Insanity: defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Insanity has become a word regularly used with both my beloved Arsenal and my cherished motherland Nigeria. Both have more similarities than what separates them if one just takes a close look at the travails befalling both great societies.
To get to the future, always learn from history, and history is regarded as the bench mark with which future heights are attained. Arsenal FC has a great history, established in 1886 as Woolwich Arsenal, admitted into the football league in 1896 and then rechristened as Arsenal FC in 1914.
As she has a great historic history (don’t like the sound of ancient history) so does she have a beautiful modern history. Among the recent great historical achievement is the 1989 League win at Ainfield dubbed as the “Ainfield 89.” The 96 appointment of Arsene Wenger (ARSENE WHO?) whose name made it seem he was destined to manage Arsenal. The wonderful double winning seasons of 1998 and 2002 and of course the icing on the cake “THE INVINCIBLES”, who went a whole season in 2003/2004 and a total of 49 games unbeaten. Of course the more recent history hasn’t been that glorious as it has a lot to forget, the 8:2 footballing lesson dished out by Ferguson to Le Professor, the 1000th game mauling at Mourinho’s backyard, and the pain of seeing Gervinho and more recently Giroud leading the line.
Nigeria has a wonderful history too. The name Nigeria was adopted in 1898 to designate the British Protectorates on the River Niger. The great birth moment of 1914 by Lord Fredrick Luggard who merged the Southern and Northern Protectorate, the boldness of the 1929 Aba women’s riot, the wonderful Independence achievement of 1960, the promising 1970’s. The first executive President Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979, the General Buhari’s War Against Indiscipline (WAI) campaign of 1983. The renaissance by General Ibrahim Babanginda which culminated in the stormy darkness of June 12 1993. Then came the bleakest moment of them all, the August 27 1993 takeover by General Sani Abacha which took the nation on complete downward spiral to obscurity.
Of course she has her own share of unpalatable history, the Civil War of 1967. The Ken Saro Wiwa’s murder, the Odi massacre, the Jos killings, I need not go further because this is not a history lesson. But you get the vibe? Both Nigeria and Arsenal have come a long way from when the were crawling babies to the stuttering adults they are now.
PROMISE MUCH OFFER SO LITTLE….
Arsenal like Nigeria is like a great boxing giant who is armed with a weighty punch, a blistering reputation, fanciful footwork and great skill, loving fanzine and an awesome winning streak to back him up. But yet always managing to deliver a shocking screw up when it matters most. Need I list them for Arsenal?
Ok flashback to the last ten years and put a check mark after each famous let down.
May 2006 UEFA Champions league final against Barcelona in Wenger’s own backyard (Paris): check.
The 2007/2008 Premier League campaign made famous by William Gallas’ meltdown at Birmingham: check.
The 2008 League Cup defeat: check.
The 2010 Carling’s Cup: check, and of course the current league season the greatest f**k up of all.
Nigeria on the other hand seems to be hell bent on beating Arsenal to the crown of KING OF FAMOUS COCK UP.
Start with the most recent NIS shambolic shamble (it sure deserve a new term to describe the bullocks the Minister of Labour dished out after that monumental tragedy and the Presidential automatic employment offer response that followed).
Need I mention the on-going National Conference?
Then there is the NEPA debacle, a country with coal, natural gas, crude oil, a wonderful combination of sunshine and rainfall and great rivers, but still unable to provide constant power supply for her citizen. If that is not failure, then what is?
What about our roads, the best place to evangelize. Just take an atheist, dump him in a bus from Sokoto up North and let him travel to the heart of the South South. If he doesn’t yell “Jesus” more than a thousand times, he must be dead at the end of his journey or was drugged during the course of the journey.
Then the petrol situation, how much is a litre sold? It is just like a woman who takes her food stuff to her neighbour’s house, provides everything needed to cook, begs the same neighbour to cook the meal then sell it back to her because her kitchen is too dirty to cook. Moreover her gas cooker isn’t working even though she refused to permit her children who can cook very well with the firewood stacked in her backyard from doing so. Pathetic! Need I go further?
ALLERGIC TO CHANGE:
Have you ever imagined Arsenal without Wenger? I guess you just can’t fathom it. Even if you by some way magically can, you will immediately be labelled as a rival fan who prays for the Arsenal’s demise or an AAA (Anti Arsenal Arsenal) fan; a classic description. Even if Wenger fails a 1000 times, he still has leverage because of what he has achieved with Arsenal. We have become so use to the same face sitting at the Emirates Stadium’s dug out that we are damn scared of change. The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t. Ask Man united, Tottenham, Barcelona, Chelsea (even if the changes always yield results), Liverpool (before Brendan Rogers wonders this season) and a host of other clubs who has changed managers; they will tell you the transition isn’t easy. So we settle for good old trust worthy Wenger and the cries of “Wenger out” is drowned by “In ARSENE WE TRUST (Rust would have been a better word)”.
Good old Nigeria, never have I seen a people so scared of change. Our leaders are the problem: yes but why change them when who will come in is not any better?
Religious extremism is the problem, and so what? We are the most religious people in the world for crying out loud.
Hate what you see, go into the streets and protest, Occupy Nigeria! Oh Really? My parents, friends, colleagues, boss, dog, cow, goat, fish and whatever will see me then label me a public nuisance. Besides I’m not the cause of the problem, why bother change it when I can just go there and take my own share of the national cake? Besides na our moni abi nor be so?
MEDIA ! MEDIA! MEDIA!
Few weeks ago, Arsenal’s current team were measured with the greatest sides of Wenger. Ironically, currently the piss on the news is so dire that I have deleted my Newsnow.com Arsenal bookmark. Why feed my mind with crap? Moreover the news is always the same,
“ARSENAL BOTTLES IT AGAIN”
“ARSENAL INEVITABLE COLLAPSE”
“ARSENE BLAMES THE REFEREE AGAIN”
“ARSENAL SHIT, ARSENAL PISS,”
“ARSENAL GOT DROGBAGED AGAIN.”
Nigeria? Let me start with the timeless classic people always dish out, “CLUELESS, SHOELESS AND BRAINLESS,”
“GEJ THIS, GEJ THAT,” “BOKO HARAM HARAMS AGAIN”, “WE GO SCATTER NIGERIA: MEND”, “I GO SCATTER AM FIRST: one Northern Ex-President Everybody knows”.
If you doubt me, just google both Arsenal and Nigeria and I bet you 80% of the news you will find are negative news.
UNECESSARY HYPE AND CELEBRATION:
Don’t think too far for Arsenal, Just remember Szcznesny’s selfie at White Hart Lane this season, the buzz surrounding Ozil’s arrival, even the return of Bendtner: world’s best striker (spits) and the signing of Silvestre from Man U (spits again) was surrounded by so much hype.
For Nigeria don’t think too far, just REBATE your mind. Who can forget DORA’s (Good Bless her) “GOOD PEOPLE GREAT NATION,” Mr Frank Nwenke Jnr’s fine face and exotic grammar? Ruben Abati (abi Igbati sef I nor know) wonderful speeches and essays. I know you understand our penchant for jumping to conclusion and celebrating prematurely any perceived achievement. We even celebrate governors for constructing roads, building bridges and schools, wetin dem suppose do before? Build thatch houses?
PATIENCE, HEARTBREAK AND MORE HEARTBREAK
Ladies, this is a genuine advice for you and its coming completely Free of Charge (FOC). Want a man who is faithful, loyal, honest, calm, respectful, gentle, handsome and will always accept you back even if you cheat on him with his gateman? Get an arsenal fan. It’s an added bonus if he is a Nigerian who uses MTN and has an account with Union Bank. A classic combination I tell you. Even before the season ends, you will still hear Arsenal fans yell “Up Gooners!” “Arsenal for Life” especially after we defeat Wigan (I hope we do) in the FA cup. Arsenal fans never seem to lose hope, there is always next season.
Nigerians, “God go always dey.” Even if the world is doomed and we are about to go extinct, Nigerians will always find a reason to smile. Fela saw it and sang “Suffering and Smile,” CNN saw it and rated us as the world’s happiest people, even our economy saw it and she had to rebate to emerge as the largest economy in Africa.
THROWING PUNCHES WITH JUNIORS (inferiors), WHILE RIVALS SHOW THEIR HEEL
Ever heard of St Totteringham’s day? It’s an annual celebration that marks the day when Arsenal mathematically finishes above Tottenham Hotspur. You got it or should I rephrase it? It’s a day celebrated by Arsenal fans when they know they will mathematically finish above Spurs for the season. So no matter how bad Arsenal’s season is, as long as there is St Totteringham’s day? No cause for alarm. If that aint pathetic, then I wonder what is?
As for Nigeria, as long as we remain the (sleeping) giant of Africa and the most populous black nation in the world no wahala. You dare not compare Nigeria with the US. USA took 300 years to get to where they are now and we are just 54years old, wait until we are 354 years before judging. But we forget America will be more than 600 years then and just maybe they will allow us have the earth while they decide to go live in the sun. Compared to Gabon, Benin, Niger, Ghana and now even South Africa (our economy big pass their own na) we are better of. More civilised, more religious, more corrupt, more fuel scarcity, more ASUU strike, more music, more Nollywood, more football, more B/haraming, more politricking and polithiefing. Name it, we are way better.
Abeg I don tire to compare, you know the drill and you get the gist right? So Patience and Goodluck shall follow you and may any Boko Haram planning to haram you be Arsenaled. If you believe that say UP NIGERIA. Lest I forget, UP ARSENAL (I told you I will say it before the season ends didn’t I?)