Against Manchester United

OA Fakinlede

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!

9 comments on “Against Manchester United

  1. valentine says:

    Nice piece of literature sir…..I hope the youths out there will take a tole from this and start making the right decisions.

  2. Toluwaniyi says:

    This is definitely one of the major hindrances of mostly our male youths sir… glad you have brought this to light sir and we (youths) can change the nation for the best…..

  3. Bolutife says:

    “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!”

    At the risk of sounding like one who has fulfilled the Fela’s ‘suffer-suffer’ prophesy, I think that we sometimes unfairly compare governance today with the period just after independence. My central thesis is that while we have clearly wasted a lot of opportunity, the initial developmental efforts were not very scalable. Most of the efforts catered towards a small portion of the population (a population which was a almost a third of what we have today). Also, a lot of things (like Civil Service and higher education) were highly incentivized. I recall my father’s and his older brother’s description of NYSC for instance. In slightly above ten years between their experiences, the scheme had converged into something that is much closer to what I experienced over 20 years later than to what it had been in the ten years prior. I attribute this to equal parts unrealistic goals and poor management.

    I think that before we make comparisons to the glory days, we must first establish that the endeavours were scalable and realistic. We must separate the core of the efforts from the incentives.

    It would be nice if I can get notifications of your reply by email, so that I don’t have to poll for changes. I think WordPress supports this.

    • Kofo Awojobi says:

      ” My central thesis is that while we have clearly wasted a lot of opportunity, the initial developmental efforts were not very scalable. Most of the efforts catered towards a small portion of the population (a population which was a almost a third of what we have today). ”

      I like your comments a whole lot. The quoted portion above, I think I have insight to which I explained in my own reply to the topic post.

      I strongly believe that all that was necessary for scalability back then was to simply propagate school learning in a manner assimilated by the widespread majority: indigenous language translation.

      By so doing, not all, but many would actually find a fascination for particular favourite subjects and not view school learning as laborious because they would understand truly the basics being taught and built on.

      Widespread, eager learners each now programmed to yearn for further learning, will by itself have established the scalability – providing “Jakande”-type schools sheds, as example of need for infrastructural backing, becomes a secondary, natural unfolding of events.

  4. […] years ago, I wrote an article, “Against Manchester United” I was drawing the attention of young people to the implications of their preference for foreign […]

  5. Kofo Awojobi says:

    Prof, I am not quite in tune with the ideology of your message. I have a different ideological perspective that I have in the past christened in general, as “Nigeria’s Culture Shock” – and I’ll try summarising it thus:

    First, to quickly mention in defence of our youths: and why shouldn’t they grab quality entertainment (does anyone realize the number of high-definition cameras shooting at impossible, zoom-angles, used to cover Europian football, Tennis, etc, that stimulates heightened viewing pleasure) if they so desire? Patriotism usually should be subconsciously driven and effortless; the continuance of behaviour within the societal structure provided by our forebearers, hopefully full of progressive benefits. Without this, an “every man to himself” mentality, becomes the likely natural course – largely what we see in today’s Nigeria particularly amongst the youths.

    That said, the heart of the developmental problem in Nigeria, our “Culture Shock” as I call it, is not realising that the so-called Western Culture, is indeed 100% ours – and I shall prove my point.

    If only, when our forebearers stood at the shores of the atlantic ocean (today’s Bar beach at Victoria Island, for example) they decided to master the art of navigation along the dangerous, high seas, on huge sailing ships, bravely seeking what fortunes may be yonder. As did the Portuguese sailor, Vasco DaGama who comed the shore-line of West Africa, down to South Africa only to discover a huge body of uncharted sea east-side: the Indian ocean. He pushed on till he reached India!

    Note that severally, Vasco had to turn back to Portugal to replenish food and medicine supplies before then resuming his life conquest at the open seas, lasting weeks increasing to months at each turn.

    But what great benefits did it bring Vasco, his men and indeed his homeland of Portugal, upon reaching Asia: new trading route and commerce, new learning in the Ascian phylosophies, etc.

    Every sensible country takes from anywhere, what works better for them, and makes it their own – what I call the “Culture of Modernity and Civilization” – while preserving their cultural heritage in their achieves (museums, including now in digital format). Otherwise, which singular country can claim monopoly of the “business suit” worn throughout the corporate world. The Italian genious Leonardo Da Vinci invented amongst other things, the bicycle. The whole world today rides the bicycle. The numerical integers “1, 2, 3, …” so thoroughly utilized by mankind for basic to advanced calculations, was invented by Arabic scholars.

    The moment Nigeria, blessed with industrious, local talents, realize that the so-called Western culture is 100% equally ours and free to be imbibed and improved upon at will by us, only then will Nigeria know progress. All will see the need to propergate this naturally developing knowledge inherent in this world culture of modernity and civilization in as many local dialects of our people as is necessary to be formally translated and taught at all educational tiers. Go to Belgium: you are taught university courses in Belgian language, and so on. And judging by the speed our indiginous toddlers take to cmputer games and such, who knows how many future Nobel laurettes are amongst us today.

    • oafak says:

      By all means, enjoy the pleasure of High Definition video football. At least those who are able to should. By the way, the number of those that can is quite small and will remain so until we get the power situation under control. My main point here is that the youth should be aware that the football you are watching is more than simple entertainment; It is also a lot of economics. There are several university products in the UK with lifetime jobs in the football industry. I am saying we should consciously organize ourselves so that such things can happen here!
      If there is any ideology in my position stated here, it is certainly not that of isolation as you appear to be surmising. I was addressing policy makers to connect the entertainment to economics and industry and that the youth should not get too lost is the consumption of other people’s thoughtfulness when they can also begin to develop their own.
      An article appeared today in the backpage of Punch about local gin called “ogogoro”. The author was able to show that the Scotch Whiskey we now consume as a status symbol was once so crudely produced. All we need to do is to task our chemists to draw a blue-print of safer and better regulated production instead of simply banning it. The economic value of that kind of attitude can create jobs and give several communities better development and industrialization!

  6. Kofo Awojobi says:

    To furthermore point, as once I did while explaining my “culture of modernity and civilization” mantra, I may take exception to vouyagers in past who through their mastery of huge sea vessels and weaponry, conquered and exploited foreign lands, but I don’t however believe that these exploiting nations of the past are necessarily truly racist till date.

    I think rather, in their self-awareness and affinity for intelligence and common sense, they are truly perplexed at the level of dehumanization, corruption and nepotism going on throughout Africa while welcoming Africans to their own shores to take up full residency and eventual citizenship to compete with their own indigens on the basis of their operational mindset to appreciate natural intelligence, common sense, human dignity and common sense.

    Any negative fall-outs from the process of their being accomodating is at worst still much better in comparison to the misrepresented ways we govern at home in Africa.

    Otherwise compare: how many different nationals of underdeveloped countries freely walk the streets of London as against, say, the streets of Nigeria with our once Ghana-most-go mentality.

    Which is more racist and tribalistic and Intolerant a society.

  7. […] satisfied! If there is no electricity, and you get a small noise maker that helps you to watch Manchester United, you are already in heaven! You seem to forget that the same electricity is available to young […]

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