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Random Thoughts – Merciless Messi, Marginalised Ndigbo And Other Matters, By Austen Chilokwu

MAGICAL and mesmerizing Messi celebrated his 8th Ballon d’Or trophy with Inter Miami fans yesterday, 10th Nov, 2023. The global superstar is a bundle of joy to watch while gliding with a ball as if latched on his foot; an incredible artist imbued with prodigious talent and unaccustomed humility. Interestingly, the gods of soccer magnanimously unleashed him as a gift to football lovers and humanity.

On 13th Dec, 2022 he was largely instrumental when Argentina prevailed over Croatia in the pulsating semi-final clash that held the sporting world spellbound. It was a masterclass and Messi was merciless. He is and remains the king of football, the quintessential prodigy of the round leather game. He glides and manoeuvres as if he is from another planet. Messi is phenomenal and thrills/gives the football-loving world orgasmic pleasure with his captivating moves. There will be no other magical MESSI.

Almighty God creates geniuses for the benefit and joy of mankind. Everything about God is perfection. Each and every one of us is not denied everything. What Messi lost in diminutiveness he gained in his magical feet. Messi, the magical tactician was lucky as penalties are anybody’s game. He is in the twilight of his career and deserves the cup more than Mbappe/France.

The argument about who is the GOAT has been settled as Messi lifted the World Cup as well as pocketed 3 more Ballon d’Ors for the best footballer of the year more than his arch-rival, Ronaldo. He is a blazing star in the world of football. His fans yearn for him to metamorphose into the mythical bird, Phoenix and attain immortality or be reborn from ashes and continue to regale the world but he is human and will traverse the way of all mortals.


By contrast, Ibos are losing ‘battles’ and many have voiced their concern about Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Leaders of Thought for inaction or deafening silence in some instances but I must admit that the era of Prof Ben Nwabueze, a foremost constitutional lawyer who joined his ancestors a couple of weeks ago was distinctly different as his voice (and pen) reverberated across the nation (ditto Hon John Nnia Nwodo’s tenure). Ndigbo lost a gem and he would be sorely missed.

However, it is a shame that a legion of Ibo leaders is enveloped in reticence, docility, inexplicable silence and appear more concerned about their personal pockets than the welfare and security of Ndigbo. Chinua Achebe in his thrilling novel (Things Fall Apart) stated thus: “When an adult is in the house, the she-goat is not left to suffer the pains of parturition on its tether.” Ohaneze Ndigbo and our Leaders of Thought are our ‘adults’ and should not allow our kins to be subjected to perennial marginalization.

It is worth mentioning that Arewa Consultative Forum and Afenifere almost always remonstrated whenever Hausa/Fulani or Yoruba interests respectively were impugned, maligned or their citizens subjugated.  It is not necessary to be copycats but the perennial marginalisation which has become the norm should be curtailed.

Surprisingly, an ‘outsider’ a few weeks ago cried more than the bereaved. In his valedictory speech, retired JSC Dattijo Muhammad affirmed: “On the current composition of the bench of the apex court, …. alleged that the refusal to fill the vacant slot of South East on the apex court bench, was deliberate.” He stressed that since the demise of Justices Ngwuta in March 2021 and Nweze in July 2023 there had been no replacements from the South East and added that currently, the North Central zone had no representative.

On the membership of the Supreme Court panel that judged the appeal, Justice Muhammad said: “To ensure justice and transparency in presidential appeals from the lower court, all geo-political zones are required to participate in the hearing. It is therefore dangerous for democracy and equity for 2 entire regions to be left out in the decisions that will affect the generality of Nigerians.”

Coincidentally, the same issues were raised in my RANDOM THOUGHTS of 9th March (which I sent to a few Leaders of Thought) wherein I enquired: “Why has the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC – headed by the Chief Justice) responsible for recommending Judges not found it necessary to fill the vacant positions …. . It beats my imagination that out of 8 Supreme Court Justices appointed under Justice Tanko Muhammad as Chairman of NJC in 2020, 3 were from the North West, 2 from the South South and 1 from South West and none from the South East or North Central …. . Why are Ibos considered persona non grata and treated as not having a stake in this country …. . When will the discrimination and marginalisation end as we approach the end of this maladministration.”

It was indeed atrocious under Buhari and has blossomed under Tinubu. Additionally, this was amplified in my RANDOM THOUGHTS on ‘Perennial Marginalisation of Ndigbo and Other Matters’ published by Champion Newspapers on 24th Sept, 2023. Therefore, Ohaneze Ndigbo and our Leaders of Thought should be up in arms and shout from rooftops on sundry marginalisation, discrimination and persecution and not be cowed because Ibos constitute a sizable percentage and remain part and parcel of this ramshackled and bastardised country.

In conclusion, Ohaneze Ndigbo and our Leaders of Thought should rise and demand our share of the national cake and should no longer wait for crumbs from favoured zones and also ensure condemnation of the unending marginalisation.

Austen Chilokwu.

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