Posted by Olusegun Adeniyi | 11 July 2013 | 5,569 times

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On the last day of the 2005/2006 football season, there was a crucial match in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, between promotion-seeking Akwa United, a professional Division One team, and Calabar Rovers. For Akwa United to gain promotion into the Premiership, winning their match would not just do; their competitor, Bussdor United of Port Harcourt, also had to lose or at least play a draw. Because of the wide goal difference, any other result would consign Akwa United to Division One for another season. Except of course they could score 13 goals within 90 minutes!

Expecting a team that had not scored 12 goals all season to then bang in 13 goals in one match would be expecting a miracle which rarely happens in modern competitive football games. But that was exactly what happened. Within a few minutes of a most scandalous match where the referee and the 22 players on the field were acting out a macabre drama, Akwa United actually won by 13 goals to zero! That record in infamy was bettered last week in this year’s edition of promotion play-off matches when Plateau United Feeders somehow conjured the 79 goals they needed to defeat Akurba FC while Police Machine FC also demolished Babayaro FC 67-0 to qualify for the Nigeria Nationwide League Division 3.

I know many people will laugh and say it is only football. But it should worry all of us that this kind of dishonesty has permeated all strata of our society, such that there seems to be no sacred values to hold dear again. As Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, pointed out during the week, it is no surprise that we would have such a scandal considering the level of impunity in the land. He said: “Our universities merely suspend students who commit rape or cheat in examinations without prosecuting them. In the public service, no one has been jailed for the hundreds of billions of Naira paid to ghost workers. Since 1999, no thug or election rigger has been jailed, etc. It is then no surprise that only 12,000 convicts can be found in our prisons!”

Such is the level of chicanery in our system today that 16 is officially recognised as a bigger number than 19 while a “majority” of five is now enough to impeach a speaker in a House of Assembly where there are 32 members; and as a commentator pointed out during the week, since the Bible says “one shall chase a thousand”, those five lawmakers are more than enough to also impeach the sitting governor! The problem, however, is that a system that encourages these kinds of perfidy is clearly endangered.

This piece by Adeniyi (shown in photo) originally appeared in his column “The Verdict” in today’s edition of ThisDay. He can be reached via olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

Source: News Express

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