Obrigado! Thank You! Goodbye!!!
It’s time to say goodbye from Brazil. After 37 days of effective coverage of the World Cup, I am happy to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to all of you, our dear readers, for staying with your favourite Vanguard Newspapers, the Most Read Newspaper in Nigeria and the best online in Africa. I say a big thank you, too, to our sponsors –NNPC for oiling our machines throughout the World Cup.
I thank Ohi Alegbe, Corporate Affairs Manager, for his good works. Many thanks to my colleagues on the desk who did the big job led by indefatigable Onochie Anibeze(Saturday Vanguard Editor), Solo Nwoke, John Egbokhan, Jacob Ajom, Ben Efe and many others with rich sports history in our newsroom(and those who shout Arse, Arse Arse. Vanguard is a unique place to work in.
It’s a family. There is one love in Vanguard. As for my friends in Brazil, it’s so emotional to say goodbye. I was choked up with teary eyes to let go of your hugs and kisses. I promise that you and I will meet again when we least expect. And like Helen Rowland said, ‘’a man never knows how to say goodbye; a woman never knows when to say it”. Thank you!
Generators for sale!
Our deepest fear as we set to come home is electricity. We’ve seen the light that we are afraid of befriending darkness. I’ve been used to light these days that I did not reckon that it could blink for a second. The 30-storey Santana Gold Guest Flat where I stayed in Sao Paulo is powered by electricity. Nobody uses the staircase. There is a bold sign in Portuguese that the staircase should be used ONLY during emergencies. I forgot that they use electricity. I was only reminded of electricity by a colleague who called home and they gave him the usual news. ‘’There has not been light since you left home o”, the voice warned. Disheartened, my friend set out to check out if he could buy cheap generating set. His reason is that since there is constant light, generator would be at give away price. Did he get to buy? He came back with a long face. ‘’They asked me what I need ‘generator’ for. Too many questions”. There is no generating set here and there is no pollution from carbon monoxide. At times, it is better not to see light than to move from light to darkness. In Nigeria, we believe that electricity exists, because the electricity companies(whatever they are called) keep sending us bills for what we do not use or see.
What did you buy?
Many requests were sent to me to buy Brazilian hair(head). Others said that I should come back with a Brazilian girl. Still, many others want me to come back with anything Brazilian. How I wished! Frankly, these things are not obtained by reason of prayers or wishes. If they were to be obtained by wishes, nobody would lack anything. Our financial gurus(upstairs) calculate your money ahead of your trip not knowing the exchange rate of the country. They are wizards. As a Journalist, I can’t count that’s why I have accountants. As long as I have them, I don’t need to worry about numbers. Hold them responsible for not meeting up to your requests o!
Reverend Father Marcellinus Offor, cmf, can be said to be a Brazilian but he detests that. He is a Nigerian who is proud of his roots. He speaks Portuguese, Spanish, English, Latin and a cocktail of other languages. He is a missionary. He is on a mission of saving souls. At least, Brazil needs his services more. He is well read(a tradition with Rev Frs) but he masks his priesthood so much that you would begin to ask why. ‘’I don’t want people to respect me or believe me because they know that I am a Reverend Father. I want people to be free to relate with me. That way, they tell me the truth, even the ones that hurts and get to know everything”, he said as he visited me in my Santana Gold Guest Hotel in Sao Paulo. I met him perchance but he appeared to have known me more to my amazement. ‘’I love reading Vanguard Newspaper. I don’t know if it’s a spell. A day is not complete without Vanguard. It’s a culture that started in Nigeria and thank God Vanguard can be read everywhere in the World online. That’s how I got to know names of virtually everybody in Vanguard without meeting them. Once I read your stories in Brazil, I knew I had to meet you”, he said, speaking English with the accent of Portuguese. He is conversant on all fronts and has a flair for writing as he writes for so many Portuguese-based Newspapers. He spoke to us on many issues.
Education: This is an area that interests me much in Brazil. All Schools here operate in the night. Both private schools. It gives them the opportunity to work in the day and that also helps in their economy. There is no fear of darkness or security. Every aspect of their lives revolves in the night. Even going to churches has to be in the evening. If you fix a service in the morning, nobody will attend. They rest in the morning.
Hospitals: Everything here is controlled by Municipalities which is equivalent to our Local Governments. They are more effective and own more of the social services to the people. Every Municipality owns several hospitals that are of world standard. Recently, they employed 600 Doctors from around the World including Nigeria and mostly from Cuba and posted them to the rural areas. Free treatment for women and children. Such cases like HIV and AIDS are treated free whether you have your papers or not. To them, it is an offence to go for medicals abroad. All diagnosis are done here and treatments. It is unlike Nigeria where the rich scramble to go abroad for the commonest illness. Nobody goes to India for any kind of treatment. They employ the best of hands to ensure that all things are treated at home and at very cheap rate if not free. They practice politics with a human face that helps their people. Politics does not interfere with the services they render to their people. The Federal cannot lord things over the municipalities. Whether they belong to opposing parties, they work harmoniously for the welfare of their people. The roads, trains, buses are majorly owned by the municipalities and the Federal does an oversight function.
Retiremnt: eThe official retirement age here is 60. And once you are retired, you become the responsibility of the state. They get you a house and pay your gratuities for life. All you need do is live a life of enjoyment because they believe that you have contributed to their nation. Besides, unemployed youths as well receive social wages.
Freedom: They are free in all sense of it. Sometimes, their freedom hurts them. The Police are everywhere watching them and do not interfere in anything even when they know it will lead to other things. Nudity, kissing, at parks, beaches, trains are part of their lives. They love people and are free with visitors. As for me, there is no place like home. I want to come home because I am on a mission. My desire is to see a Nigeria where things work. Where there is constant electricity, water, good roads with hospitals providing healthcare for both the young and old especially women. Our politicians need to borrow a leaf from other politicians instead of being self-centered and wanting to own the whole world. And what does it profit a man if he owns the whole world and loses his soul?”, Reverend Offor asked as he prayed for journey mercies for me and other Nigerians and the rest of the World as they go back to their bases.