For Dollar$ We Play – By Femi Akomolafe

Femi Akomolafe
Femi Akomolafe

By Femi Akomolafe

I had a rather interesting discussion with an acquaintance after the Ghana Black Stars were kicked out of the World Cup. I thought it was interesting and worth sharing. Here goes:

 

 

 

 

 

ACQUAINTANCE:

Femi, greetings, it has been a while since we last read from you. What happened?

FEMI
What happened to what?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Ah, are we in bad mood again, today?

FEMI
Who is in bad mood?

ACQUAINTANCE:
Do you have to answer every question with another question?

FEMI

Says who?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Oh, boy! I asked what happened and look at where you turned it?

FEMI
And I asked you what happened to what?

ACQUAINTANCE:
What happened to keep you silent all this while?

FEMI
Who told you I kept silent?

ACQUAINTANCE:
We have not been reading your lucid posts.

FEMI

Lucid?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Femi, you are really a contrarian. Yes, lucid, as in L.U.C.I.D.

FEMI

Ha, you! I know how to spell lucid.

ACQUAINTANCE:

You do? How nice. Yes, lucid as in eloquent, as in coherent…

FEMI

You! I surely know the meaning of lucid. I am just wondering what the praise is for.

ACQUAINTANCE:

You are something else. All these while, you kept quiet when there were so many rumblings in the land.

FEMI

Rumblings?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Please don’t tell me that you didn’t hear about the ignominious display our players displayed in Brazil.

FEMI

Why do you put the blame on the players?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Do you mean that we shouldn’t blame players who disrespected all authority, including the president, and showed insubordination, gross indiscipline and disgraced the whole country?

FEMI

That, precisely, is our problem in this country…

ACQUAINTANCE:

What! What is the problem in the country? Do you mean to tell me that you absolve the errant players? What is wrong with you?

FEMI

If only you will listen and let me explain before you jump in to interrupt me. You asked me a question, and I was trying to explain, but you keep interrupting. Do you want a debate or a discussion?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Debate or discussion? What do you mean?

FEMI

With debate, you are yearning to prove a point; with discussion, we listen to each other and learn from one another.

ACQUAINTANCE:

It is just that you do not make sense. The whole country is blaming the players for their insubordination and their gross disrespect to the president? And you are engaging me in semantics.

FEMI

It is not semantics. Have you heard of the saying that respect is earned and cannot be commanded?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Do you mean to say that players can be disrespectful even to the country’s president? You cannot be serious, Femi Akomolafe, you simply cannot!

FEMI

If only you will calm down sufficiently to listen to the point I was going to make. Heaven knows that I said no such thing about anyone disrespecting anyone. The trouble with people like you is that you hear only the things you want to hear. If only you will let me explain…

ACQUAINTANCE:

What is there to explain? The whole country has condemned the players’ action. Do you mean to tell me that you are wiser than the whole twenty-five million Ghanaians?

FEMI

Now, you are being ridiculous.

ACQUAINTANCE:

No, I am not. I know that you’re a contrarian; you have proven it time without number. But you seem to be carrying it to a ridiculous extent. No amount of rationalization can justify the action of the players. Let us call a spade a spade.

FEMI

Whatever. It looks like you have made up your mind not to listen to me.

ACQUAINTANCE:

What is there to listen to? After all, you have said that it was OK for football players to insult the president.

FEMI

Now, you are being patently absurd. I said no such thing. What I said was that people are respected because they earn it, and not because they asked for it. As usual, in our blessed republic, we are incapable of rationally analyzing things or events, so that useful lessons can be learned, to ensure that mistakes do not reoccur. No, we do no such thing. We look for easy scape-goats, latch onto that, and presto the whole country jumps onto the bandwagon. Everybody says the same thing and go home happy. Next time, we go through the same process all over, making the same stupid mistakes because no lessons were learned. Let me ask you a question?

ACQUAINTANCE:

Go ahead.

FEMI

If you send an army to a battle, do you blame the privates for any debacle?

ACQUAINTANCE:

What has that got to do with what the Black Star players did. I don’t see any clear analogy here.

FEMI

Don’t you? You don’t blame ordinary soldiers for the loss of battles or wars. You blame the Generals and their political leaders. When things go awry, you blame those that lead, and not the ones that are led. But in Ghana, we pass on blames to low-level hirelings and leave those mandated to make decisions. It is convenient but it has never helped us and it never will. This was not the first time we have had this type of debacle in our blessed republic. Were lessons learned? Of course, not. As soon as the wind blows over any sad event, we all quickly forget and move on. Like grasshoppers, we cannot think beyond the NOW. Until next time, that is. And we begin again to scurry around for convenient scapegoats. It is easy and very convenient to blame the players. They are the easy scapegoats. It is easy to holler and cry ourselves hoarse for their lack of their patriotism. That is easy. What is never easy for us to do is to ask ourselves the simple question of how many of us are patriotic? How many citizens of Ghana are patriotic? How many of those of us hollering ‘patriotism’ know the meaning of the word? We bandy the word indiscipline around like we know its true meaning. Like we are all the epitome of discipline. Like we are Mr. Disciplined Personified. Ha! How many Ghanaians are disciplined? How many of those of us busy condemning exhibit any sense of discipline in our private and public life?

I have used this column to lament the general level of indiscipline in the land. Truth be told; we are a nation of undisciplined even ill-disciplined people. We are a bunch of sanctimonious ragamuffins. We only need to take a look at the general mess in the land to know that there is no discipline anywhere in Ghana. From the Christians that believe that they are above our laws and make their noises everywhere, to the commercial drivers that believe that road signs are part of road decorations, to citizens that spit everywhere and believe that drains were meant for garbage dump, to public servants that cannot get to office on time, we are all guilty of high indiscipline. And we talk about patriotism; patriotism died a painful death long time in our dear country. No, let’s stop blaming the Black Stars Players. I do not condone what they did, I do not sanction the disgraceful performance they put up in Brazil, but the blame should start right from the top. Yes, right from the top. Mr. President should tell us what qualifications recommended those he appointed as Ministers in the sports ministry. I have said that until we in Africa stop treating governance of the nation as an avenue to create jobs for the boys and the girls, we will never make a headway. In the countries we call advanced, people do not become Ministers by mere chance. No, they must have demonstrated good aptitude that recommend them to high office. Government is far too important to be left at the hands of party hacks.

We also should ask Mr. President what remit he gave his ministers when he appointed them. What goals did the ministers set to achieve. It is axiomatic that you will achieve little if you do not have a goal or a game plan. What plans did the ministers bring to the office, and what timeline did they set to achieve them? We can ask the same of the Chairman of the Ghana Football Association, then down to the Head Coach. If I remember correctly, the Coach said his target was the semi-finals of the tournament. If he had set himself that goal and failed to deliver, what reason informed keeping him if he lacks the moral rectitude to resign honourably? Oh, sorry, no one resigns in our part of the world; the allure of office is too inviting. We saw the Brazilian coach coming out to blame himself for his nation’s humiliation, in contrast to our coaches who, shamelessly, blame his players. Whichever way we throw it around, too many things went awry to cause our fiasco in Brazil. Why were there no plans to pay players before things got out of hand? Pray, we cried ‘indiscipline’ all over the airwaves, but how do we expect to have discipline in a country where the Executive arm of the government itself is the chief law-breaker?

Few weeks ago, the authorities came out to tell us that it is illegal to pay for goods and services in any other currency apart from the cedi. That is the law. But, here we are, the government wilfully broke its own rules and breached the laws of the land, and airlifted Uncle Sam currency, to go and pay Ghanaian citizens in faraway Brazil. Does the government have the moral standing to prosecute anyone that breaches laws that it also so blatantly breached? That is the question we lack the moral courage to ask.

And pray, what type of banana republic do we run where a President can withdraw and spend 3 million US Dollars without parliamentary sanction? As I have written times without number, there is no way we can have discipline in the country unless and until our leaders themselves are disciplined. How do we get motorists to obey traffic rules when we have our president convoy driving on the wrong side of the road? How do we expect our drivers not to attempt to cut corners when we see the Inspector-General of police driving citizens off road with his siren? Leadership is by example. If leaders at the helm of our national affairs have exhibited high level of discipline and probity, there is no way we will be in the fine mess we are today. And that is the truth.

 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of ghnewsnow.com

For more from this author visit: www.alaye.biz

 

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