Kwame Nkrumah, (first President of Ghana)
In May this year, yours comradely was a privileged fellow participant at the third seminar of Africa leadership initiative, (ALI) Media Fellowship in Kigali Rwanda. My reflection about the history, politics and the developmental strides of Rwanda is a story for another day. The third seminar of Class 1 entittled “Leading in A Changing Africa” took place from 27th to 31st of May at the beautiful Lake Kivu Serena Hotel some hundreds kilometers drive through the from Kigali. I ever remain a lover of football as long as nations are “at war” running around the round leather to garner fame, bringing patriotism alive. On 28 May, Saturday I was therefore excited to see scores of Ruwandan football fans at the Serena hotel Kivu occupying available space at the hotel viewing centre.
I had thought Rwanda National football team was to play with another country given the enthusiasm and frenzy of the viewers. Alas, the football competition turned to be the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final, the 61st season of Europe’s premier club football tournament organised by UEFA being played in far away San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy.
It was bad enough to discover Ruwandan youths were so much mobilized for a European champion tournament. It was however worse to even find out that the tournament finale was between two Spanish teams, namely Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid! Real Madrid won 5–3 on a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw at the end of extra time, securing a record-extending 11th title in the competition.
I agree with Pelé, the legendary Brazilian star and soccer ambassador that “Soccer Matters” but I still cannot imagine if European streets would be deserted because European football fans are watching the Nigeria Premier League finale involving two clubs from say Lagos, as most African cities were stand still for UEFA Champions League Final recently, politics, (sorry EU) politics is certainly not the same as UEFA Champions League Final tournament. However the recent hysteria in Africa that recently trailed the controversial UK electorate referendum of 23 June 2016 was no different from that Champions league final.
The referendum was based on the country’s membership of EU (with close votes counts of 51.9% (in support of an exit (17,410,742 votes) and 48.1% (16,141,241 votes) to remain, with a turnout of 72.2% of the electorate) beats imagination. Three critical issues are at the heart of the so-called Brexit (so-called because UK has not fully been part of Europe with regards to currency and visa rules). The three issues are British economy, immigration and identity. In all these three issues, Africa and Africans are incidental not central.
Why then would Africans sweat small stuff about Brexit over which UK had not sought for Africans’ opinion? Almost 60 years the late Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana commendably lowered the Union Jack after the independence of Ghana in 1957, it is a political scandal that “Independent” African states including Nigeria still tie their fortune or misfortune to the legitimate strategic choices of UK within EU. Respected Nigeria’s former minister of External (Foreign) Affairs and a professor of Political Science, Bolaji Akinyemi had been hyper active since the Brexit vote counts. Professor Akinyemi almost tied the survival of Nigeria to the results of the refredendum which favoured for exit attributing the mess to the “act of foolishness by a juvenile Prime Minister” David Cameron.
According to Professor Akinyemi the force of Brexit might fuel agitations for disintegration in Nigeria and even negatively affect regional organisations like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU), as member countries may not only take sanctions lightly but also consider the prospect of leaving the unions”.
He, therefore called on Nigerian government to be proactive in resolving agitations by the aggrieved minority groups. I obviously agree with the professor that
I ever remain a lover of football as long as nations are “at war” running around the round leather to garner fame, bringing patriotism alive. On 28 May, Saturday I was therefore excited to see scores of Ruwandan football fans at the Serena hotel Kivu occupying available space at the hotel viewing centre