I am alarmed at the fact that young Nigerian youth submits themselves to the colonialism of their minds willy-nilly. Three hundred years ago, the Europeans came here and tricked our warring forbears into selling their brothers in exchange of worthless gin and looking glasses. The White (looks more like pink to me) Man needed slaves. At that time, he, at least hired a boat, fuelled it and took it to anchor before going ashore coaxing, coercing and convincing your great…great grandparents to sell mine (or was it the other way around?) to the bounty hunters. The rest of that chapter is well recorded in our history books.
Today, the slavers don’t need to come here. You will purchase your own tickets and beg him for visa in order to get the opportunity to go serve in the margins of that society. Carry “poops” for the old and invalid, keep the gates, drive the taxis and mow the lawn. These and several other jobs they are unwilling to do (let’s not mention sex slavery) your sister, my brother and our uncle are already doing. More are trying to get in and add to the pool. Those that are no longer needed are shipped back home or locked up in concentration camps till there is enough to fill a cargo load.
Now what have these to do with Manchester United? Plenty. In the ongoing European football feast, Croatians especially have abused dark skinned players by throwing monkey’s bananas to them on the playing fields. You are going to get more of that. In the meantime, I hear Nigerians argue about their teams. When they do, if you did not listen carefully, you might think they are talking about Enyimba or Sunshine Stars. No, the teams they have in mind are Chelsea, Barcelona or Real Madrid! You may be tempted to laugh, but they are serious! “My team will beat yours” by two Nigerian youths are not referring to Kano Pillars or El-Kanemi Warriors! And, believe me, they are dead serious.
As a teacher, I called the attention of a 20-year-old colonized mind. Question. What is the population of Nigeria? Answer. 150 million. UK? 60 million. Of the two where do you think we have more soccer fans? Nigeria. Of the two, where does football mostly contribute to the economy? UK. Why do you think this is so? I don’t know! And you will soon graduate from the university? Yes. Tell me the name of your club. Manchester United!
I attended St Joseph’s College Ondo between 1966 and 1971. In those years my school had three football fields. We had our weekly portions and I never remembered a time when the fields were not properly trimmed, lush and green. We played football for fun and there was great competition among schools in the Western Region those days. I do not think the emotion that the world cup generated today are deeper than what we felt when we played against Boy’s High School! I did not remember there was any school in those days that did not have school fields. Primary school, secondary school or Modern School. The story was always the same. We also had facilities for other sporting activities.
I saw a secondary school last year at Lekki phase One. I was told that the fees can be as high as half a million a year. I then asked for the sports field. None! And the pupils here are the privileged of today! The poet, Oliver Goldsmith wrote: “Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,. Where wealth accumulates, and men decay” If a situation such as that can be lamented, what about ours? Is wealth accumulating here? I think not! Rather, wealth is actually decreasing but getting more concentrated in a few hands. Characters such as our newest “Sting Operator” who have very little to show than having been related to someone who controlled state power. Apart from that most people are actually getting poorer. The school attended by the son of two petty traders over forty years ago at very little cost beats that attended by the “middle class” of today in every material particulars! Ill fares the land!
Manchester United is worth around 2 billion dollars. That is bigger than the budget of most “State Governments” in our country! Where is this money coming from? Look how crowded the stadia over there are! Look at the television market and the advertisers that will get revenue from all over the world because your son and mine are watching and are into fanatical followership! These they do with not the least inkling of the correlation between their choices and the chances they will get a job when they leave school. It is probable, if the Math is done right, that the Football Industry in England is bigger than Nigeria’s Oil Industry! That is a sport that has more fans in Nigeria than England! Channels television, God bless them, just concluded a competition for Nigerian Primary school children. I can bet that these children would beat children from the UK or anywhere else for that matter. How is it that we can have such good products at the early stages and are unable to grow them into world beaters? Where are our secondary school football fields? Where are the Principal’s Cup, Greyer Cup, Ionian Cup? etc. Where is the development of the mind to connect sports to the economy? Where are the sports equipment manufacturers?
There are millions of football fans in Nigeria. The neglect of this market and the surrendering of our youth to foreign clubs is an act of negligence the thieving “rulers” don’t seem to want to address. No condition is permanent. China is now able to pay for the highest sports figure in the world at a time when Greece, Spain and Italy may be heading for bankruptcy. We need to start from somewhere. That will also require our educating our children properly and exorcizing the ManU mindset. I have absolutely nothing against this particular club. The colonization of the mind of our youth is unacceptable. We must change!