By ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi
Two eminent Nigerian coaches, Stephen Keshi and Shaibu Amodu, discovered and joined two different coaches on the train that journeyed to a different realm. The latter only allowed 2 days to pass before joining the former on this train.
Change is constant, so they say, maybe it’s the only constant thing in the life of these coaches, as well as in mine and yours. There are incidentally only two (in my reckoning) significant changes that take place throughout the life of man and these changes are somewhat akin to transmogrification. That is exactly what has happened to Stephen and Shaibu, or what they happened to.
The first change being their appearance in the womb of their mothers and from nothing (maybe not absolutely nothing but from an invisible ‘tadpole’ and a dormant egg), respectively cuddling themselves in the warmth of that world away from “the world”. They became foetuses, awaiting the expiration of a nine-month period of relative redundancy wherever they were tucked.
There was another change though, which is the transition from the womb to the world during birth. However, this is like merely walking (albeit with the staggered gaits of a stranger) from a cozy cave, through a dark but comfortable tunnel, to the open field, a wilderness filled with all shapes of animals, the dove, the serpent, the tortoise and the lion. This really does not qualify as a significant change.
The second change takes place when you die and this is significant. That transmogrification into a different plane, where Keshi and Amodu do not… (do not what? Will I claim to really know, as a matter of fact, what happens in that realm? No! Not yet). But those two coaches do know now, no envy, no regrets because they must have lived almost fully on this part.
It should be noted that these changes take place as a result of activities (or otherwise) that preceded such changes. For Stephen and Shaibu, their transmogrification cannot be disconnected from their commitment to their beloved country on and off the field of play. This has been mouthed by many Nigerians, as confirmed by Stephen Keshi Jnr., who however claimed that nobody has contacted the family with respect to coming up with the burial date. And one hopes those who might have, after he made that claim are not simply out to impress by paying lip-service to whatever legacies or the need to immortalise these fallen (transcended) heroes.
What do we have after the change? Talks, talk and more talks. The Senate of the Nigeria nation, for whom these two coaches lived and possibly died for, held a one-minute silence for the coaches only after “the Chairman Senate Committee on Youth and Sports, Senator Obinna Ogba raised the motions on the demise of the former Super Eagles coaches”. Of course, the majority of that enclave, especially the leaders, must have been burdened by personal need to extricate themselves from ongoing (and would-be ongoing) corruption trials essentially to remember that significant one minute for a departed hero. They needed a reminder.
While the Senate “eulogised the coaches and resolved to send a delegation to their families”, she also “resolved to urge the Federal Government to immortalise the late Stephen Keshi”. It is a cycle that never ends (oh, maybe this one ends in oblivion as always).
When it happens that these coaches are immortalised, that would amount to “change” as against what we have known of how a country treats her heroes. I suppose the Senate expects Nigerians to know she was only joking when she said she will “urge” the FGN to immortalise Keshi. And that is taking for granted that the FGN herself has vowed to immortalise the coaches. It may not be that Nigerians are a pessimistic lot; maybe we are just not amnesic. What happens to the thousands of Nigerian heroes past? How about Rashidi Yekini, whose memory is fresh? Which ones were duly immortalised? Will it start now? Maybe…and that will be change.
Without expecting so much from the FGN, it will be wise to immortalise our heroes the best way we can even if it’s a plot on our minds. And while we do that, let us remember that giving the best of ourselves to our nation, while we still can and long or short before the train approaches for us to join, acquire our own personalised coaches on the journey to another realm, may be one significant fulfilment after all.
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