Monday, October 15, 2007

Falcons’ Victory, Nigeria Airways Failure; Metaphors Nigeria’s Malaise

How does any individual, institution or country manage to look extremely bad in victory?
Who squandered Nigeria’s glorious moment in women soccer?

That was exactly what happened to Nigeria last week! Nigeria’s sports administrators and government, mismanaged victory and in the process, a terribly bad image was created for Nigeria and this occurred while Nigeria is supposed to be in hot pursuit of a better image a la, Nigeria Image Project. How can anyone explain Nigeria’s demonstrated inability to manage anything? Bad sports management resulted in the dismal performance of our country in the Olympics this summer in Athens, just as Nigeria’s former citizen shined for Portugal.

The Super Falcons football club came to the rescue, by clinching, for the fourth time, a African Women’s Football Championship trophy, four years in a row, and even that, Nigeria could not manage to bask and enjoy the glory! How could Nigeria so palpably mismanage Falcons’ victory and the only sports success Nigeria earned this season, even as the Falcons were victims of inattention, poor planning or inadequate funding and supply of equipments?

How bad has the state of affairs in Nigeria, to the extent that Nigeria now can be made to look so bad, even in victory? Who indeed committed this blunder of the high magnitude?

There is now word, that the vindictive sports officials, neglected to meet with the Falcons as they arrived Nigeria from their conquering outing in South Africa, so, the Falcons returned unsung, the sports officials, it will be recalled, have been coyly threatening members of the Falcons, even while these soccer giants were still in a hotel rooms in South Africa. This is clear attempt to humiliate the Super Falcons! This is not the way to reward hard-work and excellence, as The Guardian Newspaper Editorial succinctly put it.

The victorious Super Falcons represented Nigeria, to humiliate them is to humiliate the rest of us and Nigeria, Nigeria ought to applaud, congratulate and celebrate the Falcons!
Why are the Falcons being treated shabbily and with disrespect instead of accolades and encomiums?

In a country where sirens, frequently wails for nonentities and underachievers, the victorious Falcons arrived unheralded! (Disincentives for future glorious performance)
This is because the officials who conspired to cause our nation enormous amounts of embarrassments even in victory, have the audacity to be livid at the Falcons who stood up to the officials attempt to short-change the Falcons. The officials made no concrete or verifiably solid arrangements, to fulfill promises of bonuses that were made to members of the victorious Falcons, and of course, the distrusting Falcons, took an understandable pre-emptive action to protect their best interests, by forestalling disappointments suffered in the past by the Falcons in the hands of inept sports administrators.

Nigerian sports persons, have been victims in the past, of failed promises of government largesse, promises made without adequate planning and arguably, the Falcons did not want to be part of these sad national statistics of broken promises and official chicaneries. No reasonable person could blame the Falcons.

I was personally disappointed, when in Athens, many former Nigerian citizens, were competing on behalf of other countries, wearing such countries’ national colors as such Nigerians hoisted and waved foreign flags, these ex-citizens of our country, resorted to these measures, because of the ample incentives showered on them, by their “new” countries! The poster child for this was the ex-Nigerian who won a medal for Portugal.

Whereas, there were Greek-Americans in Athens who decidedly wore Greek national colors and flag, even though they were born in America and full citizens of the United States, these were therefore, red-hot blooded Americans of Greek descent, who competed against America and Americans, whereas, Nigeria had, Nigerians, who are “suddenly” non-Nigerians, that is, a few years removed from Nigeria, and a couple of years of naturalization as new citizens of these “newly” adopted countries, shinning for such of their new “homelands” Nigeria and Nigerians have serious rethinking to do! Re-orientation will only be, a beginning of a process of actualization our national purpose.

When Nigeria Airways bloomed, it served as our flagship carrier, Nigeria Airways displayed our national colors proudly, in major world capitals and everywhere it flew, as a personal preference, I traveled with our national airline, it offered direct flight from and to Nigeria without the inconveniences and indignities Nigerians are “accustomed” with most foreign airlines, I have never enjoyed being held in some airport for hours as a transit passenger, so flying directly or non-stop was good and being with my own kind, was priceless. At the time, too many Nigerians berated Nigeria Airways.

Now, Nigeria Airways is no more! And all Nigerians are affected by Nigeria Airways demise. Nigeria has lost her flagship, which announced Nigeria’s existence and pride of place in the world, anywhere Nigeria Airways was seen, during it hay-days.

The ubiquitous travelers, with too many cabin baggage and all manners of oversized excess baggage, are now compelled to comport their gburu~gburu and gra~gra, to the restrictive rules and strictures of foreign airlines, whose every regulations, some Nigerians are quick to obey without questions or debates, as they indulged in, with our demised national airline. You may now travel with this size and that dimension of luggage, and it must be as precisely specified by foreign airlines, in size, dimensions and weight etc.

Nigeria Airways failed due to a combination of innumerable factors, among which were, government interference, corporate mismanagement and brazen thefts by some of its employees. This has been made clear by the investigations conducted and the released results which identified Nigerian individuals and organizations that greedily pillaged and plundered our now bankrupt Nigeria Airways.

These individuals and or organizations, who committed immense roguery against Nigeria Airways and by extension, against us and our country, are persons from varied backgrounds, ethnic, religious, regional spread, proof once more, that greed and corruption, knows no religion or ethnicity or region, greed and corruption in Nigeria has equal spread, it is an equal opportunity phenomenon. It takes a corrupt disposition or the worst in negative human nature or tendencies. But unfortunately, the effects or consequences of corruption’s negative impact, affects all Nigerians, it is like rain, rainfall affects, the good farmers’ crops as it does for bad ones.

The Nigerians who caused Nigeria Airways bankruptcy, ought to face severest of punishments and public opprobrium, the loss resulting from Nigeria Airways demise, is unimaginably unquantifiable, the losses are both tangible and intangible.

Some Nigerians wreaked this havoc, by abusing privileges, as it was the case for, some who flew frequently and inter-continentally, for less than five Naira, some others attended weekend parties in Europe and America, without paying the national carrier fees, that would have sustained it in continued operations, decisions were frequently made, that had no justification in profit driven business of air transportation or any business endeavors at all.

Nigeria Airways’ demise can be used as a yardstick or is it meter-stick these days? A yardstick to measure frequent institutional failures in Nigeria, using the defunct national airline as a parameter therefore, provide a grim backdrop to assess our rudderless leaderships, that have over the years missed countless opportunities to steady Nigeria toward attaining our national purpose.

Too many Nigerians treat government properties worse than they would treat cow manure or mulch, Nigeria Airways staff, had attitudes, they wasted resources and assets, and the government at various times, willfully participated in bankrupting our national airline/carrier, our now defunct flagship.

When Nigeria Airways assets were being mismanaged and wasted, nobody cared, but now, that very attitude of neglect and aloofness, on all our parts, on the one hand, and the active fraud, thefts and connivance on the other, has caused a lot of Nigerians their jobs, and the demise of Nigeria Airways, a national institution, and it in turn monumental loss to Nigeria. It has caused me a personal loss, as I used to enjoy flying in Nigeria Airways airplanes, direct flights to New York, in our national colors and the ticket prices were the best for Nigerians on any route they flew.

Nigeria Airways was once managed by KLM, British Airways, South Africa Airways among other foreign Airlines, and yet, at the end, Nigeria Airways failed because of a lack of interests in its success by it core investors and owners, Nigerians!

Too many Nigerians continue to treat Nigeria public assets, properties and sundry national interests with inattention, complete lack of interest and even disdain. It is my belief that more Nigerian institutions will continue to fail, if those managing Nigeria’s affairs continue to be greedy and corrupt, while the generality of Nigerian citizens continue to watch with such sedate aloofness or blissful oblivion.

The inability for our sports administrator to manage the recent victorious success of the Falcons in South Africa is most appalling, and to say the least, galling! How did these Nigerian sports administrator’s mismanagement turn the Falcon’s triumph into a colossal embarrassment? How did some Nigerians manage to turn a once vibrant and prosperous Nigeria Airways into extinction of bankruptcy? How did some Nigerians recently make Ocean-going vessels, giant ships, duly arrested and detained in Nigeria, disappears in full view or plain sight?

Some Nigerians, turned Nigeria Airways with more than 30 aircrafts into an abysmal failure and into bankruptcy?

These national misfortunes are as a result of greed, corruption and our complete detachment from what really constitute Nigeria’s national interests.

All Nigerians must wake up to the fact, that Nigeria’s business is all our business, what affects Nigeria affects all of us, Nigeria’s failures and successes are ours to live with. Nigerians must realize from the foregoing, that, it is our best interests to manage our failures and our successes for our best national interests. Nigerians must manage Nigeria well.

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