BURNING POT BY PRICE CHARLES DICKSON
Cricket musing over Nigeria’s General Elections
A fly, a harlot, a beggar, a rat, and gusty wind; the village-boss and the tax collector--these seven are all annoying to others--Indian proverb
To the proverb above I add, the Nigerian politician and leader, that makes it eight, add the Nigerian as a person and that makes it nine. The reason I have separated both is, very many a times you wonder if the politician in Nigerian or if the Nigerian is actually a citizen…
So on the 14th of February I sat in front of the Television, it was not just Valentine, but equally my marriage anniversary, and ordinarily would have been on the field covering the electoral process, but Nigeria’s elite, politicians and self serving individuals conspired for both good and not so good reasons to push the elections further down the next month.
So I decided to watch soccer, football as we call it in these parts, scanned channels and no match of interest till I stumbled on cricket; it was a match in the ongoing Cricket World Cup.
You need to appreciate that fact I even knew that there was a Cricket World cup ongoing. So what really is cricket, and how does it concern Nigeria, or Nigerians at that?
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players each on a field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Each team takes its turn to bat, attempting to score runs, while the other team fields. Each turn is known as an innings.
The bowler delivers the ball to the batsman who attempts to hit the ball with his bat away from the fielders so he can run to the other end of the pitch and score a run. Each batsman continues batting until he is out. The batting team continues batting until ten batsmen are out, or a specified number of overs of six balls have been bowled, at which point the teams switch roles and the fielding team comes in to bat.
In professional cricket the length of a game ranges from 20 overs per side to Test cricket played over five days.
You get to hear things like wicket, batsman, and innings...
95% of Nigerians know nothing about cricket, and that ironically includes myself—So what was I watching it for, to kill boredom, to learn, to get amused, by all that running, hitting, fez caps they wore.
Then, Okey my car body mechanic came to drop the car after a minor body work...after inspecting the car and paying him, I asked him to give my regards to his family, his response was "Oga dem still dey village, my mother say make I leave after we go Christmas, till after election..."
And yes Okey left his family in the east, for some it is not their families but they inclusive have temporarily relocated.
My family friend, his name is Brazil. (Got the name for his footballing prowess) but his our mechanic—at the office the other day he quipped, "Many of us would vote Buhari because it is the safest and closest for we Yorubas to get the presidency."
Short of saying, "There is an unspoken believe that the General would soon die..."
Never in our recent past have we got to this stage of hate---While some blame Jonathan and politicians, need I say that the current hate on display has always been there waiting for an opportunity such as this.
The headlines are not as scary as the words that come out off the politicians--Pastors, Imams are being bribed and counter bribed.
In homes, there are sharp divides along the two Presidential candidates and it is sad that none of both men in practical terms have a grasp. It is so much of shadow boxing that reality.
And depending on whose report you are reading, the depth is so pedestrian and my nation has become a laughing stock--The President says he invited the United States, and the United States says, "We received no such invite to fight Boko Haram"
The All Progressive Congress APC, at its current pace, except for a few has made every crook on the street a "progressive", sure that even Idi Amin would find home with them.
Conspiracy theories are being flown by no other than persons like Obasanjo, who is either endorsing and re-endorsing, that is when he is not alleging a coup or a Gbagbo like disgrace for Jonathan.
The theorists are on the over-drive, I heard that Ambode of Lagos is not totally sound, and he comes out to say “ I am of sound mind and body”, and Jonathan then tells us he is not aware that there was going to be a postponement, but gets briefed by his security chiefs every two hours, like a newspaper reports that Buhari’s madam gave drugs worth scores of millions, when indeed it was a few millions.
Meanwhile the commoners are running to the village to vote and escape the impending violence in some areas, and the Politicians have booked their one-way ticket to safety.
PVC cards are now bought at costs higher than the dollar, and we say this would in theory a difficult election to rig, even in theory you don’t cheat in cricket but in practice, loads can happen, even with the umpire watching
So, back to my cricket match, I did not know who was losing, why they were loosing, what they were doing wrong, I just wanted to enjoy the match.
My call to my fellow country men and women remains that we need to define what are our problems, and find solutions to them, if not, for now, we are only drawing a map with sand on the concrete fall, a little wind and its all gone. We are playing a cricket match that we know little of its end result.
May 29th will come and come, what becomes of Nigeria—Only time would tell