Thursday, January 22, 2009

Atiku Vs Kaka

Two important events this week puts Nigeria as a nation and its citizenry into perspective. This week saw the biggest financial offer to be made to a footballer, and the unexpected visit of the former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku to his erstwhile boss Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Although these events are not in anyway related but I want to draw upon their commonality.

Take the case of the Brazilian footballer Kaka, Manchester City Football Club offered to pay AC Milan 150 million pounds for Kaka and put him on a weekly wage of 250,000 pounds. For goodness sake, is any player in the world worth 250,000 pounds? Anyway that’s a discussion for another day.

For any 26 year-old from Brazil, this type of offer is very tempting. I’m sure that there are only very few (and I repeat – very few) people in the world who will not be tempted by such financial inducement. However following series of speculations, the young man decided to stay put in Milan. He was quoted as saying ‘everything tells him to stay at Milan’. Which to him means everything is not all about money. He feels his future lies with Milan because he believes in the culture, mentality and ideology of the football club. People say ‘why will he want to leave a team like Milan for Manchester City - who are currently struggling just above the relegation zone’. My answer to that is - why not? At 26, he could probably have moved (subject to all types of ‘get out’ clauses), sign a three year contract, and if things don’t work out leave for another club. By doing so, he would have cashed in on the lucrative offer and make enough money to set him up for the rest of his life. The reality is, there is no guarantee that he will win more trophies in Milan shirt. What if (God forbids) he stays in Milan and his career is cut short due to injury?

On the other hand, we have an old generation of politicians in Nigeria who seem to have lost their principles and are now busy realigning and positioning themselves for next general elections in 2011. Considering what we witnessed in the last days of the Obasanjo regime, who would have thought that a day will come when Atiku will pay a visit to Obasanjo. While I don’t want to be drawn into speculations about the reasons for his visit, it is interesting to note the positive ‘spin’ been put on the visit.It is alleged that the meeting is in the nation’s interest. If the former President really had the interest of the nation in his heart, why did he choose to appoint successor who is considered to be very ill. If reports circulating in the foreign media are to be believed, President Yar’Adua is currently planning and extensive medical leave overseas. I need not to remind you of the saga that unfolded during his last ‘lesser hajj’ to Saudi Arabia. The state of the nation, which Atiku and Obasanjo now intend to correct, was as a result of their selfish and vindictive attitude.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Atiku and Obasanjo shouldn’t reconcile, however it shouldn’t be under any false pretence of saving the nation. Which nation?. Atiku needs to decide if he wants to continue to be in the opposition or realign with his old cohorts. It beats my imagination that, a leader of an opposition party will be meeting leaders of the government in power without the knowledge of his political followers. If Atiku truly believes in the principles of the Action Congress as an opposition party, then he should please stick with it.

I must say that most of our politicians are ‘political prostitutes’, they jump from one party to the other in order to satisfy self-greed and ego. This is not surprising because none of our current political parties is has any political ideology. Has anyone ever asked the PDP or AC leaders what the parties stood for? Which social agenda are they pursuing? What are their economic principles? No wonder, 18 months into Yar’Adua administration we are still talking about seven-point agenda. The only achievements of the government so far are ‘policy reversals’. In western democracies, people affiliate with political parties based on principles and ideologies. Political parties in Nigeria are all about getting into government.

The refusal of Kaka to join Man City demonstrates a high level of ‘self principle’ and discipline we wouldn’t expect from a 26 year-old who has the world at his feet. Despite all the inducements, the young man stuck to what he believed in. Discipline and principle is however lacking among Nigerian political-class who will do anything to be in power in order to further advance their corrupt and fraudulent lifestyles. It is time we stand up against these ‘cabals’ and stop them from perpetuating themselves in power, either directly or through their proxies. Our country has to move beyond these individuals because they have failed us in every facet of life.

Yes we can!

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