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Re: Worldcup and preparedness

By Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor
Most of our readers who wrote in to react to our write-up above, all agree that Nigeria as it is today cannot host any world event of the magnitude of the FIFA  world cup, which  South Africa is hosting.
Reliable basic infrastructures and services which are essential to human life are just not there. Can we assure our guests of uninterrupted power supply for the duration of the competition? Can we assure them of a clean environment which would enable them breathe healthy air, walk on streets that are well-laid and clean, stay in hotels and guest houses which are clean and pleasant?

Can they drink water from our taps and not fall sick?

What about security?  It is alleged that South Africa is a very violent country with some 50 murders being committed every day, and that’s in addition to incessant cases of rape, armed robbery, car jacking, etc., and there have been cases of foreign football teams being robbed in their hotels during the FIFA World Cup, but while one can put this sad state of affairs down to South Africa’s recent emergence from decades of Apartheid rule by the whites, we have no such excuse here in Nigeria, where crime used to bring great shame to families and people were raised not to bring disgrace to their families in any way.

After fifty years of self-rule, security of lives and property should be a lot better than what it is at present in our country where you have no peace of mind about security; indoors or outdoor.   You are not safe, your property is not safe, and even your investments in the banks or stocks/shares are not safe.

We have absolutely nothing that can convince the world that we’re capable of hosting a major world event successfully.

“Madam, please perish the idea that one day Nigeria can host an even like the OLYMPICS or FIFA world cup. It won’t be possible in a hundred years.  Even seminars and conferences that we host here are a nightmare for the organisers and the participants, because of services that do not work; notably, electricity supply.  How do you explain to your foreign professional guests when power fails during a session, that an oil rich country like Nigeria cannot guarantee uninterrupted power supply for even five hours at a stretch?

I was at an international seminar in Abuja the other year, when an expatriate participant from Europe, fainted from the effect of generator fumes.  He vowed never to set foot in this country again, even though he praised our people for their kind hospitality and friendliness.  Our rulers should create an atmosphere which would encourage people to visit the country. Thanks. H.O., Ilorin, Kwara State.’

‘Ms Helen, preparedness is not in our dictionary of performance in this country.  Have you heard of ‘African time?’  That is lack of preparedness in disguise.  It is the reason we start things late without feeling any guilt, and the reason for not bothering to carry out an assignment at all.  The comment of that female parliamentarian in South Africa was taken seriously by her colleagues, and the head of the security unit was invited to come and assure the parliament and the nation, that his men were fit enough to handle disorder among the huge crowds that were coming to South Africa.

That can’t happen in Nigeria.  In the first place, other parliamentarians would have hushed the lady down, not because she didn’t have a point, but because she’s a woman, and she’s supposed to be seen not heard.  Also, because those going through those exercises at the stadium were men, male parliamentarians wouldn’t want to say anything denigrating about them. – Titi, Lagos.’

‘Sister Helen, the men should move aside and allow women to rule the nations.  Isn’t it interesting that it was a woman who noticed those policemen in Cape Town stadium, struggling through their exercises that day?  Will the male Mps with her say they didn’t notice that the men weren’t finding it easy because they were probably overweight?

They probably did, but typical male, it didn’t occur to them to connect their gait to ability to control the crowd or chase after hooligans and criminals during the FIFA world cup. Some of them probably chuckled to themselves at the sight, but didn’t weigh the implication on agile movement and  crowd control.  Nigeria lacks preparedness in any form because men are the rulers.

They insist on ruling a nation when most of them cannot rule even their own one-man home properly, ensuring that the inmates are well catered for.  They wake up to effect feeble road repairs in the height of the rainy season!  What were they doing during the dry season, which is the most suitable time for any serious government to repair the roads?  It is when criminal activities rise to a frightening level, and the safety of  VIPs are affected that the government will think of equipping the police with vehicles, etc. with which to fight crime!

Electricity supply has to be at zero level before they think of importing or upgrading transformers.  Wasn’t it a disgrace that for almost an entire day, the Murtala Mohammed in Lagos had no electricity; plunging users into darkness?  A busy international airport like that, for goodness’ sake!  People should realize that women are better managers of the human life, and vote them into power.  – Iyabo, Ogba.’

Madam Ovbiagele, thanks for that article ‘WORLD CUP, WEIGHT LOSS & PREPAREDNESS’.  It made interesting reading.  South Africa, of all the nations in Africa,  is able to host the world cup because the apartheid regime which suppressed the blacks for decades, developped the country, at least most of it occupied by the whites, to the level of their home countries in Europe, like the United Kingdom and Holland.  Since 1994 when blacks began to rule, it has been a struggle for that country to maintain the pace of development, understandably, as novices.

But they’re trying.  The various rulers since then have been trying to move the nation forward.  They have that edge over us, because of those infrastructures and services, established by the whites.  I’m not excusing our lack of performance in this country, certainly not after fifty years of self-rule, but if we have the sort of backing they have, we can host effectively well, a major world event.  – Pa Nelson, Calabar.’

‘Dear Madam Helen, I felt so sad and sorry for our dear country after reading through your View-Point on ‘World Cup, weight loss and preparedness’.  How I wish every Nigerian, especially those in the public offices and government, could read your expose. – Emeka in Enugu.’

We thank all those who wrote in to express their views.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.