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President Jonathan, shut them down….

By Chido Nwangwu

On Wednesday July 7, 2010, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan's tangle with the world's soccer governing body FIFA will see the rugged lines of global soccer cooperation, national sovereign claims and responsibilities intersect and clash, again.

Jonathan's swift hammer fell on the Eagles' shoddy performance at the 2010 World Cup soccer event. For poor results: shut them down for two years to retool and revamp! Jonathan's controversial yet domestically popular decision of Wednesday June 30, 2010, to suspend his country's soccer federation from all international competitions for two years continues to draw a mixed bag of reactions.

Jonathan's approach has forced the world's soccer governing body FIFA, after 48 hours, to threaten serious consequences unless he reversed his decision.

According to FIFA's spokesman Nicolas Maingot, FIFA on July 2, 2010 contacted the Jonathan government by letter, informing Jonathan he has until Monday July 5 to rescind his decision of pulling Nigeria out of international competition. FIFA's threat: “Failure to do so will result in the suspension of the NFF."

The president's advisers have painted him into a corner by the fact of his executive order; and he will not lose face; not the giant of Africa; no! What gives; who will blink?

First, amidst the contradictions of these international confrontations, Nigerians see a familiar reality from the events in South Africa, the Jonathan-FIFA counterpoints and the way things are organized back home… The truth is that not-so-Super Eagles and the shut-them-down order by our President Jonathan mirror our dear and beloved Nigeria….

Second, the Nigeria-FIFA tangle also offers a contrast between Ghana's national sense of organization, consequent successes to Nigeria's fumbles before and during the ongoing world soccer championships in South Africa.

Third, the recent events capture a growing point that Nigeria's small neighbor Ghana with 23 million people, continues by a mix of hardwork, planning and sheer providence, to overshadow and outperform Nigeria's 130 million people on reasonable, development parameters, democratic elections and many departments of organized life.

Is there any wonder that the great Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa president, identified with Ghana in a letter his office sent Friday July 2 to the president of the Ghana Football Association, Kwesi Nyantakyi.

The rock-ribbed statesman and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize underlined the commendable fact that "on the historic occasion of the first FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Africa, it is a great pleasure to see that Ghana has reached the quarter-finals."

I believe that Nigeria's sad, disgraceful exit from the 2010 World Cup soccer in South Africa reflect the symptoms and underlying factors which restrain the full talent and scope of our dear Nigeria!

To borrow a popular Nigerian manner of speaking, in short, we rarely compete or serve Nigeria with a full team of our first eleven without regard to ethnic or religious origins. In short, again, we all lose; complain and field another team that does not reflect our first eleven in sports, politics, governance, business…

Without a doubt, we know that Nigeria's problems are many and complicated. Hence, I will ask the obvious critical question: should Nigeria shut down all other troubled and non-performing arms and agencies, at least, for two years, in order to move the country forward? No; it will not happen! It will not happen, not for the great reasons of keeping all engines running but for a different, open secret I'll remind you.

The fact is that many elite Nigerians and leaders, at various levels, profit from the failures and incompetence of the country Nigeria. It will not happen because some profit from erecting walls of system failures and obstacles against progress of many segments of Nigeria's political economy and infrastructure!

Talk about shut-down; how many years and how many more deaths should Nigerians live with and tolerate in the vile face of the violent environmental destruction of the once verdant and lush Niger Delta?

How long before we shut Nigeria's electricity agency in order to get light and energy as opposed to darkness and the environmental pollution of a thousand mini-generators? I believe that President Jonathan has made a commendable move by appointing the demonstrably capable Prof. Barth Nnaji as his point-man on power generation/electricity supply.

Now, I ask, when will the government of Nigeria shut down oil exploration polluters, mercenary domestic bunkerers and illegal operators who destroy the capacity of Niger Delta children to swim around their village rivers and have the semblance of a normal life?

When will Nigeria hold the oil major accountable across the Niger Delta and adjoining, impacted communities and States in a similar way as U.S President Barack Obama is holding BP responsible in Gulf of Mexico?

I raised this same issue by comparing the oil spills in the Niger Delta to the oil spill in America's Gulf of Mexico/Louisiana/Mississippi in the forthcoming profile-interview which CNN International had with me on June 24 and June 25, 2010, at USAfrica's offices in Houston, Texas.

Where are the development values and evidences of the trillions retired General Olusegun Obasanjo and his Mr. Fix it Chief Tony Anenih"spent" on federal roads when it still takes deadly, destructive and excruciating long hours to drive (??) from Lagos to Asaba or Aba or Port Harcourt? Why are Nigerians still sentenced to overnight waits for fuel and kerosine?

I recall vividly asking the then President Olusegun Obasanjo during an editorial board meeting in Houston in November 2003 about his agenda to tackle the energy/fuel/electric power supply problems of Nigeria. His swift response argued that his government had invested in trying to rebuild the refineries, and insisted that Nigerians got the cheapest, subsidized fuel in the world!

Talking about shutting down operations, how many more years are we going to wait to reap the fruits of Obasanjo's "investments" in those Nigerian refineries? How many times have we all seen the "shutting down" of those refineries for the "importation and processing" of petroleum and its derivative products by influential Nigerians?

How long have Nigerians waited for the optimal results from the multi-billion deals and contracts for the rehabilitation of some of Nigeria's "refineries" by those who came before Obasanjo?

When will the farmers in Ogbomoso, Zauzau, Sobi and Abakiliki feed and take good care of their families and communities off their lands?

When will Nigerian schools and universities be rebuilt for safety and proper education? Should they be shut down for several years, and be retooled?

On public policy and geo-politics, when will Nigeria shut down its congenitally retrogressive troops of ethnocentric warlords who continue their wasteful anti-Igbo wars, believing, foolishly, they can block the full talent and entrepreneurial and mercantilist capacities of a segment of its productive citizenry? Or the perennial, never-fully-executed contracts to "rebuild" the wickedly rickety Onitsha Niger bridge?

For that matter, when will President Jonathan confront and shut down the sources of opulent, power-play funds which a few of the retired but not tired Generals deploy at will to confuse and frighten the eyes of childhood across Nigeria and intimidate the spaghetti-spine civilian politicians in Nigeria? Or will they shut him (Jonathan) down, first? In short, who no know go know....

To properly conclude, I'll call forth, again, those two powerful words, in short, President Jonathan has many things to shut down to move Nigeria forward…that is, if he prefers the swift and shut-it-down-for-two-years approach.

In short, we have to shut down this brief commentary of mine; not for two years but for only 20 seconds….

• Chido Nwangwu, Founder of USAfrica, and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com, The Black Business Journal, CLASSmagazine, PhotoWorks.TV, AchebeBooks.com, Nigeria360, USAfricaTV and several blogs, assessed by The New York TImes as the most influential multimedia networks for Africans and Americans. He served on the editorial board of the Daily Times of Nigeria in Lagos and worked for the Nigerian Television Authority (news) in the 1980s; publicity committee of the Holocaust Museum, Houston; recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in May 2009; adviser on Africa to Houston's former Mayor Dr. Lee Brown. Chido appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, SABC, CBSNews, ABCNews, FOXNews, NBCNews, etc. [email protected] wireless: 832-45-CHIDO (24436). Office: 713-270-5500. Published on Saturday July 3 , 2010 on USAfricaonline.com.

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