IF TIGER WOOD WERE A NIGERIAN?
If Tiger Wood were a Nigerian?
Snapshots By Sylvester Udemezue
Thursday, March 04, 2010
I am no Golf buff. But it has come handy in the bid to look away, even if temporarily, from the Yar'Adua palaver. I had argued recently that the country should move on, that the president and his doctors be given the ambience for recovery since the Vice President is effectively in charge. Some readers called for my head. One pointedly said I had been paid to campaign for the ailing president. Another said I was sentimental, not drawing a line between Yar'Adua and his office. Well, comments are free.
My last word on the matter remains this; those calling for the President's outright impeachment irrespective of a duly constituted Acting President are playing god. We called for an adherence to the constitution and the rule of law. We got it. Why do we want the president's head, did he make himself ill? Everyone knows and agrees that Goodluck Jonathan is in charge. We hold him responsible for how he plays the card in his hands. The so-called cabal now holding the President hostage since his sudden return now knows that the game is up. We worry about people we ought to ignore. If Jonathan is bereft of what to do with power then 15 more months, if Yar'Adua fails to recover, as it now seems, won't kill. He would have confirmed his touted spinelessness.
That would be sad. Let's return to Golf.
The game had long earned a reputation of a pass time for the super rich. The players and fans would rather keep it so than popularize or pauperise a sport that has helped them keep a comfortable distance from the dregs of the society. How could they allow Golf become football? They certainly cannot stand the hysteria of football or the mass of plebeians, as it were, busying themselves with varied aspects of the round leather game. I have been enamoured by that sleek young man who showed up on golf and changed the face of things. Not that he lowered the game or did any harm to its aristocratic status. He came from an unusual background and shot himself into prominence as the tiger of golf. Tiger Woods shot like an arrow from the blues to hit the number one position in golf and stayed there until three months ago when he was forced to quit albeit temporarily.
Tiger, dashing, handsome and rich had been philandering in a series of affairs. Elin, his wife, was devastated when the press broke loose with a serial opening up of extra marital affairs, which portrayed the young man as one without control of his zippers. He controlled the golf ball and putted in the right holes just as he sowed wild oats across the United States. I felt pity for a rising star on the verge of dimming, not because his passion for the game had waned, or he had become lazy at working but moral issues had encumbered professional ascendancy. What a pity.
He ate the fruit of shame and promptly announced an exit from the game.
When the matter broke, I recalled the Bill Clinton presidency. Monica Lewinsky, a kiss-and-tell intern in the White House almost cost him the most influential job in the world. The House of Representatives actually impeached Clinton but the move failed at the senate.
Hilary, Bill's wife, now Secretary of State saw through the problem and stood by her husband.
Many Nigerian men and politicians have tended to suppress chuckles at such stories. They wonder how Americans make so much fuss about such 'trivialities'. I recall incurring my supervisor's wrath when I cast a headline in the wake of a Governor's Forum wherein I said 'Girls invade Governors' meeting'. He said I was trivializing the meeting and I had left the substance to pursue shadows. It made no meaning that women of easy virtue had thronged the venue of a critical forum like the entire governors of states in the country and some of the governors allegedly made their choices with instructions on aides to take such 'cargo' to their suites. I need clarify that the incident under reference happened in the early days of the Obasanjo regime.
I had imagined such headlines in a foreign tabloid and the effect on the political future of the politicians. But here is a clime where politicians allegedly appoint aides whose sole duty is to arrange regular bevy of ladies for the boss. Some mistresses have the temerity to look for 'Oga' in his office. Such relationships are open secrets. It would be trivial for a news medium to make a mountain of such molehills. In our clime public figures mask under 'private life' and lead morally denigrating lifestyles, detracting heavily from their status as role models.
Greatness comes with a price. When your face commands public recognition you are immediately placed with a moral burden. To seek to savour the goodies accruing from such reputation and ditch the burden attendant there from is to enjoy power without responsibility or to deceive an appreciative public.
A politician, sports guru, famous actor and other such people who live on the public vicariously cannot cheat on their wives, frolic in booze and generally cavort around town and still daze the public with the false image of heroes and role models. That's why Tiger Woods came on CNN to apologise to his fans and the world. That's why he checked into a rehabilitation home to purge him of low life, to stand in the expected stead. He didn't just cheat on his wife. He also cheated on the public.
Now here is no moral hammer dangling on the heads of Nigerian men or the public. But I make an exception of politicians and public figures. Time has come when moral misdemeanors should cost people their positions or standing in the society. It is immoral for political aides invade universities in the wake of meetings to ferry young girls to such meeting venue. In fact pimping is said to be a big profession in those circles. It was General Mamman Kontangora who, as Minister of works visited a certain state and a bevy of campus girls were arranged for his entourage. He got peeved and berated the officials. He demanded that the officials showed him their daughters among the girls. The girls were promptly returned to face their studies.
If Tiger Woods were a Nigerian, he would probably still have cavorted with scores of girls. He would still have hugged the hero image. It hardly mattered if everyone knew how loose his zippers were.