We have no shame

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By Denrele Animashaun

”In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers . . . we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”— Alexander Solzhenitsyn

A nebulous group called The James Ibori Political Associates has announced the cancellation of the planned 54th birthday celebration for James Onanefe Ibori which was earlier scheduled for August 4.

It has not been the best of times for James Onanefe Ibori. So to  have to  be celebrated  in absentia  for  his  54th  birthday is  in  bad taste and rubbing salt  in the  wounds of hardworking and honest Nigerians.

These associates of his took pages of advertisements to lament his lack of freedom and they have blamed it on the wicked that have done their worst. They have blamed it all on the wicked step mother.

Correct me, if am wrong, but did James Ibori not steal the people’s money or not? Was the court impartial? Why did Odidigboigbo run away to Dubai and avoided London? Now we are learning that it was because James spear-headed the resource control struggle but was he the only one in the struggle?

Oh  yes,  he  is  the  modern Robin  Hood then,  stealing  from  the  rich and  giving  to  the   poor? This  man  has  been  convicted  of grand  fraud  and he  is  serving  time  in  our   majesty’s  Prisons.  And  he  is  being feted as  a leader,  surely yes,  Ali  Baba  and  the  forty   thieves   more  like!

Yes, we should be reminded, even by an egg-head of James’ “achievements in life which speaks volumes. That even while away that James bestride the political firmament with that aura that stands you out”.

They said that “James’ tribulation (that) had their origins in the struggle for resource control” hence   “that has not   dampened” their love   for him. Are   they talking   about the very same James Ibori?

Did   we not all observe that since his incarceration, “no other criminal case in Nigeria has been appealed to a British court” (meaning what?) that they (who are they?) discriminated against James. Ibori’s defence in the face of allegations had always been that he had a successful business career and had made money independent of government, yes, pull  the  other  one. Only in Nigeria!

“If those investigating fraud can be so easily compromised with a mere $3 million and have the names of some expunged from the crime books, we can imagine how easily a crime can be pinned on another (meaning they pinned the crime on James!)”. They offered their prayers and indeed that of all well-meaning Deltans at this period. They implored all Deltans and indeed Nigerians to continue to pray to God to strengthen “our leader, Chief James Ibori as he matches through this difficult phase of his life”.

Nigerians, we seriously have a problem and something is definitely wrong here. “Have we dealt with pressing issues such as who stole the pension funds; have we identified the petroleum subsidy thieves and their collaborators; have we prosecuted the sponsors of Boko Haram; unearth those who collected the money for the power sector without electricity; explain why the Warri-Port Harcourt (East-West) road cannot be completed; or identify and prosecuted those who bunker our commonwealth”.

For  the   love of oil,  we pander and  exult  the  immoral, thieves, murderers, miscreants  and  the nefarious.

The elephant in the room by Denrele Animasaun

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”-Benjamin Franklin

We once had a national airline with a logo of a flying green elephant with big ears. So it was a relief to see that the mascot for the national team to the Olympics settled for an eagle. Like the elephant, the eagle too failed to soar to greater heights. We arrived in London for the 2012 Olympics with a contingent of 51 sportsmen and women competing in 8 sports and we failed abysmally. Not one single medal between them, not one.

We do not exactly have a good record of amassing Olympic medals. Sports can  give   a  window  into  a  country’s  prowess,  so  the  result  speaks   volumes –the  government  has   enriched its pocket  as  always  and  failed to  invest in  the  young. They failed to invest   where and   when   it   mattered most. If  they  let  go  of  some  of  their  loot  and  put  their  money  where  their   mouth  is; invest in   grassroots sports project, nurture, develop sporting talents and provide, support, trained  coaches,  sport  specialists and  roper   training  facilities. Most  of  the  Nigerian  athletes  had  to  finance their  own training and  expenses  to  compete and we   expect better   results?

The athletes, like the rest of most of our population, are dispirited and disenchanted people.  The medallists  told  us that  their win means commitment  and dedication with  financial support  and top notch  training  facilities.  None of these elite athletes come from rich homes.

They were picked at local    school and college sport  meets and  selected  because  of their talents  and they had in  them  the  hunger,  potential  and  drive   to   rise  about  their   background  and  become  champions.  Time  and  time  again , the   grassroots, from  working  class  is  where  you   nature  these   future potential.

Nigeria needs  to  invest  in  these  communities and  let them work  their  way  out  of  poverty, hopelessness  and   inspire  others  that  through hard  work  and determination  they too can   become   champions..

The Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, expressed the Federal Government’s disappointment at the dismal performance of Team Nigeria at the 2012 Olympics. He   admitted that poor preparation was to blame! You   think?  Once again they failed to foot the blame.

“Our inability to win any medal so far is as disappointing for my team and me and for all Nigerians everywhere. But we must have the courage to see it as it is. This is a clear testimony to how far our sports have fallen behind.”

There has to be  a system that puts athletes’ welfare at the heart of planning and only   then can we   guarantee a couple of medals? I   know   how  much the  British  team  medal  tally lifted  the nation’s  morale  and  it  definitely    has  inspired   the  young to  take  up   sports   like  their   heroes.

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