The Nigerian organisation for the ongoing Olympics was laughable. The football team was stranded in Atlanta. The Sports Minister declared Naija “The United States of Nigeria” because he is an everlasting bastard. Our beloved team appeared in track suits during the opening ceremony because their traditional attire did not arrive on time. It was beyond woeful.
But amidst all of that heartbreak, there was cheering news today!! The kind of news that made you wanna whoop for joy and punch the air in triumph! For the first time in ever (forever ever? Forever ever!), a Nigerian is participating in the Women’s single sculling event and she is in the quarter-finals. The name of this amazing person is Chierike “Coco” Ukogu.
This is an amazing step forward as we Nigerians tend not to give much regard to any other sport without the words “foot” and “ball” in it. So for a Nigerian to be in this event is utterly stellar, but do you know what makes this feat even more amazing? It is that she achieved this without any support WHATSOEVER from the Nigerian Government.
In other countries, sports is big business and big PR. As long as you show a modicum of talent, you are usually met with a ton of support from the powers bearing “G”. Their government help you on your way to sports glory.
Not so in my nation.
Unfortunately any sport that isn’t football lacks the needful support from the government and corporate bodies and this results in a lot of Nigerian athletes taking off to represent other countries who are more than happy to accommodate them (please note, I don’t blame them one bit). Then we have Chierika. This 23 year old American born Stanford graduate put medical school on hold and self funded her Olympic dream through a job, sponsorship and a go fund me page and after all the sacrifice, now she dons the national colours and has made history.
This was awesome news and it made me think real deep
What would happen if we as human beings stopped looking to the government and powers that be and started looking to ourselves? As a Nigerian, I have come to a personal (and sad) realisation that I am my OWN government. If I am to have the quality of life that I want with all the basic amenities, then it is up to me to provide them for myself.
As a Nigerian, I am accustomed to the Nigerian version of hope. We look up for things to get better while we sit on our hands and pray and wait.
But in my opinion, Chierika has shown the way and sent a message in neon lights to every Nigerian ie.
STOP BLOODY WAITING!
Stop waiting for the government to get things right. Stop waiting for the powers that be to get their heads out of their asses and provide conducive environment for you. Stop waiting for the ideal situation. Stop waiting from a miracle from a deity.
Stop bloody waiting and start bloody doing. Begin today and start taking practical steps towards your dreams and towards providing for yourself what the government has failed to provide. Start taking steps to live the life you want for yourself.
Stop waiting and start being the Nigeria you want to be. It will be tough. It will feel frustrating and it will likely be slow progress but your dreams are worth it. A good quality of life for you and your loved ones is worth it.
Chierika did not wait and here she is making strides today. Whether she qualifies or not for the semi finals or goes all the way, she has done herself and by extension us proud. So what will you do?
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