The world is actually a good place, but when just one chooses to support a negative act, it becomes a bad place. Unlike good, evil can never act alone. Without support, evil dies. If no one accepts payment, pretends not to see a thing, hides the murder weapon or stolen property, or bears false witness that the guilty was innocently elsewhere, evil will only be a thought in the mind. Just like every wishful thinking that does not materialize because of the inability to carry it out; it dies.
I am writing this article because I am sick and tired of seeing Coach Festus Onigbinde in the news. It seems that Nigerian sports writers like to interview him about what is best for Nigerian coaches and Nigerian football, just because he took Nigeria to the African Cup of Nations finals in 1984, took IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan to the African Club Champions Cup in 1984, and he is also a CAF and FIFA technical instructor. What nonsense!!! What has be done from 1985 to date? Nigerian sports writers fail to tell our children the truth about how Onigbinde single-handedly has helped to destroyed Nigerian football for almost a decade.
For about 20 years, Nigeria could never qualify for the FIFA World Cup. God changed that and we went in 1994 and 1998 to be the best in our group and even made it to the second round of the World Cup in our first two outings. How many nations can boast of such an achievement? Soon, Nigerians began to believe that only White coaches were good enough to make Nigeria proud, but God disagreed. In 2001, God made a good White coach fail in qualifying Nigeria to the 2002 FIFA World Cup despite the great players at his disposal. Nigerians lost hope and hired local coaches to hold on until we could get another magical White coach to get us ready for World Cup 2006 as usual. It was then that God gave Nigeria a miracle that was supposed to change our perception of Nigeria and ourselves forever as an equal and productive force on the global stage.
The miracle was that Coaches Shaibu Amodu and Stephen Keshi, local coaches that have never coached outside Africa, actually qualified Nigeria for the same 2002 World Cup after all hopes were gone. This is something African children must never see and know about because when Africans become self-reliant and self-sufficient, that is trouble for Europe and Arabia. Their worth is based on Africa depending on them. Amodu and Keshi had to be stopped for a White coach or a mediocre Black coach. Can you imagine the inspiration African and Black children around the world will have to see African coaches actually winning at the world’s biggest and most televised event with Sunday Oliseh as captain?
Miraculously against God’s will for Nigeria, the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) started giving Amodu bad press, stopped paying the players their salaries during the 2002 African Cup of Nations, and caused in-fighting between the players. Soon they lost to Senegal in the semi-finals because of the NFA and the Devil took charge of the country after that. This became the justification to get a mediocre African coach because they could no longer give it to White men (local coaches were now in vogue). NFA could find no other coach in the world but Festus Onigbinde, who was just a mere technical advisor to the Under 23 team in the Caribbean, to take Nigeria to the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
As soon as Onigbinde took that job, all the positive report on Nigeria as a team to watch turned sour. NFA and Onigbinde began to work religiously with determination for the Devil on behalf of Nigeria and disbanded the team that qualified Nigeria to the World Cup against all odds. I am sure that God really loves ingratitude!!! You fired players that were the very reason why you were hired to take them to the World Cup!!! Before Onigbinde, Nigeria was ranked 5th in the world by FIFA around 1994, our players were the pride of the Black countries, our players were in top clubs all over Europe, all sports media were on Nigerian players on an hourly basis, in fact Nigeria had four African player of the year awards within 1994-2002, qualified for all 3 World Cups that period, and made it to the second round in 1994 and 1998.
Ever since Onigbinde took that job in 2002, Nigeria has never won a World Cup game since, gone to the second around of the World Cup, won African Player of the year, has our players being so devalued and irrelevant in Europe, and even missed the 2006 World Cup for little Angola. If the NFA could not find Onigbinde or any Nigerian to take that job, they would have had no choice but to let God lead us the way the qualifying team was. In the same view, if Babangida did not find Ernest Shonekan or any Yoruba to give Abiola’s Presidency to, Abiola would still be alive today as a former President of a Nigeria that now has credible elections as well as a stable and prosperous democracy. I would have dared Babangida to have given Abiola’s Presidency to an Igbo or a Northerner at that time of God’s divine interference.
It was the partnership of Onigbinde and the NFA that has derailed, deviated, and relegated Nigerian football to what it is to this day, just as it is the partnership of Babangida and Shonekan that has derailed Nigerian democracy to date. Onigbinde started the culture of bad, mediocre, and incompetent coaches trying to lead us to the World Cup. If Onigbinde had stood up in disagreement like a man and an elder, rather than a beggar prepared to sell his country for a bowl of soup, even the most racist football fan would be supporting our country and economy to this day through purchases of football gears. Onigbinde, as well as Shonekan, must be asked to be quiet at all times and be used as a tool to teach our children the importance of not taking what belongs to another. Honesty is not only the best policy, but also, it is better not to have than to take what will derail an entire nation for a decade.