Twenty years ago today, Nigeria conquered the world in Atlanta.
Right now, as I’m thrust in nostalgia of that dawn, I am not really elated.
Why? I go clear you, nor worry.
Apart from the memory of the scenes of seismic jubilation that rocked every nook and streets in Nigeria through that midnight till the morning, remembering that night now is bringing other elements that defined it.
Now, I also remember that we all saw that match with no noise from generators, in Abeokuta that time, there was electricity, almost always. There were times we did shout “Up Nepa”, but, largely, light dey dey. So no, I am not elated.
Now, apart from Kanu’s “Korede Bello-esque” goal celebration, I also remember that at that time, we had taps running with clean water from the government’s Water Corporation in our home. Not always, but e dey dey. There was really nothing like Domestic Borehole or Pumping Machine. So no, I am not elated.
Now, apart from Bebeto’s tears, I also remember that at that time, all of us serekodes and ojewewes (teens) proudly attended public secondary schools that held their own in tenable standards. African Church Grammar School of life! BBHS and Abeokuta Grammar school, we attended with success in mind. Now, 20 years later, try it, you wee see. So no, I am not elated.
Now, apart from Babayaro’s epileptic dance goal celebration, I also remember that at that time, feck it, food was cheap as money still had some value. With little, you could get your relative definition of much in Kuto market. But, now, your relative much might not get a little. So no, I am not elated.
Nigeria is a beloved country, trust me; but, now, we are in dire straits, and we need beyond hero worship, sycophantic patriotism and living in denial, in order to become even better than our situation in 1996.
In all, that event, that night, was a great day…Nigerians together feasted on the idea of unity…and it was awesome…just awesome.
Where were YOU when Nigeria won Olympic gold at Atlanta ’96? Do you remember? What were you doing? How did you feel? Tell us! Let us know what you were up to on that historic moment.
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