bet the answer would be a resounding AYE to availing themselves of the opportunity to travel back in time to February 18th. Here are a few snippets as to why: out of the 16 matches played so far, 8 of them were draws (3 were scoreless draws); only 26 Goals have been scored (4 matches account for 14 of those); thousands of sleep-inducing minutes of football have been spent, and a bazillion officiating errors have been recorded. To look on the bright side, a dozen new dance-steps have been demonstrated, and a million hairstyles have been showcased.


Ordinarily, we are all guilty of pessimism when it comes to the land of Africa, anything African, and we Africans, but I have to concede that the pessimism is well-founded this time around. I was one of the few who stuck my neck out for AFCON2013 to be a veritable testament to how far African football has come, but I have to apologise, I was wrong. This logical optimism was based on two major factors: the large contingent of African footballers plying their trade in Europe, and the other far recesses of the world where football development has penetrated; and the huge number of footballers who had taken advantage of new FIFA rules to switch nationality to African countries. But all these seem to count for nothing as the North Africans – Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria – who benefitted most from nationality switch are faring the worst in this tournament.


Officiating has been another sour-point of AFCON2013. There seem to be no consistency to the calls and there is obviously a lack of understanding between Referees and Assistants most of the time. Knotty calls like “active and passive offside” and “goalkeepers handling outside the 18-yard box” have continued to make fools out of match officials, and the players and coaches have started speaking of conspiracies. Nigeria’s Super Eagles, albeit not being a fantastic team, has been at the receiving end of this dodgy decisions, and those were painful to say the least.

Axiomatically, even if the cloud is as dark as Aristide Bance, there would still be a silver lining somewhere, or even golden lining like the hair on his head. The competition has only gone halfway, and it is just getting to the crucial stages where some teams have to remain in South Africa only for sight-seeing, which means the Grade C and D chaffs would have been separated from the Grade B and A chaffs, (if you have ever visited the pre-Fashola Yaba Railway Line and you pretend like you do not understand this, God is watching you in 3D), and things can only improve. Moreso, most of these players come from different teams in different leagues and the philosophies are different, so let us take this to be acclimatization period and hope the cohesion will start manifesting henceforth.

Let us keep the hope alive, things can only get better, and if they do not, the matches would only have reduced, and February 10th would have been closer, let us endure till then. 





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

Twitter: @SirRash
Facebook: Rasheed SirRash Adewusi

Sunday, 13 January 2013

THE POLICE IS YOUR FIEND


The recent news of the arrest of @eggheader by men of the Nigerian Police for taking pictures of an uncompleted windmill in Katsina has jolted my memory and brought emotions pouring out like tears from the face of Rachel Oniga. For clarification purpose, @eggheader is a high-ranking official of the Nigerian Twitterati and his arrest generated the expected brouhaha on the internet: from the netherworld of surprises, attractions, and confusion called Twitter; to that open court called Facebook; and the haven of opinions called blogosphere, the news was broken, disseminated, analyzed, dissected, buried, exhumed, and at the moment is simultaneously lying-in-state in different parts of the internet.

I have to confess @eggheader is a lucky man, he was told why he was arrested, he was questioned like a gentleman, his belongings were not seized, and he was released on the same day, these were the luxuries that were not afforded to yours truly when the Police offered a taste of their friendship to him at around 8:30pm on Wednesday, 14th February, 2007. It was a breezy Wednesday evening but I defied the elements to go and watch my beloved Arsenal play against Bolton Wanderers in an FA Cup replay match at my favourite viewing centre on Old Yaba Road in Ebute-Metta, my hood, where I grew up. Arsenal won the match 3-1, with two goals from Adebayor and one from Ljunberg, but I did not see the match live because I was rounded up by the Police on my way to the viewing center.

It was a commando style attack that would have rid Nigeria of criminals if they are deployed on the right people at the right places. It was like reliving that scene from the movie 44 Minutes where the cops came in from all angles, blocked all exits and focused the high light beams on the criminals, only that these policemen were sporadically shooting into the air, and the light beams were danfo headlights, and we were not criminals, just innocent bystanders and passers-by with neither weapons nor criminal intents. We were all rounded up and loaded into the Danfos with gun-toting policemen hanging on the doors like lawless bus-conductors. I quickly called Lakers to inform him of my predicament, unfortunately, he was not around and it was then that it dawned on me that I would be spending that night in a police cell. We were all taken to Adekunle Police Station, beside the State CID popularly known as Panti, in Ebute-Metta. On getting there, men who could afford it were let go after greasing the palms of the policemen around and the rest of us were relieved of our belongings and shirts and herded into cells already filled-up with some other guys who I am reluctant to refer to as criminals considering how I came to find myself there.

Exaggeration aside, that was the longest 10 hours I had ever spent in my life, before I spent another 17 hours in a “The Young Shall Grow Bus” from Lagos to Sokoto for NYSC Assignment. The cell was like a village playground with red dust on the floor, with the smell of sweat and the odour of filth permeating everywhere. To maximize space, we were all made to sit with our legs spread wide apart and then bent upwards at the knee such that the back of the person in front rests directly on the stomach of the person at his back and his arms rests on his bent knees. The experience was all like a dream and I kept trying to recall how the day started and how I managed to end up in Adekunle Police Station. I had spent the whole day indoors hugging my GMAT Study Guide in preparation for Aptitude Test at Zenith Bank the following day, I only left the house in the night because of my undying love for Arsenal, I guess we can say Arsenal owe me some barrels of happiness. It’s a fair exchange.

People started flocking to the station around 6am to do what they had to do and take their people home. The policemen kept coming to call people out the way a nurse normally calls patients in to go see the doctor. My Dad, who lives in Alagbado in Ogun State, eventually came to the Station around 7:30am and did what he had to do and I was called out of the cell. While I was waiting for my belongings which were taken from me the night before, the policemen emptied the cells, brought all the inmates out and make them sit in a semi-circle; from nowhere, different weapons ranging from daggers, home-made pistols, automatic weapons, rounds of ammunitions, and several sacks of marijuana were all packed in their front; a television crew from NTA Tejuosho started filming, and a spokesman for the police started explaining to the reporter that they got a tip-off about a criminal hotspot in the heart of Ebute-Metta which they followed up on, and with their expertise and tactical nous they were able to apprehend the criminals and recover the weapons and drugs on display. I was astounded and confounded! How could people be this heartless?! These were innocent passers-by and bystanders who were rounded up, some right in front of their houses! I was lost for words and I kept looking at all the policemen trying to convince myself that they were actually human-beings.

Like lightning, the reality of the ordeal I had just experienced hit me at that point, and all the pent-up emotions had to be unshackled and I broke into tears and I continued to weep uncontrollably for about 30 minutes. I imagined the cheap publicity I would have earned for a wrong reason. For a brief moment, I imagined all the ladies I have eared my collars up for while explaining to them why we should be together. I envisioned what my family and friends would feel upon seeing me being ‘advertised’ as a hemp dealer and user. @eggheader is a lucky man. Deep in the heart of police cells across the country are innocent folks who today are incarcerated for just "walking around" on their streets. It is not an experience I wish to recount again or wish any innocent Nigerian experience. Each time I see a police man, several thoughts rape my mind. In my private moments however, I process the thoughts of who they are clearly. They are members of our society. They belong here. They were not imported from Mali or from Kabul. If suddenly the police force in Nigeria is friendly, we should be afraid. It is tantamount to the kind of fear mixed with surprise you feel when suddenly you have power in your house for 24 hours. That’s UnPHCNish! @eggheader, if it is the Gangnam Style you prefer, please help yourself. If it is Azonto, please feel free. You are a lucky man.

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

Twitter: @SirRash
Facebook: Rasheed SirRash Adewusi


Saturday, 5 January 2013

RESUSCITATION A LA RESOLUTION, REMINISCENCE, AND REINVIGORATION



Howdy!!! Happy New Year!!! May this Year be the Best of Our Lives so Far!!!

It has been a while since we met on these hallowed pages. My going AWOL is neither pity-inducing nor tears-welcoming, it is something largely owing to procrastination, but I would rather leave that discussion for another day. Anyway, this is the beginning of a new year when resolutions are still standing strong and sturdy, thus the penning of this post. One of my New Year resolutions is to always ensure at least one post a week on this blog and I fervently hope this resolution will not go the way of my resolution to abstain from porn, back when I was 22-years-old; it usually took me up to the flipping of the calendar to February to backslide, only to come back the following year with the same resolution. Suffice to say I eventually overcame that addiction when I was 25 when I realized the movies were anything but educational. Since I could actually do better than the actors in the movies; I promptly gave up watching and intensified acting my own movies, albeit behind closed doors (most of the time) and in the absence of those massive lights and cameras.

Obviously, many things have changed since the last time we met here: Dame now (thinks she) looks like Kim Kardashian a la her uninterrupted two months sojourn overseas crisscrossing Germany and Dubai; Private Jets have become typical Birthday Presents a la Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; Laptops and LED Televisions are now veritable souvenirs at Weddings a la Vice president Sambo; State Governors have become Endangered Species a la air and road mishaps; Motorcycles have become another revenue stream for the “friendly” Nigerian Police a la Lagos Traffic Laws; Barack Obama continues as the President of the USA a la Credible Elections; Nigerian Farmers now need Mobile Phones more than Funding and Fertilizer a la Minister of Agriculture Dr Adewunmi Adeshina; D’Banj flew a dozen international A-artistes to Nigeria and made Nigerians trek to see them perform a la KokoConcert; Osaze Odemwingie has deposed Charlie Sheen as the Undisputed King of Meltdowns a la Twitter Rants, DANA is busy in the air again a la Cheap Fares;… But many things have still not changed: Arsenal is still as erratic as PHCN; GEJ is still as success-assuring as seeing a blind-folded one-legged octogenarian represent your country in the 100m at the Summer Olympics; Cost of living is still skyrocketing in Lagos; Twitter Warlords are still sharing territories and protecting their domains; and I still remain my humble self.

And that leads me to the purpose of this post which is not about anything in particular as we might all have realized by now, but it is about announcing my resuscitation and providing a glimpse into what you should expect every week which is: discussion of a burning issue served as a dish of “logical analysis”, garnished with “witty statements”, and sprinkled with “humour”.  The Blog is still aptly named "Wise Wide and Wild" simply because that is what you will get from here. The topic will come as the spirit leads, as the occasion demands, or sometimes as you demand. They will range from the serious, the mundane and to the outlandish. Sometimes they will educate, sometimes they will inform, sometimes they will entertain, most times they will do the three together; I pray a time never comes when they will bore.

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

Twitter: @SirRash
Facebook: Rasheed SirRash Adewusi