Dreaming big dreams - By: Chika Unigwe | Dailytrust

Dreaming big dreams

Every good thing comes to an end, including a really relaxing break. Now I am back to reality and I have been trawling through Naija news. Na wah! Where does one start, bikonu? With Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari’s hard fall from “grace” after the FBI revealed his alleged Hushpuppi connection? With Kyari’s assertions that the extent of his relationship with the disgraced fraudster was his acting as a point of contact between his (Kyari’s) tailor and Hushpuppi who liked Kyari’s clothes? Or with the embarrassing incompetence of Naija sports administrators which has resulted in the disqualification of 10 of our country’s athletes from participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?  The past weeks are a stark reminder – if ever one was needed –  that corruption and incompetence are the two biggest evils crippling “The Giant of Africa”.  If we ever manage to get rid of both, we will shine so much so that every other country will have no option but to bow at our feet. Imagine a working, corrupt-free Naija? Is change on that level even possible?

In 2017, my late brother-friend, Pius Adesanmi, wrote a brilliant piece on “The Righteous Nigerian and the Rationality of Corruption” in which he summarised that: “The righteous Nigerian is not the Nigerian who is not corrupt, but one who still has a sufficient moral clarity to be alarmed by and be resentful of any corruption superior to his.”

In the piece, he talks about how President Buhari, like President Jonarhan before him, did not appear to care at all about reports of corruption involving those surrounding him.

He wrote: “Sahara Reporters has been screaming about the fetid and mammoth corruption of Abba Kyari, Dambazzau, Buratai and a host of other Buhari lieutenants and the president’s answer has been something like silence is the best answer for a fool.”

Maybe it is a sign of changing times that Abba Kyari has been suspended. Abi am I fooling myself, and as long as he manages not to get extradited to the “bad” USA, he will be safe. Gist has it sef that he has threatened to expose other officers should he be hauled off to the US.

While Kyarigate was unfolding, in Tokyo, the disqualified athletes were protesting; and rightfully so. How can Naija embarrass and frustrate people’s children like that? As a Nigerian, I am angry and frustrated on their behalf sef. Imagine the hours and the buckets of sweat they poured into preparing to shine, and now will not get a chance to for no fault of theirs. And some of us even had the impudence to tell them off for “showing Naija in a bad light” with their protest. Fam! Just stop it already. These are not the folks doing damage to Naija’s reputation abeg. This is not the first Olympics either where our athletes have been let down. I recall the 2016 one where our Under-23 football team was stranded in Atlanta for a week because its airline bill was not paid on time. Kai!

Very often, I think of  James Baldwin’s response to a radio host in 1961 who asked him about being Black in America. Baldwin said, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time – and in one’s work. And part of the rage is this: it isn’t only what is happening to you. But it’s what’s happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference, indifference of most white people in this country, and their ignorance.”

Replace Negro with Nigerian and white people with the government and that is exactly how I feel. To take the edge off the rage so I do not suddenly self-combust, I have to be intentional about seeking happy stories.

And one of this week’s happy stories comes rather ironically from the Olympic games where our own Blessing Oborududu beat Battsetseg Soronzonbold of Mongolia to qualify for the final of the women’s wrestling event. And Ese Brume has just won bronze in the women’s long jump. Oborududu will face US’ Tamyra Mariama Mensah Stock next. By the time this is published, we should know whether she has won us silver or gold. If she wins gold, it would be Nigeria’s first gold medal in over 20 years. However, I am already jubilating. I do not even enjoy watching wrestling, but I am super proud of her success, and I will be flying the Naija flag later to support Oborududu. I may even tune in to watch her. Big respect to the  Nigerian Wrestling Federation. And to Oborodudu’s coach. And to Brume’s coach. And to both Oborudu and Brume for doing us proud in Tokyo. More successes; ladies!