Home » Opinion » Baba Golden Eaglet!

Baba Golden Eaglet!

He raged onto the Nigerian political landscape on the last day of 1983
like a hurricane. He landed with such hard-tackling whirlwind that swept
aside the earlier edition of the country’s floundering and swaggering
tribe of political vampires. His smart-fitting military attire aided him
in marshalling his strikes then with immediate effect and, in the words
of a legendary character in a comic soap opera, “automatic
alacrity.” In August, 1985, the country’s _Baby Eagles_, with his
regime, won the inaugural world cadet football championship in far-away
China. That was some two weeks before politicians in uniform
slide-tackled him out of play, but not before he had broken his on-going
leave to receive the team he swiftly rechristened _World Golden

The then _Uncle Sharp-Sharp_ staged a dramatic return thirty  years
later as _Baba Go-Slow_, but within six months, his sharp-shooting
_Eaglets_ conquered the world again in Chile. Incidentally, it happened
less than seventy-two hours to the inauguration of his long-awaited
cabinet. The latest feat of Nigeria’s Under-17 national football team
thus placed a huge burden of national expectation on _Baba Golden
Eaglet_  – the super coach who, at over 73 doubling as his cabinet’s
goal keeper, still exudes the exuberance and agility of a

Nigeria’s fifth elected executive president has his _World Golden
Eaglets_ to thank for helping to produce, register and advertise his
jersey No. 5 with that recurring decimal. Their maiden feat came in
1985. The latest title, coming in 2015, was their fifth, incidentally
the highest level the country has attained in world football ranking.
Will the no-nonsense coach-player and his cabinet perform like his
_Golden Eaglets_ and conquer the world? Will _Baba Golden Eaglet_ be
able to take his country to the position of the world’s fifth largest
economy by the fifth month of 2019 when his (first) tenure expires?

Very tall order! But perhaps not taller than the tallest principal
occupant, to date, of the Aso Rock Villa. Fulfilling his big promise to
reward the 1985 Golden Eaglets for their magnificent feat turned a tall
order when the one who would ultimately step aside, _maradonally_
stepped in! But spurred on with the aura of the indomitability of the
spirit of his _Eaglets_, enveloped in his own inimitable relentlessness
in the pursuit of his mission for his nation, he returned thirty years
later to make it a promise kept! Even Nkuka Ugbade, the captain of the
history-making squad, following the N2 million-per-player largesse, the
highest award on the day, let it be known it was now clear “miracles
do happen.”

What miracle that has yet to happen though, was the replication at the
senior level, even on a limited scale, of the country’s global feat at
the Under-17 level! In the vision of the Federation of International
Football Associations (FIFA), the governing body of world football, the
Under-17 championship is no more than a developmental project. The big
deal is the real thing itself – The World Cup.

Sadly, not a few observers suspected the ugly situation to be a
consequence of corruption. The country had been severally accused of
being one of those strongly suspected to revel in fielding
“over-aged” players in desperate attempts to win age-grade titles.
Even at home, a good number of citizens were persuaded the senior team
suffered because the “over-aged” juniors would have passed their
prime by the time they were supposed to graduate.

Five-time world champions at the “developing” level but virtually
nothing worthy to flaunt, and occupying a lost position, at the
“developed” level, Nigeria’s economic and political situation is
vividly captured. The same monster – corruption – is generally held
culpable for this regrettable inability of Nigeria to exert economic and
political might beyond the junior (developing) frontiers of Africa. The
country prides herself as the Giant of the continent, but what position
has the status as “Africa’s largest economy” taken the country to
in global ranking?

Luckily, _Baba Golden Eaglet_ had always been aware of this grave
anomaly – a calamity for potentially one of the greatest nations in
the world. He has already taken a cue from FIFA which, at the peak of
the global suspicion, introduced the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
medical testing technique to take out junior players worldwide suspected
of the age limit corruption. It is to Baba’s credit that, at the peak
of the political corruption that has held his beloved country down for
decades, he has deployed the expected political MRI to take out the
economic cheats and political vampires.

That was his promise! “If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will
kill Nigeria.” With political venom injected into the hitherto
non-performing fangs of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies, the time to bark, sting and
bite seems right on the horizon. The day of reckoning perhaps has come
for those self-centred but over-pampered and over-ambitious political
terrorists operating well beyond their legitimate economic grade.
Trouble time appears lurking for those swaggering rakes whose only
contribution to the nation stands not beyond merely loitering around the
corridors of power, yet living ultra-luxury lives. Time up, or is it
not, for the prowling “yam robbers” owning Dubai mansions, private
jets and luxury yachts, yet owing crumbling financial institutions
billions in non-performing loans!

Unfortunately for _Baba Golden Eaglet_, this time he has no luxury of
thirty years to fulfill his promise. Aside of age and constitutional
handicap, men of similar vision and mission hardly enjoy such luxury.
General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, so much in a hurry to change the system
and now being celebrated forty years on, had only six months. Bad news
then that the monster still managed to creep even into the national
budget right under Baba’s nose, through the “budget mafia” coup of
_paddy-paddy_ whose technocratic term was forwarded as padding. But
perhaps, the sterling attributes of patriotism, dedication,  sacrifice,
honour and discipline which he shares with his late boss, and which
should henceforth be the motivation for seeking political office, should
see him through.

The man in jersey No. 5, in the battle he has set for himself, must not
fail. In the light of the fumbling and wobbling of the _Super Eagles_,
Nigerians have always looked up to the _Golden Eaglets_ for global
football glory. When the Eaglets fail, Nigerians mourn. On current form,
it could be all over for Nigeria if _Baba Golden Eaglet_ fails in his
mission. He must not fail. He dares not fail. And Nigerians dare not
watch him fail.


0802 313 4525,


Ikorodu, Lagos.

%d bloggers like this: