Photo: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/Getty Images.
Overtime, outsourcing has come to occupy a special place in my heart. And having seen the light of late, I see it as the way out of our mounting national political lacunae. From top to bottom or vice versa in the lingo of the time.
No wonder it miffs the hell out of me when people just smear it with disses. Like in the early 80s when so less a behemoth than Bob Dylan did so in Sundown Union, a track in his Infidels album. And this no less so because it served as mnemonic to the earlier salvo by Eric Segal in Oliver’s Story, that, well, underwhelming sequel to the more overwhelming Love Story.
Anyway, though those opening examples are international, this discussion shall be local. As hinted, there is no doubt that the key with which to unlock the conundrum our nation is ever embroiled in must be a master one. From conclusions arrived at from more than five decades of participatory observation in affairs Nigeriana, the task must of needs be a daunting one. And without an iota of doubt, it must require a realised saviour’s savy to see it through.
This implies that to even hazard the effrontery, contributions should come from far and near, all and sundry. But irrespective of from whence and by whom, the effort must also be worth its avoirdupois in any precious metal.
If you don’t mind, this preamble is only long on account of Ayi Kwei Armah’s theory of filial reproach. In part too, it will serve to highlight the feverish longing that prompted this piece. For, without mince, it was so fiery that on account a guy had to skip a chore or two in these multitasking times.
Sincerely, I’d have started with the announcement that the proposal herein espoused is a modest one. In fact, it should have been incorporated into its title. But for the dig that it’d have given the piece an uncanny linkage to Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift.
In an eponymous 1729 effort published anonymously, he had – rather immodestly, I must add – proposed ‘that Irish children born to poor families could be put to good use as meat and leather to be sold to the wealthy’.
Concerning this, I’m also reminded that Hitler, the Nazi leader, had the same plans for negroes in World War II. Before the allied forces put him to shame, he had plans to see if their skin would be good enough to make boots for his soldiers.
Whoever said that he hated the Jews more. Not after the legendary African-American athlete Jesse Owens rubbished his racist ouvre by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Right in his very before, as Chief Zebrudaya of the rested New Masquerade show would put it.
Anyway, again, before I digress to Afghanistan – and Ukraine, perhaps – just remain rest assured that the point I want to make is local to the core. As hinted above, it’s all hinged to the truism that the late Chinua Achebe’s leadership prognosis about our nation has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Yes, overtime I’ve queued in the elongating line waiting for this messiah of ours. That will lead us across our waterless debacles and enthrone the much dreamt prosperity of our independence promise.
In short, put sharply or bluntly, this problem remains political. However, given its gregarious appurtenances I think that the way out of it must be eclectic in turn. Or, like the eggheads would say, it can only be achieved by ‘thinking out of the box’.
That is, unless it amounts to rocket science, like the selfsame clan in gown and mortar are bound to declaim from their towers of ivory. Which can only come to pass when, and if, the majority of them in our federal institutions do call off their ongoing strike actions.
Examples to cite abound. But I’ve consciously sworn to stick to that from football, our indisputable numero uno national sport of choice. Like is there to peruse from the archives, recordable achievement there remained too far to fetch. So much so that since the inauguration of our local federation in 1945 we never made it to the World Cup till the 1994 edition in the United States. Like one cynic put it, this did not come to pass until Africa’s representation at the fiesta was increased from one to five slots. And to compound it the most, the diadem was only achieved by a foreign gaffer.
Anyway, I’m not calling for recolonization. Only that Clemens Westerhoff – the expatriate technical adviser that took us to our first Mundial – exposed what the others before him had discarded to our peril. Well, he made us know that football was a world sport. Therefore, to excel every nation has to use their best players. Also, the players themselves had to prove undisputed world beaters. Thus while he brought our best back from wherever, we sent the homebased to wherever they fitted in. Nwankwo Kanu and Finidi George, for instance, ended up in Ajax. Till the Oyibo was accused of starting another slave trade!
Westehoff was also responsible, in a way, for making us use players in their prime. Before him what prevailed was the use of overaged players. The result? A consecutive World Cup appearance under his erstwhile assistant, this after the historic clinching of the mother of all gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
When our locals usurped their heirloom, we returned to the status ante. In their naivete our local ‘coachers’ took after Westehoff only literally. Like transpired, they discarded the stars in the local league for dullards playing for teams as lowly as Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Scotland – no pun intended.
Well, in the beautiful game of football, and other sports, we have excelled by outsourcing the responsibility to our best legs and hands in the diaspora. So why shouldn’t we extend the practice to the dirty game of politics?
And there can be no better time for this than now. Up until lately, so many Nigerians have won elections in their places of abode to be ignored. People who ordinarily were outsourced by the trying times we live in here are making well in their abodes. And not just economically.
Politically, they are proving that they are equal to the task. The entire leadership of the Royal Borough of Greenwich in the United Kingdom, for instance, is made up of persons of African descent. Led by Nigerian Anthony Okereke, Averill Lekau is his deputy while a Ghanaian, Dominic Mbang, is the mayor.
These are people in their prime, with their intellect at its hottest. So, rather than have the West harvesting them, why don’t we make the most of them now or never. The more so since all we’ve achieved since the dawn of democracy in 1999 has been a recycling of dinosaurs.