No man is truly out, unless he so regards himself.
Whoever seeks a fair weather for a start never has a worthy barn
Those who seek the pearl must dive below.
Enduring success is hardly the outcome of happenstance.
Oh, yes. As it was in the beginning, so is today, and shall ever be; world without end. Or, is it not how Christendom puts it?
You wonder at my ‘dark’ sayings? Don’t , because, as I said, whatever is good and endureth for long, can hardly be the outcome of flimsy efforts. And that’s the essence of the above African proverbs; the correlate honest hard work and success.
Now you got me. Yes, London 2012, as I wrote this piece on Sunday morning in Ibusa, Oshimili North council area, was winding down, with America and China, in a healthy rivalry as to which will be crowned champions. Of course, hosts, Great Britain and Ireland, were placing third, while Russia was angling to catch up with, and possibly, overtake, Britain, in the third position. Nigeria, my beloved country, was still without a medal of whatever shape, size or hue from the two- week fiesta on which preparations/ participation she had spent #2 billion. Was it surprising? Was it not foreseen? Was it unexpected? Could it have been avoided?
Questions. Questions. Yet, more questions.
Long ago, it was said that it is impossible to make wool out of the dog’s ear. And how true! Though science- basic, applied or even the revolutionary variant called noetics- has provided fool-proof answers to some of the questions that constituted yesterday’s superstitions, it has yet to reach the critical dimension of yielding something from nothing (the very import of the proverb relating to making wool out of the dog’s ear). And that’s the story of my country, Nigeria, which, again and again, has proven its incapacity for long-term preparations for effective participation in global meets-sports, academics,etc.
To what do we attribute the Nigerian Olympic failure: Poor preparations? Indiscilpline? Poor motivation? Poor officiating? Low athlete devotion? Sabotage? Corruption? Faulty strategy? And so the list-the catalogue of questions- actually, is endless. And who can find the true combination of honest answers to provide the solution to what led to this our disastrous national outing in London? Will there be a probe? Who would do the probing: the sports ministry who may have contributed to the mess? Or, will it be the Presidency that has not shown shiny, personal examples in respect of probity? Or, better still, the National Assembly (NASS),which is fast earning a reputation for probes that, almost, always, end up in the thrash can of the powerful presidency and the executive arm of government that it runs. Perhaps, we can leave it to the police-the very security organisation noted for its magical performances. Nigeria, when will we ever learn? Well, whatever the reason for our failure in London- and the predicate is multi-faceted- there is very little doubt that indiscipline, the very exact word that has foreshadowed our every action these past 52 years of post-independence life, has been at the heart of our trouble and is a critical part of why, like an impotent man, we could not fertilise even the egg of a medal all of the 14 days of classic sports meet. Yes. For reason of indiscipline, do we start early preparations, train adequately or even deploy resources in sufficient quantum and timeliness, as would enable us excel in at least a few exceptions?
And, who, any way, did not hear the dim raised by the high level of indiscipline in our camp in London, while the Olympics lasted? In fact, such was the high level of infractions that the Presidency despatched emissaries to ask for a truce. Nigeria. Poor country.
Well, as I said, it is painful not to hear my ‘Arise, o compatiots’ national anthem rendered at the podium. It is far more painful when Granada, a country of just 107,000 people, produced a golden athlete, and in the face of the fact that some Nigerians,competing for other nations, actually won laurels. What can be wrong with us more than the singular fact, that , owing to poor attitude, we consistently fail to do the right things at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right quantum (and, I may add, quality, ).
Much as I lament our woeful failure in London, I am more pained by the fact that, as in education, security, agriculture, etc, so in sports: we never learn any useful lessons by seeking effective remedies to the problems that dog us. How does one get an appropriate answer to a problem by repeatedly applying the same wrong remedy, in the same way and manner , as in the first instance? Is it possible to make wool out of the dog’s ear? Is it feasible that clement seas make efficient sailors? Does enduring success come from flimsy practice?
Failure is bad goodness- in that it offers an opportunity for the failure to reassess his strategy and approach procedures in an effort to gain a more purposeful result. But, failure, for fools, provides an opportunity for excuses, rather than an opportunity to better prepare for a better outing. And, my country, Nigeria, belongs in the second group-fools-who never learn that failure provides the best material-experience-for the wise to build on. My fear is that, as we are wont, we will sweep everything about London 2012 under the carpet, and in 2016, engage in the same fire-brigade approach to the Olympics of that year in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Yes: Mark my words- that year, we would still be praying , or sleeping around town with funds meant for our Olympic outing, while serious nations are already awaiting their call up for honour on the podium. Yes. The snake remains its old self, no matter how many times it moults. That’s my country. Poor Nigeria.
No man is truly out, unless he so regards himself.