Published on June 11th, 2010 | by Olumide3
World Cup 2010 Begins Today!
I read a quote on CNN yesterday. It was something like, “there is no doubt about it. The world revolves around a spinning ball”. There is indeed no doubt about it. The biggest event on earth is football and the biggest thing in football is the World Cup.
I am not much of a football fan, so permit the cynicism in my comments. But when I think about the World Cup in relation to my country, Nigeria, a few things come to mind:
-I’m grateful that Nigeria isn’t investing so much (compared to some other nations) into sports. There is a trend that has always occurred in history: when a nation becomes great, it gets into a state of complacency after some time. The people reduce their rate of industrial productivity (which made them great in the first case) and substitute it with entertainment (An Economist, W.W. Rostow postulated about economic growth. His final stage was a stage in which consumption would exceed production).Believe me, America is already threading that path. It’s not that they are not producing (and it’s definitely not that I have anything against sports). It’s just that the right balance is missing and that tells me that there is trouble by the corner…
But that is not to say that I’m pleased with the situation of the Nigerian entertainment industry. Like most things in Nigeria at the moment, we are grossly underproductive. Take our movie industry, Nollywood, for instance. We are one of the top 3 movie producing countries in the world, yet most Nigerian movies cannot sell even in Nigeria. Most are seriously substandard (how many people watch Nigerian movies these days: Do you?) while the remaining few that are good are so grossly pirated that the producers rarely ever reproduce.
And back to our football industry? First, football is the only sport that really sells in Nigeria. Yet, our young people have now lost interest in our local leagues (and even the National Team). They would rather look out for foreign clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea and this applies even to illiterates- bus conductors, drivers- it’s pathetic. The passion with which everyone supports these foreign clubs is amazingly annoying- you would think they were family properties or at least, financial benefits were attached. Some people here would fast, pray, weep, kill… depending on moods posed by football clubs in Europe.
Again, I must point out that my intention is not to attack football lovers. It is to point out that our current sports predicament is not just a ‘football’ problem but a ‘Nigerian’ problem. It is the same attitude that has crept into our nation and is killing our industries. It is the same reason why PHCN is a mess, why more than 80% of our youths are unemployed, why our best brains are begging at foreign embassies and would not object to washing toilets, kissing feet… anything to get out and stay out of the country.
I do know one thing, though. My generation (I’m in my twenties) did not cause this problem even though we have become its victims. Most of us were born in it. And that is what gives me my greatest fear: I’ve seen policemen collecting bribes in public like it’s the normal thing for as long as I can remember. So have most people of my generation. We’ve grown up knowing wrong to be right. For us, it has become normal not to have stable power supply or to get jobs. And elections have been rigged as far back as I can remember. It is fashionable for governors, senators, even presidents to embezzle money… My question is: How do you ‘unteach’ what has come to become our culture? I really hope the Minister of Information gets to read this. I love the idea of rebranding, but I think we need much more.
By the way, good luck to the Super Eagles, but I really would be surprised if they make it past the knockout stage. God works miracles, but he also has his principles. That is precisely why he is not a magician!