Ogun State, pol­i­tics and the 2016 World Cup!

Weekly Trust - - Sportxtra -

These are po­lit­i­cally crazy times in Nige­ria. Vol­un­tar­ily, or not, every­one is in­volved in the un­fold­ing drama. I am think­ing. How can I use the World Cup as a metaphor, a tool to project a vi­sion of change in Ogun State, where I come from, for ex­am­ple?

Per­mit me to at­tempt a lit­tle aca­demic ex­er­cise since I claim to look at ev­ery­thing in my world through the prism of sport.

In the sum­mer (or win­ter) of 2022, the foot­ball World Cup, the big­gest and most lu­cra­tive or­ga­nized event in the world, will take place in the State of Qatar, a small penin­sula in Western Asia.

Qatar, in a stun­ning and un­com­mon vic­tory, won the rights to host the event some three years ago, the first coun­try in the Mid­dle East to do so in the 88-year his­tory of the World Cup.

So, like all the coun­tries be­fore it that have hosted the glam­orous event, this tiny State was given 7 years to per­form the daunt­ing task of re-en­gi­neer­ing a whole coun­try and ful­fil ad­di­tional sec­ondary na­tional agenda be­yond the pri­mary ob­jec­tive of the foot­ball that will be played.

These past 3 years the whole of tiny Qatar has be­come a mas­sive con­struc­tion site un­der­go­ing, prob­a­bly, the fastest and most am­bi­tious na­tional de­vel­op­ment project in the Mid­dle East.

Qatar has as­sem­bled some of the best brains, con­sul­tants, en­gi­neers, tech­ni­cians, labour­ers and all man­ner of skilled and un­skilled work­ers from var­i­ous parts of the world in vir­tu­ally all fields to un­der­take this mam­moth project that must be de­liv­ered in the next 4 years, come rain or shine!

So, in 2022, when the 800,000 pop­u­la­tion of tiny Qatar is joined by an equal num­ber, or more, of vis­i­tors at­tend­ing the event, the cu­mu­la­tive global au­di­ence, all riv­eted to tele­vi­sion and so­cial me­dia plat­forms for an en­tire month, watch­ing as Qatar achieves its sec­ondary ob­jec­tive of mar­ket­ing, pro­mot­ing, or sim­ply show­cas­ing the coun­try and/ or its peo­ple to the rest of the world, will be be­tween 6 and 7 bil­lion peo­ple.

What is cer­tain is that through this event the coun­try will make its cur­rent sta­tus as a ma­jor global tourist des­ti­na­tion look like a child’s play!

Qatar rec­og­nizes the power of the foot­ball World Cup to make an im­pres­sion in the world!

That’s where Ogun State comes into the pic­ture and the World Cup of 2026 a metaphor. Ogun State will nei­ther bid for nor host the 2026 World Cup, but it can do what Qatar has done us­ing a sim­i­lar model.

Qatar is a rich State with a land area of 11,876 sq. km.

Ogun State oc­cu­pies a land area of some 18,675 sq. km.

Qatar is mostly desert, and its main re­source is oil!

Ogun State, with a pop­u­la­tion of over 4 mil­lion peo­ple,

may not be quite as rich in ac­tual fi­nan­cial terms as Qatar, but com­bined with its in­tel­lec­tual and hu­man cap­i­tal, its bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment, its un­tapped var­ied min­eral re­sources, its rich tra­di­tions in cul­ture and rich his­tory, without doubt, what Qatar has em­barked upon Ogun State can sur­pass, but with a dif­fer­ent agenda in mind! So why not? The good news is that Ogun State does not have to go through the rigour, ex­pense and tor­tur­ous process of bid­ding to host the foot­ball World Cup.

Ogun State can cre­ate its own ‘World Cup’, even a tech­no­log­i­cally driven ‘vir­tual’ one to be hosted in the year 2026, and make it the ful­crum of a de­vel­op­ment agenda that will take the State into the 22nd Cen­tury, 7 years be­ing the time needed by ex­pe­ri­ence to un­der­take such a mas­sive project.

The fu­ture pos­si­bil­i­ties are now be­com­ing limited only by how far a man can stretch the lim­its of his imag­i­na­tion, his cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion. The tech­nol­ogy and knowl­edge to achieve once con­sid­ered sci-fi movie goals are right here with us now.

The only thing that can stop this from hap­pen­ing will be the cit­i­zens of the Ogun State them­selves; their fail­ure to wake up from dis­trac­tive po­lit­i­cal slum­ber and fo­cus on a greater vi­sion be­yond the triv­ial con­ver­sa­tions of reg­u­lar pol­i­tics and soar high into the greater goals and realm of lead­ing the Black Race into the bat­tle of Civil­i­sa­tions on earth as a cat­a­lyst of na­tional de­vel­op­ment.

The Yoruba hold the re­spon­si­bil­ity of un­shack­ling the Black Race from the chains of colo­nial­ism, un­der-de­vel­op­ment and men­tal slav­ery. They must tap into their reser­voir of re­sources, in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity, rich ex­pe­ri­ences, phi­los­o­phy, cul­ture, value sys­tems, eth­i­cal stan­dards and mer­i­to­cratic lead­er­ship sys­tem, to em­bark on this ex­cit­ing, in­evitable win-win bat­tle.

The Yoruba of Ogun State has a sin­gu­lar re­spon­si­bil­ity to em­bark on this course of rapid de­vel­op­ment of the State to im­pact the other South West States and even­tu­ally the en­tire coun­try and the Black man on earth.

In 7 years, fa­cil­i­ties and in­fra­struc­ture, us­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in the sciences, in en­gi­neer­ing, ar­chi­tec­ture, health, con­struc­tion, man­age­ment, law, im­mi­gra­tion, se­cu­rity, cul­ture, the arts, hos­pi­tal­ity, trav­els and tourism, en­ter­tain­ment, me­dia, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, broad­cast, tick­et­ing, leisure, agri­cul­ture, trans­porta­tion and so on, would be put in place, cre­at­ing tens of thou­sands of job op­por­tu­ni­ties, rapid de­vel­op­ment of needed skills for the youths in var­i­ous fields, in­clud­ing trans­form­ing the sev­eral tech­nol­ogy in­sti­tu­tions into Nige­ria’s ‘Sil­i­con Val­ley’, pro­duc­ing grad­u­ates that will fit into the needs of the var­i­ous emer­gent in­dus­tries.

Ogun Sate will fol­low the foot­ball World Cup pat­tern and pre­pare 10 cities within it to host the world, pos­si­bly any of the fol­low­ing: Ilaro, Ipokia, Otta, Ijoko, Sagamu, Aiyetoro, Ijebu Ode, Ijebu Igbo, Ago Iwoye, Abeokuta, Odeda, and so on.

All the cities shall be con­nected by very good roads; functional in­ter-city and in­tra-city trans­porta­tion sys­tems; con­stant en­ergy sup­ply from var­i­ous power sources; reg­u­lar wa­ter sup­ply; first-class med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties; hos­pi­tal­ity fa­cil­i­ties in ho­tels and ser­vices; ex­cel­lent telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties with con­nec­tions to the rest of the world; well-lit and se­cure down­town ar­eas; me­dia fa­cil­i­ties; en­ter­tain­ment and re­cre­ational fa­cil­i­ties in each of the cities; tourism sites and en­ter­tain­ment places that vis­i­tors can go to and spend their money; and sports fa­cil­i­ties in each town and lo­cal govern­ment in the State.

Ogun State’s great­est as­set is its peo­ple so­phis­ti­cated, civ­i­lized, ed­u­cated, wise, cul­tur­ally sound, en­trenched tra­di­tions in good con­duct, ethics, tol­er­ance, lib­er­al­ism, re­spect for schol­ar­ship and in­tel­lec­tu­al­ism, and a philo­soph­i­cal dis­po­si­tion to some of hu­man­ity’s most in­tractable prob­lems in other climes - re­li­gion, lead­er­ship, gov­er­nance and a love of life and cel­e­bra­tion!

Its prox­im­ity to the mega-city of La­gos makes the State, po­ten­tially, the best place to live and to do busi­ness in Nige­ria!

Ogun State, with its long belt of lime­stone and gran­ite across the State is a con­struc­tion par­adise!

Ogun State must com­bine these es­sen­tial and in­valu­able as­sets, an­chor them to this vir­tual World Cup event that will serve as the cat­a­lyst, the fa­cil­i­ta­tor, the en­forc­ing agent and the ac­cel­er­a­tor, fol­low­ing a de­fined time­line with set tar­gets and mea­sur­able mile­stones, and a bind­ing covenant with the peo­ple of the State (and of Yoruba­land) to de­liver what will be a model for the re­gion and the coun­try, and the epi­cen­ter of a global so­cio-cul­tural and eco­nomic revo­lu­tion in the global bat­tle of the Civil­i­sa­tions.

The time for the as­cen­dancy of the Black race from the doldrums of abuse, seg­re­ga­tion, dis­re­spect and men­tal slav­ery has come.

Givers Shoot­ers FC train­ing at the Area 3 foot­ball field

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