Many will agree that this definitely is not a good way to start the year which is believed will be fruitful but starting with wastefulness is definitely not the way to go especially now that the country is trying to regain herself economically.
Last week, the federal government announced a high powered delegation to lead the Nigerian contingent to the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament starting on Sunday, January 9, 2022 in Cameroon.
The delegation will be led by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila; the Deputy Senate president, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; the chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba and Honourable Olumide Osoba respectively.
Others are the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele; Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola; Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare; Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammed Abubakar; Ministers of State for Finance; Prince Clem Ikanade Agba; Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Science & Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi; the Special Adviser to Mr President on Sports, Daniel Amokachi as well as a representative of the Department of State Security (DSS).
Also part of the special delegation are the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Sunday Asefun; Chairman of Air-Peace, Mr Allen Onyeama; Executive Director, Premier Lotto, Mr Bisi Adebutu; Executive Director Marketing, Nigeria Breweries, Mr Emmanuel Orhiaki; Managing Director, MTN, Mr Karl Toriola and the Managing Director of Coca-cola, Mr Alfred Olajide.
The delegation is expected to leave for Cameroon on Monday, the 10th of January, 2022 ahead of Nigeria’s first game on Tuesday, 11th of January against Egypt. The group games will be played in Garoua. The Super Eagles of Nigeria are in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau.
Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the AFCON especially the Super Eagles deserve government presence to make them put in their best and probably know how the government and people of the country are supporting them and expectant of the AFCON trophy but that does not mean that we should go above board to do that.
Many will agree that there are many pressing needs the common man on the streets of Nigeria needs than the presumed support being given to the Super Eagles. Taking a delegation of 20 persons to the AFCON is absurd and uncalled for in a country where many cannot afford a three-square mean.
One wonders what business the minister of works has to do with such trip, or is Nigeria planning to construct roads to Cameroun? And what business does the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has to do with AFCON, are Super Eagles civil servants or are we planning to employ people from Cameroun to join the civil service force?
Are we planning to start agricultural business or convert the pitches to farmland after AFCON in Cameroun or the Minister of Agriculture just want to go and watch match?
What about the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria? Even if there is anything to do with money, either CBN governor or Finance Minister should be able to handle that, or just phone call will do that and moreover, the Super Eagles has a secretary that can handles money.
The most surprising one is the Ministry of Science and Technology. What has AFCON got to do with the Ministry or was it the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick that demanded for it, considering the scientific football he wants the Eagles to play?
Well since the Department of State Security (DSS) is included, it is also advisable for the Police, Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) and others to be part of the party.
What about the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), even if it is a youth game, is it necessary for him to be on the train, can’t it be watched on the screen.
However, there are some people that actually deserve to be in the delegation if at all there is any need for the trip and the first person who is also the chief host is the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare; the Special Adviser to Mr President on Sports, Daniel Amokachi and the sponsors of the Super Eagles who can sponsor themselves to Cameroun.
Of course, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila; the Deputy Senate president, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; the chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba and Honourable Olumide Osoba are good enough to be there too.
However, some schools of thought believe that the money that will be used to take the delegation to Cameroun should have been used to take more supporters’ club members that will be ready to cheer the team to high heavens.
It will cost less to take about 150 Supporters club members than the 20 persons going on delegation because the delegation will stay in five or six-star hotel if there is anything like that while the Supporters club members can stay even in a less than one-star hotel to cheer their darling team. The hotel, food, transport and allowance of 150 Supporters club members will not be up to one-tenth that would be spent by even five members of the delegation.
And it is interesting to note that no one out of the Delegation will cheer or spur the Eagles to play well not even when they score because they are big men. However, reducing the number of delegation and increasing the number of supporters’ club members will go a long way to spur the team to glory otherwise, the Super Eagles will be playing in an empty stadium or stadium filled with our opponents’ supporters and that of course will mean that Eagles are there to make up the number because they will look dejected and unable to bring out their best in them and will return home soon.