By Paul Bassey
Triiiiiinggg ( A phone rings )
” Who is this ?”
“ Ah my brother Mimiko, is it because I am no more in Government you have deleted my name from your phone?”
“ Sorry, please who is speaking? His Excellency is campaigning, the phone is not with him ?”
“ I see, who are you?”
“ I am the ADC sir. Please who should I say called?”
“ OK tell him Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State. He should call me when he is free”
Ok Sir. I will sir.
Triiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggg ( A phone rings)
“Mimiko……Mimiko….How was the campaign?”
“The great Kalu. Ebubedike…. My brother I envy you. All this campaign and politics wahala are no more your portion. where are you calling from? ”
Laughter “…..Tell your people that you have done well. All those challenging you should relax and wait for their turn. They should not stress you ooooo” laughter.
“ You again. I wish it was that easy. A lot of people just turn deaf ears. They are not interested whether you are doing well or not. Theirs is just to get you out. ..How now, was surprised when I heard that you called. Hope all is well? Are you in Nigeria?”
“Where else will I be? I am in Niger. Just as you said, I am enjoying so much peace and just de siddon look. My brother I called to congratulate you on Sunshine Stars and their qualification for the semi final of the prestigious CAF Champions League”.
“ Kalu…Kalu…I should have guessed. You and football. Thank you very much”
“ Last year, when Sunshine played to the semi final of the CAF Confederation Cup it was my wish to come but I was out of the country. I am glad that they have proven their worth again this year by qualifying for the semi final of a superior competition. Have you invited Jonathan to the match”?
“You mean Mr President?”
“Yes. I was so delighted when I saw him visiting The Super Eagles with such a powerful delegation that included his Vice, top ministers and some governors. As the Governor with the only surviving team in the continent, you should have been in that entourage”
“I never thought along those lines. If I invite him, do you think he will come?”
“My friend go ahead and invite him first. You may be shocked. Even if he does not come he may send his Vice or the sports minister. Did you see his anger when we came back from the Olympics without a medal? He followed it up by receiving the paralympians with instant national honours in tow. That is the spirit that is now flowing through the land.
Sunshine Stars is the only Nigerian club remain
ing in the continent and for them to get to the semi final is no mean feat, to the glory of Ondo State and Nigeria. invite the Senate President. that one is crazy about sports”
“Do you know I never looked at it from that angle? This election thing has taken so much of my time and energy…”
“But Sunshine Stars should be a cardinal part of your campaign. With Enyimba I could walk the streets of Aba without security. Use Sunshine as a campaign tool. Let your people know how you have empowered the youth and promoted sports to the point that your state club is considered one of the best in Africa today, with just a few years of their formation. My brother you are on the threshold of history.”
“ You cannot be far from the truth. Meanwhile we are playing the dreaded Al Ahly from Egypt. With all your knowledge, do you think we have a chance?”
“Lots and lots of chances. You must have heard how I was always sitting on the bench and those coaches thought they were the ones that won the matches. My brother, I know what I did. Visit the players, liaise with them directly find out what they need or lack, psyche them up and tell them how the whole nation depends on them. If possible get the President to talk to them, if he cannot, let him write to you, go to them and read the President’s message to them.
“The difference between victory and defeat is for you to go to their camp and network with them, tell them to promise you the cup.
On the day of the match, go to the dressing room
before kick off psyche them up and see how they will come out smoking.”
“Now I understand better how you were able to triumph with Enyimba.”
“There is nothing like a victory over Ahly to buoy your campaign chances. Football is so loved by our people that all you need is to give it to them and they will troop out to vote for you at the polls.
“Also, get your colleagues to come round. Turn it into a carnival. Invite other governors, those who love football, Fashola, Uguaghan,…….Akpabio….flood Ijebu Ode with lorry loads of busses from Akure. If you invite me, I will come…” laughter
Sure. You are invited. We can do with your magic. When I drop, I will call the Sports Commissioner and the Chairman of the Football Agency so that they can brief me adequately on where we are…..”
“ Good luck my brother…”
Sir….sir…sir…your seat belt…
I wake up.
We have commenced our final descent into the domestic wing of Murtala Mohammed airport, kindly ensure that your seat belt is securely fastened and your seat is in the upright position ready for landing…….
Wow.. so soon? Fifty minutes ago I took off from Uyo airport and I must have dozed off…..what a dream.
See you next week.