If Nigeria lifts the Africa Cup of Nations trophy, the benefits to different individuals in the West African nation could be astronomical, if not unimaginable. First, Shaibu Amodu, ogre, you will definitely take the team to the World Cup. Secondly, Nigerians will have at least something to smile about.
The 150 plus million population must be the unhappiest population in planet earth, and even beyond - if there are Nigerians in the moon. From clashes in Niger Delta to inter-faith violence in Jos, and who can forget the French leave of President (read former if you believe he's dead) Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. Won't the cup guarantee some smile at least after the final whistle and during trophy presentation?
Yar'Adua. Perhaps he will be the happiest of presidents in the whole wide world if he sees (if he can still see) Joseph Yobo or Kanu Nwankwo or Yakubu or Peter Odemwingie - whoever is the Super Eagles captain in this event - lift the gold-plated trophy, designed and made in Italy. Whether this will get him off his bed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a question that is better left to his doctors.
But isn't happiness only for those who are alive? And who knows whether the son of Fatima and brother to Habiha is still alive? Am one of those who believe he must be up there with Him. What happened when Guinea Bissau President was assassinated in March last year? Wasn't his death covered until it couldn't be anymore? Why did Yar'Adua "give" an interview to the BBC and not to a Nigerian broadcaster when he finally "addressed" his nation? Was it part of a cover-up by the British and America who wouldn't want yet another African nation to descend to anarchy? If that is/was the reason, why don't they pressure the Nigerian government to give presidential powers to Goodluck Jonathan as the constitution stipulates?
And if Yar'Adua is alive (http://thesteifmastertake.blogspot.com/2010/01/yaradua-dead-or-alive-its-over.html), when will he be fit to travel back and show Nigeria the way? Aren't Nigerians and those who care about the West African nation entitled to some answers?
So many questions, no answers. But the only available answer to Nigeria's woes right now may be lies in the feet, chest, head and gloves (Enyeama) of Nigerian footballers representing their country in the Nations Cup. May be, and just may be, triumphing and carrying the Nations Cup trophy to Abuja or Lagos or Jos will remind the warring factions that Nigeria is one country which loves and has faith in football as a unifying factor in the African continent and its 53 states.
Football has brought peace before in other African countries and world over. Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and now Angola is using football to mend patches brought about by civil conflicts.
When the Super Eagles are playing, no one cares if you are Muslim or Christian, Northerner or Southerner. The same perhaps will be said when the Super Eagles parade their trophy harvest from Angola in front of ardent fans.
And if that is what it will take to bring sanity to Nigeria, my support is even stronger. Go Super Eagles, go!
And That's the Steifmastertake!!